Aimed at young men, Program H encourages reflection on strict norms associated with masculinity and promotes the transformation of gender-related attitudes that produce inequalities
Program H (H for homem in Portuguese and hombre in Spanish) was launched in 2002 by Promundo and partner organizations (Instituto Papai, ECOS, Salud y Género) and has already been adapted in more than 20 countries. Aimed at men of all ages, it aims to promote reflection on rigid norms associated with masculinity. It is based on several surveys conducted with young men in Brazil with equitable gender attitudes, which revealed that the adoption of these attitudes had been influenced by the presence of peers who supported gender equality, successful personal experiences associated with gender equality and the existence of positive male role models.
Program H’s methodology combines educational workshops with awareness campaigns developed by young people that aim to transform gender norms, such as the use of contraceptives or the division of domestic tasks. To complement these activities, Promundo offers the cartoon without speaking Minha Vida de João. The Program H manual has about 70 activities that can be used according to the needs of the communities. In 2014, the HMD Program manual was also launched, which is a compilation of the main activities of Programs H and M, including actions to promote sexual diversity (represented by the initial D). Generally, partners implement between 10 and 16 activities, once a week, for several months, together with community awareness campaigns, designed and implemented by the young people themselves.
As organizations use Program H in their communities, they can use the Gender-Equitable Men (GEM) scale to analyze changes before and after interventions and campaigns and thus assess their effectiveness. The GEM scale is a validated attitude scale, which has been adapted and applied in more than 20 contexts, recognized as an effective tool for assessing attitudes about gender.
The men who participated in Program H activities reported several positive changes, including increased use of contraceptives, improved relationships, greater availability to perform household and care-related tasks and a lower incidence of sexual harassment and violence against women.
Program H was considered good practice in promoting gender equality and preventing gender-based violence by the World Bank, the World Health Organization and cited by UNICEF and the United Nations for its effectiveness. It was also recognized by the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Population Fund. It was officially adopted by the Ministries of Health in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Croatia, among others.
Recognizing the need to work with the empowerment of young women in parallel with men, and based on the contributions made by partners of participants in Program H, Program M (M for women and women, in Portuguese and Spanish) was launched in 2006. Program M seeks to encourage reflection on strict gender norms and empowerment among young women. Promundo and partners recommend the adoption of both approaches and the inclusion of debates on sexual diversity and homophobia during the workshops.
Schools have played a central role in the implementation of Programs H and M, providing receptive environments through which these approaches can be elevated on an institutional scale. In Brazil, Promundo launched the Gender Equality in Schools Portal with the aim of training teachers on the methodology of Programs H and M through a virtual environment, and in India, Program H approaches were incorporated at the government level, reaching 25 thousand schools.