Introducing our Newest Program: Boys for Positive Change (BPC)
The mission of Boys for Positive Change (BPC) it to sensitize boys to recognize social norms underlying gender inequality and empower them to become agents of positive change by challenging these norms.
While working with the girls in our Girls LEAP program, we kept hearing from them – at no surprise - that one of the biggest obstacles impairing them from feeling empowered is society’s damaging perceptions of gender roles, which affects the mentality of young boys and girls who grow up believing these are the roles they’re meant to fill. While we currently address this issue through our Girls LEAP program, we felt the issue could be addressed more wholesomely by including boys to be a part of the solution to gender inequality. This initiative has started to become popular and widely accepted in the world of development, which is why the UN Commission on the Status of Women advanced a series of recommendations to ensure men and boys be included in the efforts towards gender equality and the advancement of women. Recognizing the need to work with and empower young men alongside young women, Exponential Education is introducing a boy’s program, Boys for Positive Change (BPC), to address damaging perceptions of gender roles and masculinities and empower boys to promote gender equality.
Based on substantive research done on similar programs, the results so far have been very positive. Work with men and boys can have a positive, transformative impact for the lives of women and girls, but also for the lives of men and boys. Boys’ violence, their greater rates of substance use and suicide, the disrespectful behaviour
of some young men toward their partners, and lack of involvement in their children’s lives stems mainly from how families and societies raise boys and girls. Research confirms a link between how boys are raised and the negative consequences it has on their health. A national survey of adolescent males ages 15-19 in the U.S. found that young men who had sexist or traditional views of manhood were more likely to report substance use, involvement in violence and delinquency and unsafe sexual practices than were adolescent boys with more flexible views about what “real men” can do. Freeing them from the harmful and limiting aspects of these masculinities can greatly improve the lives of men and boys. As a result, we can eliminate gender inequalities that hold back the development of our communities and nation.
Our program will be offered to form 2 Antoa SHS male students, where they can meet once a week after school. Each club will be implemented by 1 Program Associate and 1 local male facilitator. It will cover the topics of dealing with tough feelings, communication and expression, masculinity and violence, with a focus on gender-based violence, family and relationships, gender roles and gender stereotyping, and solving community issues.
The objectives of our program are:
Create a safe space for boys to learn and speak about important topics affecting them and their communities
Engage boys in critical reflection and dialogue about gender equality via participatory sessions and activities
Encourage boys to be agents of positive change and allies in the fight against gender inequality
Encourage boys to reflect critically upon the world in which they live and their own experiences and apply that learning at a personal and community level
Provide information of local resources and referrals for the boys to use if/when they’re faced with a problem
This program is in its pilot phase, and we will be continually monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness. Please continue checking out our website, blog, and social media accounts for further updates!