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Developing integrated programmes

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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Why are integrated programmes a promising strategy to address violence against women with men and boys?

Programmes are most effective when they address multiple factors for violence through integrated strategies.

The most widely used model for understanding violence is the ecological model, which proposes that violence is a result of risk and protective factors operating at four levels: individual, relationship, community and societal (Heise et al., 1999). The ecological framework suggests individuals are embedded in relationships with their family members and peers, which are embedded in formal and informal structures in their community, which are embedded in the broader society (Valle et al., 2007). Risk factors are associated with increased likelihood of violence while protective factors are associated with a decreased likelihood of violence.

Studies show that individual factors, such as experiencing or witnessing violence as a child (Black et al., 1999) or alcohol use (Parry et al., 1996; Kyriacou et al., 1998), are associated with intimate partner violence. At the community level, evidence suggests that rates of violence against women are highest in settings where social norms support gender inequality, where communities fail to punish men who use physical or sexual violence against women, and where violence against women is considered normal or justified (Counts et al., 1999). Often, social norms encourage the idea that family violence is a private matter in which outsiders should not intervene and that sexual violence is shameful for the victim, a man’s right or that the woman is to blame.

Consequently, programmes that address factors at multiple levels of the ecological model seem more promising to address violence. Although it may not be feasible for a single programme to address all factors that contribute to or protect against violence, a programme may focus on reducing one or more risk factors or promoting one or more protective factors (Valle et al., 2007). Ultimately, the design of the programme will be based on the programme theory about what causes violence in a specific context and how violent behaviour can ultimately be prevented.

Mass media campaigns, for instance, can encourage individuals to talk about specific issues, including violence against women, but other complementary related interventions – community-based campaigns, group education, counselling, one-on-one discussions and standard-setting and training for key service providers in different sectors – are often necessary to achieve measurable and sustained behaviour change. It is important to use a variety of media and communication tools in conjunction with interpersonal communication efforts, such as group education or individual counselling, when working with boys and men to change gender norms (WHO 2007).

Examples of initiatives that have employed an integrated approach to engaging men and boys to address violence against women

Somos Diferentes, Somos Iguales/We're Different, We're Equal (Puntos de Encuentro, Nicaragua)

This initiative combines a number of approaches targeting adolescent boys and young men on healthy relationships, HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence. Components of their multi-media strategy include:

1) Sexto Sentido, a ‘social soap’ which is broadcast weekly on national commercial television, as well as cable stations;

2) Sexto Sentido Radio, a nightly youth call-in talk radio broadcast live and simultaneously on six commercial radio stations;

3) Community-based activities, including: cast visits to schools, youth leadership training camps, and information, education and communication materials;

4) Coordination with journalists and media outlets;

5) Coordination with a variety of organized youth and women’s groups, including youth leaders in other Central American countries; and

6) Ongoing monitoring and operations research.

This initiative is among the few focused on social change and prevention that has been rigorously evaluated. A longitudinal study with 13-24 year old adolescent boys and girls (at baseline) found that post-intervention, participants’ knowledge of where to find information and services on violence increased and that more were likely to say “that a man never has the right to hit his wife”.

See the Sexto Sentido Case Study and Evaluation (in Spanish).



Program H (Instituto Promundo, Brazil)

This initiative is composed of three integrated components, including:

1) Interactive Group Education - Program H developed a methodology to train professionals to work with young men with the goal of fostering discussion and challenging traditional gender roles as they relate to masculinities, health and gender relations, including violence.

2) Community-wide social marketing campaign for condom use – By identifying barriers to condom use, this initiative aimed at promoting appropriate strategies that will encourage safe relationships.

3)Promoting ‘male-friendly’ health services – This component of the initiative aims to train health professionals to provide services for young men and adapt health service delivery programmes so that they are more appealing to this population.

In sites where young men were exposed to weekly educational workshops, and a social marketing campaign, they showed improved attitudes towards violence against women and other issues.

See the case study and evaluation.



Men As Partners ( Engenderhealth,South Africa and other countries)

This initiative was started in 1998 with the goal of addressing both gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS in South Africa. The initiative strives to create a society in which men and women can enjoy equitable, healthy, and happy relationships that contribute to the development of a just and democratic society. The MAP Network does this by encouraging men to:

>Reduce their own risk-taking behaviours

>Take a stand against domestic and sexual violence

>Become actively involved in reducing the transmission of HIV and the negative consequences of AIDS

To bring about change at all levels of society, the Men as Partners Network uses the following strategies:

1) Conducting street outreach

2) Holding workshops and engaging in community education

3) Undertaking community mobilization activities

4) Improving the quality and availability of HIV services for men

5) Strengthening the organizational capacity of network members

6) Promoting collaboration

7) Working with national, provincial, and local government

8) Conducting ongoing research, monitoring, and evaluation

A quantitative evaluation with 18 to 74 year olds revealed that there were attitudinal shifts on sexual violence among the participants post-intervention.

There was an increase in the number of men who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: “sometimes when a woman says ‘no’ to sex she doesn’t really mean it” and in those who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement:“women who dress sexy want to be raped”.

See the case study and assessment



Sonke Gender Justice (South Africa )

Sonke recognises that changing deeply held beliefs about gender roles and relations requires comprehensive, multifaceted strategies and the involvement of activists and professionals from many different sectors; and that bringing about sustained change requires addressing the many forces that shape individual attitudes, community norms and practices, including traditions and cultures, government policies, laws and institutions, civil society organisations, the media and the family, as well as the economic, political and social pressures that shape and reinforce those attitudes, norms and practices. Sonke understands that effective responses to gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS require organisations to build relationships with non-traditional partners. Sonke works closely with a range of organisations and individuals – women’s rights organisations, social movements, trade unions, government departments, sports associations, faith-based organisations, media organisations, university research units and human rights advocates. Sonke uses a broad range of social change strategies to promote gender equality and to foster healthy relationships and societies. These include:

  • Working with the government to promote the development of new policies and the implementation of existing ones.
  • Advocacy, activism and community mobilisation to ensure the government and civil society deliver on their commitments and obligations.
  • Building effective networks and coalitions, both nationally and internationally.
  • Strengthening organizational capacity among partner organizations to implement and sustain work with men and boys for gender transformation.
  • Communications for social change strategies, including digital stories, and the use of radio, television and print media.
  • Community education including One Man Can workshops and community events, murals, door-to-door campaigns, and street soccer festivals.
  • Individual skills building to encourage men and boys to take a stand to end violence, reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS and promote equality.
  • Research to inform Sonke strategies and monitoring and evaluation to ensure impact.


For more information on Sonke Gender Justice, see website.


Tools for Integrated Initiatives:

Mobilising Communities to Prevent Domestic Violence (by Raising Voices,Uganda ), chapters 4 and 5 provides guidance on how to integrate actions and bring together various stakeholders that are conducting activities independently. The manual is available in English.