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Engage Men As Partners

Gender norms—societal expectations of how men and women will behave—strongly influence people’s access to reproductive health (RH) services and their health-seeking behaviors. Gender inequities also have an important impact on women’s RH, by limiting their ability to seek services, to make autonomous decisions about family planning (FP), and to negotiate safe sex. They affect women’s ability to access safe delivery and postabortion care services, and they are among the strongest factors fueling HIV transmission worldwide. Traditional male gender norms encourage men to equate a range of risky behaviors—using violence, pursuing multiple sexual partners, dominating women, refusing to use condoms, and abusing alcohol and drugs—with being manly.

The constructive engagement of men in RH was a core ACQUIRE Project strategy. ACQUIRE adapted strategies originally developed by EngenderHealth’s Men As PartnersÒ (MAP) program, which looks holistically at men’s engagement from the perspective of men as clients, as partners of clients, and/or as change agents. MAP was integrated into ACQUIRE’s efforts to improve the acceptability, awareness, and use of vasectomy services (Bangladesh and Ghana) and was an important element of community interventions designed to improve access to postabortion care (Kenya), the IUD (Guinea and Kenya), and RH services for married youth (Bangladesh and Nepal). The MAP approach was also the strategic underpinning of a range of activities designed to address male gender norms in HIV prevention, care, and support activities.

This section of the archive includes the technical manuals and materials that supported the integration of male engagement into RH services, including HIV and AIDS care. ACQUIRE updated the Introduction to Men's Reproductive Health Services, Revised Edition, the first section of EngenderHealth’s three-part training curriculum intended to provide a broad range of health care workers with the skills and sensitivity needed to work with male clients and provide men’s RH services. Here you will find a variety of technical materials for engaging men in HIV and AIDS programs, including a needs assessment guide and facilitation guides for engaging men at the individual, community, and service delivery levels.