Men Stand Up
Young Men’s Stories of Love, Sex and Contraception
Partner: Voto Mobile, FSG | Location: India, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali | URL: https://www.menstandup.org/
The family planning needs, preferences, and behaviors of young men (15-24) are poorly understood. We saw an opportunity to gather data and research solutions to generate demand for family planning among this important and yet under researched audience.
Little is known about men’s support of modern contraception and reproductive rights. Few studies focus on young men’s experiences, needs, desires, or vulnerabilities related to sexuality, relationships, child-bearing and decision-making. Furthermore, when they are studied, research focuses on men and boys through the lens of preventing gender-based violence, or as women’s partners.
Young men are not a homogenous group and the lack of research means that little is known about their diverse behavioral drivers and the role of peer networks in driving demand for and uptake of family planning services.
Inequalities in power and privilege among men and women can give men greater decision-making power and limit women’s ability to negotiate sex and use of contraceptives. Despite increasing recognition of the role of men in perpetuating harmful sexual and reproductive health outcomes, current social and behavior change communications and programs are predominantly targeted towards women, leaving out this critical and influential demographic.
YLabs, Voto Mobile and FSG paired user-centered design with mobile-powered research to design solutions that generate demand for family planning services among young men and women. We see an opportunity to design new technologies and service delivery approaches that are grounded in user insights from young men to increase men and women’s uptake of family planning. This approach will deliver much-needed user behavioral insights, cross-validated with robust quantitative data, which will serve as the foundation for a youth-led design process.
Men Stand Up aims to bring young men’s voices to the forefront. Using participatory methods, YLabs worked with almost 1000 young men in India, Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria to understand their needs, preferences around family planning and sexual health. We used an innovative approach combining storytelling, youth-centered design, and interactive voice response mobile surveys.
We uncovered young men’s perspectives on gender, fatherhood and family planning, masculinity and vulnerability, gender-based violence, and unemployment. The findings paint a picture of what young men need and want when it comes to sexual health in four countries.
In the next phase, Men Stand Up will work with young men to generate future directions for sexual and reproductive health and rights programming with young men.