Journal Article

Evaluating men's involvement as a strategy in sexual and reproductive health promotion

Peter Sternberg and John Hubley

in Health Promotion International

Volume 19, issue 3, pages 389-396
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Evaluating men's involvement as a strategy in sexual and reproductive health promotion

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Nearly 10 years has passed since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development recognized men as legitimate targets for sexual and reproductive health promotion. This recognition was born of the experience of many health promoting agencies in the 1980s and 1990s who realized that without working with men, change would be very difficult or impossible. It was proposed that men should be involved because their active participation was crucial to the success of programs and to the empowerment of women. However, the idea that men should play an active role in health promotion has not been without its critics, who have posed serious questions about the efficacy of involving men and the effects their involvement would have on women and children. In an effort to examine the lessons learned from men's involvement, this paper reviews published evaluations of interventions that have targeted heterosexual men. Twenty-four studies that met the criteria for inclusion (reported on interventions in areas of sexual and reproductive health that targeted heterosexual men and contained evaluation data) were found. From their review of these studies, the authors suggest that there is some evidence that the use of media approaches may be a successful strategy and that there may be some problems with the application of some cognitive behavior change approaches. However, the fact that few interventions have targeted heterosexual men and have been the subject for detailed evaluation suggests that there is a need for more interventions and better evaluations, which would examine not only the process of men's involvement, but also their impact on the lives of both the men themselves and their families. The reality is that although perhaps no longer regarded as part of the problem, men have yet to be seen as part of the solution.

Keywords: evaluation; men; participation; reproductive health; sexual health

Journal Article.  5293 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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