Men Engage: Niger

Men Engage: Niger

Publication info


Men Engage Initiative: CARE Niger (2011-2013)

The Men Engage Initiative in Niger is part of the women’s empowerment program that focuses on working with men as allies and people who benefit from women’s equality.  The program works to get men involved in more household work and many anti-poverty programs.  Some of its activities are:

Personal: Works with men and women to discuss how gendered attitudes, behaviors and actions affect rights of individuals, and development of communities. Reflect with men on internal power (masculinities), and the power of knowledge for economic/social power to contribute toward social justice and rights of women and men.

Household: Work with behavior change groups at individual and HH level;

Community level: Support change agents among opinion leaders, religious/traditional leaders, work with men’s platforms for equality of gender. Support gender equality platforms at community level.

Broader levels: Work with elected leaders and advocate through social network at national level.

A recent review of the program showed us the following changes in men’s attitudes and behaviors.

  • Men are more and more sensitive to the need to engage in dialogue with women on taboo topics such as reproductive health, decision-making, sharing land inheritance, actively supporting girls’ education, and ending early marriage.
  • Mass communication campaigns have resulted in a reduction of violence against women, and improvements in household dialogue. Men are active in the behavior change groups, the gender equity and equality platforms, and the communal councils. Other men in the community are motivated by the transformation of those men who are members of the various structures created by the program.
  • More and more men deliberately plan for transportation strategies, and/or resources to reduce risks related to pregnancy and childbirth. Some men have initiated risk-management actions such as: purchasing an ambulance for medical evacuations ; penalizing heads of household when their wives give birth at home ; building a physical structure to allow women to discretely receive medical consultations; and initiating dialogue between communities and health agents to improve the quality of services.
  • Men are contributing to reducing women’s domestic tasks either by contributing to household expenditures or by completing the tasks themselves: in one village, the men started collecting and transporting water, an activity traditionally reserved for women; in another village, the men now pound millet.
  • There is a greater social awareness of men’s responsibility in the health of families, girls’ education, and child nutrition. Some men have changed their perception of their role and the role of women, especially in terms of enabling girls’ school enrolment and their continued education, and accepting women’s equal right to inherit land.