Program M

Aimed at women, Program M focuses on equitable gender roles, empowerment in contexts of interpersonal relationships, sexual and reproductive health and rights

Program M (M for mulher in Portuguese and mujer in Spanish) was launched in 2006 as a complement to Program H (for homem and hombre), which seeks to encourage questioning about gender norms among women. Based on the experience of Program H, Program M was developed with the objective of working with women, aged between 14 and 24 years, in promoting health and empowerment through critical reflections on gender, rights and health. Tested in Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico and Nicaragua, it has since been adapted and implemented in several other countries, such as India, Tanzania, Peru and the Balkans.

The methodology of Program M combines educational workshops with awareness campaigns developed by young people who seek to promote equitable gender attitudes among young women and greater autonomy in interpersonal relationships. 33 activities are available that can be adapted according to the needs of the communities. These activities address various topics, such as gender, sexual health and reproductive health, female empowerment and motherhood and care. 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 reflection on sexual diversity (represented by the initial D). Among the available tools is the cartoon Once Upon a Time Another Maria, which tells the story of a girl who questions gender norms and the way in which they influence her way of thinking and acting.

Evaluations of Program M carried out in Brazil and India, using items from the GEM Scale (Gender-Equitable Men), a validated attitude scale, which was adapted and implemented in more than 20 contexts, revealed that the women who participated in the Program improved their communication with their partners on sexual health, increased autonomy in interpersonal relationships, reduced the use of drugs and increased the use of contraceptives.

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 education environment.

It is recommended to use Programs H and M together and to include specific discussions on sexual diversity and homophobia.