New Zealand Parliamentarian’s Group: Roundtable consultation on engaging boys and men in sexual and reproductive health and rights in the Pacific.

This report of roundtable findingsis relevant for countries interested in taking action to improve sexual and reproductive health using a gender and equity approach.


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This is a report on the findings of a roundtable of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population Development (NZPPD) in 2015 about Engaging Boys and Men in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Pacific Island countries and territories. It was an open hearing with both oral and written submissions received from NGOs as well as related academic organizations. The report is based principally on both the written and oral submissions and on subsequent parliamentarian roundtable discussion.The consultation built on the increasing recognition given to engaging boys and men in SRH and central to improving the health and rights of all people and building more equitable societies. It also tries to shift the view that SRHR are the domain and responsibility of women. Working towards gender equality by empowering women and engaging men is seen as fundamental. Three themes emerged during the roundtable:

  1. the importance of engaging men and young men in SRHR and the positive impact.
  2. barriers to engagement of men and boys and
  3. successful approaches to strengthen engagement with boys and men including – creating accessible health services, reviewing government policies, enabling supportive environments, strengthening community action and implementing comprehensive sexuality education.

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

Gender-specific with potential for gender-transformative. Recognises the need to address gender norms, roles and relations by engaging men while empowering women. Recommended activities include challenging norms, roles and relations that are harmful to men and women’s health. The argument is made that reproductive health initiatives that engage boys and men as agents of positive change can help to challenge dominant gender norms and contribute to improving GE and the SRHR context for all. The roundtable discussion highlighted the importance of engaging men and boys as clients, partners and as key agents of change. This includes the promotion of gender equitable fatherhood, advocacy against discriminatory laws and policies, changing attitudes and behaviours that are a cause and consequence of sexual and gender-based violence and women’s inequality. The report itself provides a succinct analysis of the barriers (gender, high level, service and interpersonal) for men and boys in taking action to improve their SRH and that of their families and communities.A wide range of stakeholders were involved inidentifying the issues around engagement. The report includes 14 recommendations and examples of specific interventions or initiatives around greater engagement of men and boys in SRHR from the Region. For example, community-based SRHR education programmes delivered by trained facilitators such as male-to-male peers, using ‘edutainment’ (Vanuatu), sports and religious groups, and engage and train male SRHR ‘champions’ to assist in demystifying myths associated with male-specific reproductive services and encourage other men to take responsibility for the development of healthy families. One of the findings was that in PNG, young men reported that sexeducation programmes are too disease-focused and didactic. In addition, there is little information available about other methods of contraception beyond condoms.



Translation from knowledge and good intentions to policy action and implementation.

Relevant to countries who are interested in

Taking action to improve boys and girls, men and women’s sexual and reproductive health using a gender and equity approach more widely, including countries who have committed to the WPR thematic priority area of reaching the unreached in sexual and reproductive health.The examples of specific interventions or initiatives from the Region can be used by the health sector to inform gender mainstreaming action to foster progressive changes in power relationships between women and men inthe area of SRHR and begin addressing some of the causes of gender-based health inequities including differences among men and consideration of issues for MSM, homosexual men, male sex workers and prisoners.

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