Journeys of Transformation
Journeys of Transformation was inspired and informed by results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) and other research. These results showed that couple conflict may increase as women’s income increases in the context of income generation or livelihood programs and that, even as women earn more income, they continue to do the majority of unpaid care work.
Group education and community advocacy in Rwanda encourage men and couples to critically reflect about shared decision-making and power dynamics within their relationships with the goal of increasing the gender-equitable impact of micro-credit and conditional cash transfer programs.
Promundo and partners developed Journeys of Transformation to involve men as partners in women’s economic empowerment programming in Rwanda. Promundo believes that the impact of conditional cash transfer and microcredit programs, including village savings and loan programs, can be amplified with the addition of gender-transformative programming that engages men proactively in support of women’s economic empowerment and that encourages men to do a greater share of care work. The Journeys of Transformation methodology emerges from the vision that, although women’s economic empowerment programming has powerful benefits on its own, it can be made even more effective at advancing gender equality when men are deliberately engaged as allies.
The Journeys of Transformation curriculum offers 17 group education activities for men whose partners participate in women’s economic empowerment programming. These activities focus on business and negotiation skills, couples’ decision-making processes, individual health, and well-being, and laws and policies related to gender-based violence. The program also stimulates community discussions to promote changes in norms related to gender.
The activities presented in the Journeys of Transformation manual were developed through a process of action-research, which involved qualitative and quantitative methods and incorporated the responses, realities, and perspectives of female beneficiaries of economic empowerment and their male partners. It was developed together with CARE-Rwanda staff, as well as with partners from the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC).
The results of field-testing the process in Rwanda in 2011 and 2012 affirmed the transformation of men’s behaviors and attitudes, leading to greater empowerment of women. More specifically, findings show that involving men and their partners in these community activities and discussions resulted in increased income, as well as in the greater participation of men in childcare and reductions in couples’ conflict.
While developed in the context of Rwanda, the activities and the approach are relevant to, and can be adapted to, other settings around the world.
- Bolsa Família Companion Program: This companion program to Brazil’s Bolsa Família initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment by engaging men as allies in transforming harmful gender attitudes and behaviors that impact progress in Brazil.
- IMAGES: IMAGES measures men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality.
- Program H: Designed for young men, Program H encourages critical reflection about rigid norms related to manhood and encourages transformation of stereotypical roles associated with gender.