Programme Ra: Redefining manhood in Lebanon

The 2014 Womanity Award winners’ new programme, designed to redefine manhood and reduce violence, will reach young men in refugee and marginalized communities in Lebanon.

Programme Ra is a strategy- and capacity-building training curriculum for young men which focuses on issues such as non-violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), substance abuse, and gender equality. It has been adapted from Program H, which was developed by Promundo in Brazil and has been widely used around the world in programming to end violence against women and girls.
Programme Ra – named after Rajol, the word for man in Arabic – is the first adaptation of Program H in the Middle East, marking a milestone in Promundo’s history.

The Programme Ra curriculum includes dramatizations, games, and debates that spark individual and collective critical reflection about how men and women are taught to think about what it means to be a man or a woman; the impact of this socialization; and how both women and men can benefit from tackling gender stereotypes, questioning their existing attitudes, and marking new milestones on the path toward gender equality in Lebanon.

Implemented in more than 22 countries and subject to nine impact evaluations, the original Program H has proved highly successful in raising awareness about – and transforming – stereotypes related to gender.

Programme RA advert, redefining manhood and reducing violence against women and girls
According to one of the young men taking part in a training on the programme in Lebanon, “Discussing mutual respect, the way that other people think, and how we should respect each other’s opinions were crucial in making me consider changing the way I think and behave with others.

Another participant said, “I found this training very important because it raised my awareness about a number of topics that I had not previously thought about, especially related to gender and gender equality.

Program Ra - necklace -
Lebanon-based NGO ABAAD – Resource Center for Gender Equality – and international NGO Promundo have launched Programme Ra –named after Rajol, the word for man in Arabic – to encourage men to challenge gender-based stereotypes, question traditional ideas of manhood, and contribute to putting an end to all forms of violence against girls and women in Lebanon. The programme aims to create sustainable behavioural change among boys and men in order to promote gender equality more broadly in Lebanon.

Supported by the 2014 Womanity Award, ABAAD has worked to adapt the programme to the Lebanese context, taking into account the refugee crisis. Programme Ra targets young men between 18 and 24 from refugee and marginalized host communities and from both urban and rural areas.
According to ABAAD co-founder and director Ms. Ghida Anani, “Men are not born with any sexist or violent beliefs. That is the product of their socialization, and it is exactly the reason why discussing gender and violence with young men through Programme Ra is so important.”

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