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Philosophy and principles

Make good nutrition everyone’s responsibility Encourage men to talk about healthy food choices with their wives and children. Work with men together with women to plan how the farm can produce healthy food for the family. Stimulate discussions on how to purchase good, healthy food with the proceeds from cash crops and off-farm work.

Be inclusive Encourage men to think about the benefits to the whole family of eating nutritious food together with women and children rather than separately. Discuss the special needs of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Emphasise the importance of good nutrition to children’s development. 

Build trust Engage with men and boys about nutrition, taking time to win their trust and develop their confidence. This is the basis for changing behaviour and men’s attitudes for the good of their families and communities. Be patient – change doesn’t happen overnight. Work towards slow but sure change. 

BOX 1: Men's perception of their roles

Bangladesh: "Men consider themselves responsible for food production and marketing. They believe good health and nutrition are essential to being strong and productive on the farm. They consider they play an important role in supporting their children’s education and development. However, men are rarely interested in food preparation or the intricacies of food distribution, and they view these activities as a woman’s domain. Yet decisions about spending on food fall predominantly to men, since they buy the food. Research shows men are interested in being able to make informed purchasing decisions." 

Zambia: "It is the man’s responsibility to have food in the home, but it is not a man’s role to distribute the food. In my community a man must ensure that there is enough food in the house at all costs because if there is not enough food for the family, a man is considered weak by his peers. He becomes a laughing stock."