Fit to national plans
Ensure the programme’s design and implementation strategy fits well within a country’s national development vision and has the potential to generate high levels of support in relevant ministries. Where possible, sit in interministerial and interagency working groups responsible for food and nutrition security.
In some communities it can be more effective to target men alone, as in the case of Zambia through the Men’s Campfire Conferences. In other cases joint activities and awareness-raising activities are appropriate, as in Kenya where MEGEN uses intergender and strategic dialogues to reach out to men and women. The most appropriate approach should be contextualised and should include participation and a thorough community assessment.
BOX 7: Considering the costs
USAID/Anacafé Rural Value Chains Project Guatemala: "We want to replicate this project in other communities but this will be expensive. We need partners. The total cost of the project was approximately US$5 million for five years."
NASFAM Malawi: "Costs are minimal because the structures exist already. NASFAM works through existing committee members who are all volunteers. Costs include committee members using a bicycle taxi to get from their homes to the training venue, and the costs of cooking oil and salt."
CARE Benin: "US$300,000 per year for a five-year complex programme to reach 70,000 men, women, and children by year four."
Go to where men are
Find men where they socialise rather than expect them to come to you. Enter and build positively upon male spaces while at the same time tapping into like-minded men who are already persuaded by your ideas. Encourage such men to become role models for others. Involving boys in peer-group learning is important and helps in cultivating positive attitudes that are carried on into adulthood.
Walk the talk
Work on nutrition is more effective when backed up with changes throughout partner institutions. This is not just about securing technical changes to health status but – critically – about demonstrating through everyday interactions that partners take gender equality seriously.
Evidence of impacts, sustainability, and scalability
If the project is to succeed, the benefits of change must be recognised immediately by men during implementation. Several projects have developed behavioural change indicators alongside more conventional indicators focusing on improvements in key aspects of nutrition. BRAC measures the support of fathers in early initiation of breast feeding, exclusive breast feeding, meal frequency of children, and childcare. Table 1 shows the changes demonstrated by the GIZ-led Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) project (3), which also produced gender-disaggregated data on dietary diversity, etc.
Advocacy is essential. Be innovative in spreading the message and get men and boys involved as role models and agents of change. Make smart use of social media, posters, music, and drama. Attract a wide public through digital stories and radio/TV interviews.