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Theories & Approaches

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A Male Involvement Values Clarification Activity for Staff

An important first step in initiating a male involvement program is to assess the values and attitudes of staff members around young men's involvement in family planning and reproductive health. Program planners can go through great efforts to set up their facilities and programs to work with men, but the program can quickly fail if staff members are uncomfortable or ambivalent about working with young men. In order to assess an organization's readiness and comfort toward initiating a male involvement program, staff members need a forum to ask questions and address fears and concerns about the program. Conducting a values clarification activity can provide insight into the current state of mind of staff members while allowing programmers to allay fears before program implementation.

Advanced Preparation

  1. Prepare signs that read "AGREE," "DISAGREE," and "UNSURE"

  2. Place "AGREE," "DISAGREE," "UNSURE" signs along a wall in a continuum as shown below :

    AGREE UNSURE DISAGREE

  3. Move tables and/or chairs so that participants can walk from one side of the continuum to the other.

Procedure

  1. Explain to participants that "the purpose of this exercise is to help you explore your own values and attitudes towards male involvement in family planning."

  2. Ask all of the participants to stand in the middle of the room under the UNSURE sign.

  3. State to participants "I am going to read you a series of statements about men and family planning. After listening to the statement, decide if you agree, disagree, or are unsure about the statement -- then move to the side of the room which matches your response. You'll have an opportunity to discuss or clarify your decision."

  4. Encourage participants to share their reasons for their response if they so desire. If participants seem to all take a stand on one side of the issue, present a reason why someone might have a value that differs from the participants.

  5. Go through as many statements as you like, leaving time to discuss the questions below.

Discussion Questions

  • How did it feel to take a stand on these statements?

  • Were any statements easier or harder to take a stand on?

  • How did it feel to acknowledge a value that differed from someone else's? How did it feel to share values with other people?

  • How might our values and attitudes affect our ability to serve male clients?

  • What strategies can we use when our values differ from those of our male client?

  • How do our values support or hinder our male involvement work?

  • What can we do to overcome values that hinder our work?

Summary Points

  • Our values and attitudes can sometimes affect our ability to provide services to clients.

  • Most men can and do want to get involved in family planning and disease prevention.

Values Clarification Statements about
Young Men and Reproductive Health

  1. Young men often lie about their sexual history.

  2. Young men should date women who are close in age to them.

  3. Young men, regardless of their age, should have access to condoms if they are sexually active.

  4. Even if you provide young men with comprehensive reproductive health services, they will have little interest in using them.

  5. Family planning will always be more important for a young woman than a young man because she is the one who can get pregnant.

  6. Many family planning and reproductive health care professionals are uncomfortable counseling or providing services to young men.

  7. Young men are uncomfortable going to a female-oriented health facility or being treated by a female clinician.

  8. Sometimes young women send mixed messages to young men about sex which can sometimes lead to forced sexual activity or rape.

  9. Young men who engage in unprotected sex deserve to get an STI.

  10. Young men should not be allowed in family planning facilities during the same hours as young women.

  11. Young men are a major part of the problem of unintended pregnancies.

  12. Young men with STIs do not seek treatment and will often pass the disease to their partners.

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