The Trouble with Young Men: An Action Group to Influence Local Policy in Rio de Janeiro

The Trouble with Young Men: An Action Group to Influence Local Policy in Rio de Janeiro

Project Summary
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Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mobilize networks of local NGOs and government to advocate for policies to reduce the vulnerability of low income, young men of African-descent in Rio de Janeiro.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Young men’s missing voices and input leads to disconnection and failed policies

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Change surrounding cultures to create a society that values and enriches young people’s transition to adulthood

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

• Lack of awareness about how gender and masculinities interacts with poverty to create specific vulnerabilities for low income young men
• Lack of collaboration among existing NGOs working in the area
• Lack of focus by municipal policymakers on the specific vulnerabilities of young men

• Forging common action: by working as a network of NGOs, we can have greater impact on municipal policy
• Participation: By engaging young men and community leaders, the issue will have more salience and be led by young men themselves
• Social justice and human rights: All interventions must be framed within a construct of social justice and human rights

Describe your program or new idea in one sentence.

Mobilize networks of local NGOs and government to advocate for policies to reduce the vulnerability of low income, young men of African-descent in Rio de Janeiro.

What makes your initiative uniquely positioned to create change in your community?

Promundo has worked with young men at the community level for nearly 10 years, developing and evaluating approaches to change community norms about manhood. Young men from favelas have been key participants and leaders of this process. We now seek to build upon these experiences to impact social, education, health and juvenile justice policy at the local level. Promundo’s experience and visibility, and recognized national and global experience with men and masculinities, and our contacts with existing municipal officials and key NGOs working in violence prevention and social justice in Rio de Janeiro leaves us in a unique position to lead a debate around the issue . The biggest challenges at present are to develop a common understanding of how rigid forms of masculinities influence the vulnerability of young men and to advocate for a common agenda that can be advanced by diverse partners at the policy-making level.

Describe how you organize and carry out your work?

Promundo will build on its current local networks, and current work in masculinities and youth violence prevention to discuss a common agenda around the needs of young men in low-income settings in Rio de Janeiro, including building awareness on how gender and masculinities interacts with poverty to create specific vulnerabilities for low income young men. This process will include an initial, kick-off seminar, a briefing pack, and testimonials by young men who have participated in our activities. Young men from favelas, some of whom have worked with us for nearly 10 years, will be leaders throughout the process. We will also connect the efforts of the action network to a media campaign, currently in development, which will seek to sensitize middle class youth about social injustices and discrimination against low-income youth.

What is your plan to scale and expand your innovation into your community and beyond?

Promundo currently advises the Ministry of the Health, the Ministry of Human Rights and the Special Secretariat for Women’s Policy at the national level, and works closely with UNFPA on issues related to gender equality and engaging men in gender equality. Promundo is also co-founder of a national network of NGOs called Men for Gender Equality that seeks to engage men and boys in ending violence against women. Through these contacts and networks, Promundo will continue to advocate at the national level for adequate policies to engage young men in gender equality as well as to focus on the specific gender-related vulnerabilities of young men.

What other resources, institutional, or policy needs would be necessary to help sustain and scale up your idea?

The key need would be participation by the relevant actors, particularly those in city government.

Describe your impact in one sentence, commenting on both the individual and community levels.

Promundo has impacted global practice on engaging young men through the development of Program H, a set of training and intervention methodologies used in more than 25 countries and endorsed by UNFPA, the World Bank, UNICEF and UNDP.

What impact has your work achieved to date?

This field has not been completed

Number of individuals served

Since 1999, Promundo has directly reached more than 45,000 individuals at the community level, and a larger number indirectly through advocacy, policy impact and dissemination of training materials.
2b) community impact – Promundo has worked with five specific favelas in Rio de Janeiro, training youth leaders and has influenced “practice” in these communities, first by focusing on gender as a key element in social justice, and second, by promoting collaboration and joint action to address community needs.
2c) society at large – Promundo has emerged as a global leader in promoting a focus on men and masculinities as key issues in HIV/AIDS prevention, reducing violence against women, reducing violence against children, and focusing on the vulnerabilities of low income men themselves. Promundo’s work has been recognized and endorsed by UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, UNDP, the Brazilian government, and our materials and reports have been published and widely accessed in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Vietnamese, Kiswahili and Serbo-Croatian.

Community impact

This field has not been completed

Society at large

This field has not been completed

What measure do you use to gauge your impact and why?

Promundo carries out impact evaluation of its work, using both qualitative and quantitative measures. Specifically, we have worked with Population Council and the International Center for Research on Women to evaluate our work and have confirmed changes in community attitudes toward masculinities as a result of our work, as well as health-related behaviors among individual young men. Our methodologies – including the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) Scale – have now been used beyond Brazil.

How is your initiative currently being financed and how would you finance further expansion and/or replication?

Promundo has support from the Ford Foundation, DFID-Childhope, the Oak Foundation, the Nike Foundation, Save the Children-Sweden, Ashoka and UNFPA, among others, for its work with young men. This project will complement these ongoing efforts.

Provide information on your current finances and organization:

BUDGET 2008 – Summary USD
TOTAL BUDGET: 2.473.054,41
Project Activities Costs: 1.559.101,44
Human Resources: 730.228,96
Custos Administrativos: 180.790,52
Superavit: 2.933,50

Annual revenue (US$): 2,473,054.41

Number of staff: 22 full-time, 2 volunteers

Who are your potential partners and allies?

The city government, NGOs working in the area of racial equality, NGOs working in community development in Rio de Janeiro, NGOs working in youth rights.

Who are your potential investors?

Major donors for 2008 include: Ford Foundation, DFID, SIDA, Nike Foundation, UNFPA, Save the Children-Sweden.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

This project is grounded in research carried out by Gary Barker, Promundo’s executive director, on young men in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and presented in his book– called “Dying to be Men.” The research examined the phenomenon of young men “dying” - figuratively or actually - to live up to certain idealized versions of manhood and provided the conceptual framework for Program H (mentioned above) and other efforts to encourage young men to reflect critically on their lives and communities and the factors that influence the vulnerabilities and violence they suffer as well as the violence they practice against others.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

Gary Barker is Executive Director of Promundo, a Brazilian NGO, based in Rio de Janeiro, that works locally, nationally and internationally to promote gender equity and to reduce violence against children, women and youth. He has carried out research on young men, violence and conflict in Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and co-authored numerous publications, including the Program H series for working with young men. He holds a PhD in child development and is an Ashoka Fellow.