Formerly the ‘HIV in Men’ portfolio, the Masculinities Research portfolio conducts research to inform evidence-based interventions to promote positive masculinity in relation to sexual & reproductive health (SRH) and health agency more broadly. The portfolio is currently being broadened to focus beyond HIV and SRH to include non-communicable diseases (where poor engagement of men in care is also of critical importance) and other themes (e.g. men’s engagement in maternal and child health). An evaluation conducted in Tanzania and Zimbabwe was published in 2020. It highlighted the importance of improved couples’ relationships – both as a wellbeing outcome valued by men and women, and as a contributor to the effectiveness of male involvement interventions.
Between 2020 and 2021, the Masculinities Research Lead, Dr Webster Mavhu spent a considerable amount of time developing an intervention entitled: ‘Research to promote positive masculinity and sexual health among younger adolescents in Zimbabwe’. He plans to co-develop and evaluate an intervention for 10-14 year-olds that addresses the causes of gender inequality in adolescent sexual health through approaches that challenge norms that privilege boys/men over girls/women. The ultimate goal is to develop an effective scalable model. The project will include both girls and boys but will have a focus on boys. He will i) conduct research to identify the issues to be targeted ii) work with younger adolescents to co-develop and pilot the intervention iii) develop tools to measure norms related to masculinity iv) test the intervention to determine if it is feasible and acceptable. If feasible, he plans to conduct a subsequent effectiveness trial.