Lena Karlsson and Ravi Karkara

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A short report of a workshop (March 2004 Kathmandu)
Working with

Men and Boys
to promote gender equality and to end

violence against boys and girls

Lena Karlsson and Ravi Karkara

Save the Children Sweden-Denmark, Regional Programme for South and Central Asia

The vision

Save the Children works for:

a world which respects and values each child

a world which listens to children and learns

a world where all children have hope and opportunity
The mission

Save the Children fights for children’s rights.

We deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children’s lives worldwide.

© 2004 International Save the Children Alliance

Project manager:: Ravi Karkara

Concept: Ravi Karkara and Lena Karlsson

Copy-editing: Bela Malik

Graphic design: Tsering Phuntsok

Printing: Format Printing Press
International Save the Children Alliance

Kupendole, Lalitpur, GPO Box 5850


Published by

International Alliance of Save the Children

Regional Office for South and Central Asia

Kupendole, Lalitpur

In spite of over a decade of attention to mainstream gender concerns in development policy and practice, gender inequalities that disadvantage girls and women persist in South and Central Asia. The litany is by now well-known. Girls and women have less access to services such as health and education and less control over resources. Girls and women face various forms of gender-based violence, such as rape, sexual harassment, female foeticide and infanticide and honour killing. Even though most forms of gender discrimination affect girls and women, international research has clearly demonstrated that dominant forms and perceptions of masculinities among young boys become the most impelling force for male risk-taking behaviour including street violence, unsafe sexual practices and misogyny.

Save the Children Sweden-Denmark (SCSD) have made a commitment to address gender discrimination and violence against children by working with boys and men-- in partnership with girls and women— to challenge root causes of rights violations such as unequal gender and power relations and hegemonic forms of masculinities. SCSD is also committed to link various forms of discrimination and address them holistically from a child-rights perspective. To be able to promote gender equality and a society free of violence, boys and girls have to be involved in designing and monitoring these interventions and in addressing the responsible actors such as family members, community leaders, teachers, religious leaders, governments and the private sector.

With this objective, Save the Children Sweden-Denmark, Regional Office for South Central Asia organised a three-day workshop on ‘Strengthening partnership with men and boys to promote gender equality and end violence against girls and boys’ on 23-25 March in Kathmandu. Around thirty participants from the region met and shared their practical experiences of and theoretical insights into working with men and boys on issues (masculinities that promote gender equality and non-violence towards children and women). They also developed strategies and concrete action plans for increasing partnership with men/boys to address violence against girls and boys and for promoting gender equality from a child-rights based approach.

This publication provides an overview. It also contains some ideas on possible areas of future work. This is a relatively new area in South and Central Asia, and we hope that this publication will provide guidelines along with serving as a document for the current ‘state-of-the-art’ in the field. Ravi Karkara, Lena Karlsson, Asif Munier and Rahul Roy organised the workshop.

Ravi and Lena prepared this document. Bela Malik copy-edited the report. Thanks to all of them for their commitment and zeal.


Regional and Resident Representative

Save the Children Sweden-Denmark

Regional Office for South and Central Asia


The ideas for this workshop have been brewing for a while. Rahul Roy, Asif Munier, Saghir Bukhari and Ranjani K. Murthy helped with the concept and organisation of the workshop as part of the planning team.
Herluf Madsen has been a rock solid figure of encouragement, always quick to accept new concepts and to pursue streams that cross cut. Kiran Bhatia, was a source of inspiration and encouragements. Michael Etherton, Marlyn Thomson, Ruth Fenny Hayward and Michael Kaufman were other pillars of support.
We also thank Famida Jameen, Gyani Thapa, Mache and Rajaram who provided logistic support. Bela Malik copy-edited and fine-tuned the final draft.
None of this was possible without the active and keen participation of activists, intellectuals and others working or looking to work with masculinities in the struggle to end violence against girls and boys and to work towards gender equality.

Lena Karlsson Ravi Karkara




  1. Gender socialisation

  2. Masculinities

  3. Rights perspective: who is responsible?

  4. Experiences of working with men and boys

Working with boys in the street

Working with boys and men to stop acid attacks

Working with boys and men through gender training

Working with men and boys to stop violence through community based approaches

Working with men and boys through media and campaigns

Working with boys and men through education

  1. Gaps and opportunities

  2. Areas for further intervention

Gender training and capacity building

Advocacy and campaigns

Field based intervention and research

Child-rights programming

7. Conclusion


  1. Participants’ list

  2. Session plan

The workshop held in Kathmandu (March 2004) was an effort to share the experiences/methodologies/approaches/tools between those working with adults, those working with girls and boys, and those undertaking ‘research’ and broadening the idea of addressing ‘masculinities’ as a relation to ‘femininities’. The workshop brought together a good mix of those working with children from a rights based approach and those working with adults but focusing on masculinities (see Appendix 1 for a list of participants, and Appendix 2 for the workshop plan). Presented below is an overview of the theoretical and practical output of the workshop.
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