With limited access to health services and education, patriarchal norms, and mounting violence, Nigerian women struggle to gain economic opportunities and equality. Common discriminatory practices, amplified by extremist groups, subject women and girls to dangers, including forced early marriage and the possibility they will face violence for going to school.
Women for Women International (WfWI) has developed a Men’s Engagement Program (MEP), which includes three levels of training for men on issues such as the value of girls and women, female participation in decisionmaking, violence against women, and personal and family health.
The training starts with 50 male community leaders who participate in a Level 1 (L1) training. The goal of the L1 training is to enable these 50 men to lead efforts to empower women in their respective communities. These 50 male leaders then train 500 Level 2 (L2) participants on the same topics. The second training allows the program to have a broader reach and influence, because the participants can disseminate ideas to the communities. In the third component of the program, Level 3 (L3), community meetings bring together approximately 1,000 male community leaders, community members, and husbands and male family members of WfWI-Nigeria participants on women’s rights to discuss ways to actualize and disseminate ideas from the training throughout the community.
AIR is conducting a mixed-methods, longitudinal, non-experimental study conducted over two years that includes a process evaluation. We will collect predominantly qualitative information (with supplemental quantitative survey data) from both men and women to explore how the program affects men’s knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward women. The small sample size for some of the treatment groups (for example only 50 L1 recipients) means that it is likely that the program is statistically underpowered for a rigorous quantitative study. In addition, WfWI is interested in learning about the implementation of the program and its effects on outputs and outcomes (as opposed to impacts) at this stage of development so that they can learn how to improve the program, making this study a process evaluation and a study of outcomes. Finally, some of the topics in the study such as behavior toward women are assessed better through interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) than through a survey, enabling nuances and rich explanation of the dynamics between men and women to be revealed.
During the first data collection, we administered a baseline survey on knowledge and attitudes toward women and women’s rights to 50 male community leaders from Enugu-Ezike involved in L1 training. Before the L1 training of the 50 male community leaders, we conducted a separate baseline survey of a sample of 50 women from the same communities. The survey for women was on men’s behavior toward women and women’s rights, and the 50 women were a mix of those related to the L1 men, those participating in WfWI-N’s Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP), and women completely unrelated to WfWI-N’s programs. Before the L2 training of 500 community men in Enugu-Ezike (selected by the 50 community leaders who received L1 training), we administered a baseline survey to a random sample of 50 men to capture information about knowledge and attitudes toward women and women’s rights. The qualitative sampling was as follows: process focus group discussions (FGDs) included two groups of six to eight men (for both L1 and L2 trainings) purposively selected based on availability to participate; content in depth interviews (IDIs) for one woman who has participated in the women’s program and one who has not (for L2 and L3); content IDIs for two men who were to participate in the L2 training (for L2 and L3); FGDs with two groups of six to eight men who would participate in the L3 training in Enugu-Ezike; FGDs with two groups of six to eight women, one group that is involved in the program and another that is not in Enugu-Ezike; and finally the same composition of men and women from Mbu communities for the comparison group.
Baseline results indicated that community leaders in both the comparison and treatment groups seemed knowledgeable about individual items that measure what gender violence entails, the justice principles of Nigeria, human rights, the constitutional rights of women in Nigeria regarding acquiring property, what family planning entails, and about how AIDS is transmitted and what the symptoms are. Baseline data suggest that L1 training recipients varied in their opinions about whether males or females are capable of fulfilling roles that traditionally are associated with a specific sex, whether certain character traits are typically male or female, gender equality, and attitudes in the family. Finally, We found variation in responses for the behavioral items related to these topics, suggesting that there is room for the program to improve men’s behavior.