A Review of Gender-Transformative Approaches and Promising Practices in Health, Nutrition and HIV Programming in Africa

From Theory to Practice

Authored by: Mary Picard

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2022
Citation: Picard, Mary. "A Review of Gender-Transformative Approaches and Promising Practices in Health, Nutrition and HIV Programming in Africa: From Theory to Practice." United Nations Children's Fund. September 2022.

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Executive Summary

The aim of the study is to promote learning around gender-transformative programming by identifying examples with empirical evidence that meet the dimensions of the Model for Assessing Gender Transformative Approaches. It is hoped the outcomes of the study will support UNICEF in its broader objective to develop gender-transformative theories of change in health, nutrition, and HIV programming and to scale up models that address gender barriers in both the short-term and long-term.

The methodology for this study consisted of an intensive document review, using an assessment criteria template based on the model, supplemented by interviews and follow-up questions with some UNICEF COs in West and Central Africa (WCA) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA).

The review assessed country initiatives/programmes against the four dimensions of change of the Model for Assessing Gender Transformative Approaches and against the eight different implementation strategies contributing to those dimensions – socio-ecological, multisectoral, engaging men and boys, positive masculinities, gender socialisation, women’s empowerment, intersectional/inclusive, and life cycle. The review also considered whether any type of diagnosis of gender barriers had been conducted and classified the progress of the programme initiatives as early (still in the diagnostic or planning stage), emerging (implementation phase with evidence of actions and strategies) or demonstrating some degree of results (output or outcome level). These characteristics in combination were the basis for ascertaining whether an initiative qualified as gender-transformative either in its approach or as a promising practice. Four gender-transformative initiatives were identified and selected for more in-depth review. These case studies – carried out for Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa – included interviews with CO staff and, for Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania, focus group discussions with beneficiaries.