Men’s Perspective Project, Cambodia, Engaging men and boys in gender equity: Vignettes from Africa and Asia (2011)

This community engagement example is relevant for countries who are interested in gender mainstreaming efforts that look to transform harmful gender norms, roles and relations, particularly around gender-based violence.

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Working with men to implement the ‘Anti-Domestic Violence Law’ 22 in Cambodia, the Men’s Perspective Project (MPP) supports and collaborates with Women Empowerment through Legal Awareness (WELA), a women’s organization, in nine communes in three provinces in Cambodia-Kg. Chhnang, Prey Vengand Pursat. The project engages men, particularly those in key institutions (i.e., village chief, police), who are mandated to implement the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. The main strategy is the community-based men’s group (CMG), which works with other men to challenge violence against women and interrupt the cycle of violence. The objectives of MPP are to:

  1. Increase mutual recognition of and respect for the rights and contributions of men and women in the family, community and nation;
  2. Mobilize and support effective men’s networks at national and local levels to promote gender equity and a culture of nonviolence; and
  3. Ensure that men’s networks have access to tools, publications, knowledge and communication strategies to support their leadership roles in promoting gender equality and equity.

Gender Responsiveness Assessment Scale (GRAS) and the elements of good practice for gender mainstreaming (GM) used


Potentially transformative as there is a focus on masculinity and transforming stereotypes around masculinity and violence. The programme provides grassroots interventions to change men’s behaviour and attitudes. Most of the male-led institutions from which men are engaged (e.g. the police) still enforce existing power dynamics that perpetuate partner violence, requiring training in gender sensitivity, consciousness-raising on violence against women and appreciation of the law. Other good practice aspects include evaluation of the MPP both process and lessons learned. Initial results have shown an increased level of awareness about domestic violence among men, faster action indomestic violence cases by men in authority and male-led counselling of men caught in the cycle of domestic violence. For example, 76 perpetrators of violence (36 in old areas and 40 in new areas) were counselled; and monthly CMG reports indicated that success occurred in 65 per cent; and of the 50 cases,about half had stopped physically abusing their spouses. Moreover, in 2008, about 6,322 (3,524 from old communes and 2,798 in new programme areas) were reached through information campaigns, fliers or house-to-house visits.

Lessons learned include:

  • Gender-aware men in institutions mandated to protect and provide services to abused women will support women to claim their basic rights.
  • Peer-to-peer strategy works.
  • Vetting members of the community men’s group is crucial. The bar for CMG members’ conduct privately, publicly and especially around gender-based violence – is high because they play significant roles in prescribing behavioural changes for other men. Thus, strict criteria for CMG selection is imperative.


The MPP has some lessons learned that might beapplied by the health sector in terms of training and capacity building for more gender-aware health professionals. The health system in most countries is also still predominantly male led. Finally the example underlines the importance of multisectoral action as part of gender mainstreaming efforts. The MPP is not led by the health sector but there are co-benefits to health from working with other sectors in this way to tackle gender-based violence.


Ensuring appropriate participation e.g. the need to thoroughly check members of the men’s community group. Also scaling up the intervention from nine communes in three provinces to across Cambodia will potentially be a challenge. The authors note that the global financial downturn (2008) and competing global priorities mean the sustainability of the program is potentially a challenge. In addition MPP could be expanded beyond domestic violence to address wider gender-based violence issues. Analyzing the impact of masculinity in the context of sexual relations, STIs, reproduction, behaviours (i.e., drinking alcohol) and domestic violence can effectively connect cross-cutting issues that affect that entire community.

Relevant to countries who are interested in

Gender mainstreaming efforts that look to transform harmful gender norms, roles and relations, particularly around gender-based violence. While the focus is not on health per se, the health impacts of domestic and gender-based violence are relevant to the health sector/system interms of (a) health and health care services required and (b) the capacity of health professionals to respond in a gender-responsive way. The MPP is designed to support implementation of the law on domestic violence, however more gender-aware male health professionals can provide improved health services to abused women and victims of gender violence including support to claim their basic right.

See full report with Cambodia MPP (pp. 45-56 )and other examples at:

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