Engaging rural men to improve child rearing in Nepal
The SHOPS Plus-supported Nepal CRS Company (CRS) is a pioneer social marketing organization. The organization implemented USAID-supported projects, such as Ghar Ghar Maa Swasthya, a project that sought to improve the health of disadvantaged populations in Nepal. As a part of its mission, CRS also led the Rural Area Initiative (RAI) from 2016 to 2020 to promote and create demand for family planning and maternal and child health services in some of the most hard-to-reach districts of Nepal.
The need for male engagement
The initial phase of the RAI program focused primarily on women in rural communities. However, when it comes to the growth and development of young children, the engagement of father figures is essential.
Adapting programming to strengthen child-rearing practices
Building on the initial RAI program, SHOPS Plus together with CRS developed “Hamro Bachcha,” or “Our Child.” This phase of programming worked with the husbands’ groups, employing tools such as storytelling and vignettes to facilitate discussion. The activity invited men in the community, especially father figures, to discuss how they engage creatively in child rearing and the importance of sustained involvement in their children’s lives. The activity concluded by inviting women in the community to share stories of male engagement within their families that they appreciate and which have made a difference in the lives of their children.
Building organizational capacity to sustain impact
To facilitate Hamro Bachcha, SHOPS Plus trained five CRS staff members to become gender focal points. They shadowed and co-facilitated the initial engagements, and co-managed the later engagements. Consequently, although the RAI program ended in early 2020, the CRS team is now equipped with staff who are able to bring a gender lens to future interventions and understand the importance of engaging men in discussions around child rearing.