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Ensuring adaptation for different settings

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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Ensure the appropriateness of interventions adapted from other settings

 If a programme from one setting is being implemented in another setting, it is important to also carry out formative research to ensure its appropriateness to the local culture and context, particularly since ideas of masculinity may vary from one setting to another.

CASE STUDY: Formative Research Carried out by CORO for Literacy (India) to Adapt the Program H Initiative (Brazil)
This case study describes how the Horizons Program; CORO for Literacy, an India-based NGO; and Instituto PROMUNDO, a Brazilian NGO, conducted operations research to:
1) Examine the impact on young men of promoting gender equity as part of an HIV prevention programme in India; and
2) Adapt the Program H manuals developed for use in Brazil to the context of India.
Specifically, the research addressed the following questions:
  • How is masculinity understood and expressed by young men in India?
  • How can gender equitable norms and behaviours, including those related to violence and HIV/STI risk reduction, be promoted among young men?
  • Will this type of intervention (Program H) be feasible and acceptable in the Indian context?
  • What impact will the intervention have on attitudes toward gender norms, and HIV and other risk behaviours?
  • How can change in attitudes toward gender norms be measured?

Formative research was conducted with young men in low-income communities in Mumbai, India, on the links between gender and masculinity, sexuality, and health risk, including:

  • 51 interviews with young men aged 16 to 24 years;
  • Four focus group discussions with NGO leaders, political and religious leaders, and young women from the same communities;
  • Intervention activities for young men were then developed / adapted; and
  • Peer leaders were trained to facilitate group education sessions.

The feasibility and acceptability, as well as the impact of the intervention, were measured by:

  • Monitoring attendance at the sessions and keeping track of the themes discussed during the activities;
  • Pre- and post-intervention surveys with the young men (n = 107 and n = 92, respectively) by an independent research team;
  • Qualitative interviews with a subset of young men after selected sessions (n = 16), with those who had dropped out of the intervention (n = 11), and with the intervention facilitators (n = four).
  • Observations of selected intervention activities also took place.

In light of the formative research findings, the Program H curriculum was found suitable for the Indian context, and was adapted during a weeklong workshop, followed by two months of community consultations. The team adapted and pre-tested 20 group exercises based on participatory methods of learning with extensive use of role-plays, discussions, and debates.

Adapting the curriculum involved:

  • changing characters;
  • modifying story lines and examples; and
  • altering the format and content of a few exercises.

Program H manuals are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

The adaptation of the Program H manual, “Yaari Dosti” is available in English and Hindi.

See an overview of the process of adapting the Gender-equitable Men Scale to the India context. Available in English.

Source: Verma, Ravi K., Julie Pulerwitz, Vaishali Mahendra, Sujata Khandekar, Gary Barker, P. Fulpagare, and S.K. Singh. 2006. “Shifting support for inequitable gender norms among young Indian men to reduce HIV risk and partner violence,” Horizons Research Summary. New Delhi: Population Council.




Tools that can help programmes ensure local relevance and engagement:

Mobilising Communities to Prevent Domestic Violence (Raising Voices, Uganda )

This Resource Guide is a tool for community-based organizations working to prevent domestic violence. The first chapter on community assessment includes a series of activities to help assess common beliefs and attitudes about domestic violence held by various groups and to begin to build relationships with community members and leaders. Available in English.

Listening to Young Voices: Facilitating Participatory Appraisals on Reproductive Health with Adolescents (CARE International)

This toolkit is specifically designed for adolescents in the context of reproductive health, though the methods detailed in Chapter 4 can be adapted to different issues and populations. Part one and part two of the toolkit are available in English.

Young Men and HIV Prevention: a Tool Kit for Action (Promundo and UNFPA)

Although geared towards HIV prevention, this tool kit contains three tools that may help projects in adapting existing initiatives to the local context and avoid doing harm:

Reflection activity: building alliances – page 29
Mapping young men’s media and social networks – page 25
Creating campaigns: step by step – page 23

Available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.