Calls for greater male participation are now a commonplace in work on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The need to engage men in efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and promote sexual health and gender equality is well accepted. But we know less about the optimal forms of such engagement, particularly when it comes to moving beyond a focus on changing individual men’s attitudes and behaviours. Such a focus is critical of course, but gender inequalities, and the violence that maintains them, are not simply a matter of individuals and their behaviours; they are maintained by the social, economic and political institutions that structure all of our lives. What can men do to work with women in challenging the institutionalised nature of sexual and gender-based violence?

The Mobilising Men programme is developing and documenting answers to this question. Through exploring ways of engaging men as gender activists within the institutions to which they belong, Mobilising Men is working to better understand what it takes to confront sexual and gender- based violence in institutional settings. Since early 2010, the Institute of Development Studies, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has partnered with civil society organisations in India, Kenya and Uganda to develop the programme. These partners at country level have identified, recruited, trained and supported teams of male activists to work with women in developing campaigns to challenge and change the policies and cultures of specific institutional settings that enable and enact violence against women.

Mobilising Men in Practice brings together stories and lessons from this work, as well as some of the tools used by the Mobilising Men partners in India, Kenya and Uganda. It is intended to inspire and guide others who are committed to engaging more men in efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence within the institutions in which we live our lives.

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