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Do no harm

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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All programmes working with men and boys, even those addressing other issues, such as HIV and AIDS, should consider whether their messages and imagery unintentionally reinforce unhelpful traditional stereotypes about men and women that contribute to violence against women and girls. Programmes that involve transformation in gender roles and social norms should also be conscientious about unintentionally generating other gender discriminatory attitudes (such as men feeling that they need to ‘protect’ women by limiting their mobility, freedom or privacy) or anti-equality perspectives (such as homophobia) that sometimes arise.

How to avoid doing harm and ensure local relevance:

Ensure that interventions centre on safeguarding the human rights of women and a gender equality approach, informed by women’s experiences in the community and experts in the field of violence against women.

Ensure the cultural appropriateness of the strategies by engaging local organizations and individuals – both men and women – who have knowledge of both the context and of the outcomes of past interventions.

Involve boys and men in developing programmes, campaign messages, communication materials, and other important products or interventions.

Field test all materials with the specific target audience (for example, by age sub-group, language group, ethnic group or other important group characteristic).

Continually monitor and evaluate interventions.

Include feedback from women in the evaluations (for instance, in corroborating men’s self-reported attitudinal or behavioural changes).