A Pre-Assessment of Role Model Men for the HANDLE GBV Project 2018-2020

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Evaluation Report

A Pre-Assessment of Role Model

Men for the HANDLE GBV Project


Promoting Comprehensive Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence in Nwoya District, Northern Uganda Creating Community Free of Violence


This report intends to summarize data collected from 30 Role Model Men enrolled in the Gender Based Violence project implemented by HANDLE Uganda. The project is currently in its 2nd year and being implemented in Alero Sub-County in Nwoya District. The information presented seeks to provide summary statistics gathered from survey analysis which was collected over a 1 week period in March 2018.


A total of 30 respondents were administered the “Life Experiences”

Survey in the form of questionnaires. This questionnaire was administered by interview in an effort to obtain increased responses due to the low literacy levels in the region. Interviews were conducted in the field, with 3 HANDLE staff visiting the respondents at or near their home villages. HANDLE staff ensured that surveys were administered in privacy due to the personal nature of the questions.

The questionnaire was based on similar tools used to collect data on populations in the region, and was modified to fit the local context to increase reliability and enhance relevance. This was done through planning meetings with the Evaluation team. Both interviewees received training on how to conduct the surveys and were allocated plenty of time to ensure that each one understood the meaning of the questions and their respective response sets.


According to the results, there is concern about the RMM experiences and perceptions on Gender Equality and Violence against Women particularly with regards to the realities of legal sanctions for violence against women and sexual violence more generally. Furthermore, focus needs to be placed on the gender equality of sharing responsibilities, decision making on land and resource ownership within the RMM’s own households.

The following section presents a summary of the results of the analysis from 30 respondents (i.e.

Role Model Men) in Year 2 of the GBV Project.


Demographic Characteristics

In order to tailor our training material to best suit the needs of our beneficiaries, HANDLE understands the importance of gathering demographic data to better serve our target population.

In the first quarter of the GBV Project, HANDLE recruited 30 Role Model Men (RMM) to serve as change makers in transforming their communities concerning gender equality and GBV. As part of the evaluation, the 30 RMM were interviewed and administered the Life Experiences Survey. According to analysis of results, the age of the respondents ranged from 26 to 58 years with an average of 43 years. The majority of these men work in subsistence agriculture and riding Boda-boda (motorcycle taxi).

As we can see from Figure 1, the most common level of education is completion of primary school (43.3%), with completion of secondary as the least common (3.33%). 83.3% of RMM have an education level of Primary or below. Compared to their partner’s in terms of education level, 66.7% (n=20) RMM reported having more education, 20% (n=6) RMM have the same level of education as their partner, and 13.3% (n=4) RMM have less education than their partner. All of the respondents reported being legally married (60%) or at least cohabiting (40%) with at least one main partner. Two RMM are in polygamous relationships, with one having 2 wives, and one having 3 wives.

Figure 2 shows the frequency distribution of land and productive resource ownership among respondents. We can see from this figure that the majority of RMM own both land and productive resources, with a size-able proportion indicating that they share land ownership with their partner or others. When it comes to who controls these assets, RMM most commonly have sole ownership over both land and productive resources. However, it is notable that

land control is shared with their partners for 5 RMM (see Figure 3).

Figure 2 – Frequency Distribution of Land and Productive Resource Ownership (n=29)

Figure 3 – Frequency Distribution of Land and Productive Resource Control (n=30)

Relationship Characteristics

We asked the RMM multiple questions regarding the health of the relationship they currently have with their partner(s). Central to this section of the questionnaire were their views on the division of household labour and child care duties, which are useful indicators for determining behavior at home. How tasks are divided can provide us insight on how well the respondents adhere to gender equal behaviors in their everyday life.

In terms of employment income, the men’s responses were distributed almost evenly between whether he or his partner earns more money. Thirteen men (43.3%) reported that they earned more than their partner, 11 men (36.7%) reported that their partner earned more, and 6 (20%) reported that he and his partner earn the same amount.

Figure 4 shows the distribution of how the RMM view the division of labour in their households. Respondents indicated it was “Usually me” or “I do everything”, when they were doing the bulk of the associated task. The responses “Partner does everything” or “Usually Partner” mean the RMM’s partner does the majority of each task.

We can see from the responses that RMM’s perceive that tasks are mostly shared equally between themselves and their partners. For certain tasks, namely buying food, washing clothes, cleaning the home, and preparing food, RMM also mentioned that it is more likely to be completed by their partner in one-third to one half of cases. Paying bills and cleaning the toilet facilities is more often taken up by the husbands, when not shared equally with their partner.

Interestingly, when asked how they perceived this division of labour for household tasks, the men reported that their partners did a lot of the work, which contradicts their responses on the division of household labour. Very few respondents (n=3) felt that they did a little more in terms of household labour (see Figure

5). The men were also asked how satisfied they were with this current division of labour, and overwhelmingly reported themselves as being “Very Satisfied” (n=21, 70%). The RMM also believe that their partners were also “Very Satisfied” with the division of labour in the household, despite admitting that their partners do much more work.

Family Decision Making

Concerning decisions about expenses, most men reported making decisions with their partner for food and clothing, large expenses, and regarding their children. However, 10-17% of men make financial decisions on their own concerning these expenses.

In relation to whom has the final say regarding the health of the women in the household, 57% of the men reported that final decisions were shared equally with their partner? Only 14% of men reported that the women had the final say regarding health decisions, and 25% of the men reported that they were the final decision makers.

Regarding conflict within the relationship, 10 of the men reported not seeking any external help or counseling to solve problems within the relationship, whereas 20 men reported either themselves or their partner or both seeking this type of counsel.

Figure 6 shows how often the RMM reported talking through problems they were facing in life, as well as the last time they initiated discussions with their partner when they had issues with her. We can see here that the majority of RMM discuss issues with their partner or their families at least within the past month, perhaps indicating that the RMM are open to discussing issues with their partners as needed.

RMM revealed that in 50% of cases, they made the decision to have their last child with their partner (see Figure 7). 23% of men said they made the decision, and 10% said that it was their partner’s decision .

Relationships with Children

According to the responses, the average number of children that the RMM had was 6 children per person. Number of children per RMM ranged from 1 to 13 children.

The RMM were asked how often they see their children. The vast majority (77%, n=23  reported seeing their child(ren) 6 to 7 days per week. 67% of RMM said they “Frequently” paid or “Paid most expenses” for expenses of their children, while 30% said this expense coverage was occasional or never. When asked how the men viewed their roles within their families, many men saw themselves as primarily the family provider (see Figure 8).

In Figure 9, we see how men perceive the division of tasks related to child care duties with their partner. We can see here that most RMM perceive that they share child care tasks equally with their partner, but partners were more likely to take on more of the daily care and illness care of children.

Childhood Experiences of RMM

The respondents were asked several questions about their childhood experiences during their lifetimes which are important for assessing how these experiences shaped their current lives and viewpoints. Figure 10 shows how the RMM perceived their father’s involvement in their care in terms of division of household labour.

We can see that the RMM most commonly perceived their fathers as ‘sometimes’ involved in their care, which may influence their own involvement in child care and household duties today.

Figure 11 demonstrates how often the respondents experienced different forms of violence throughout their childhoods. We can see here that there is a high proportion of men who experienced some form of physical violence from school and/or parents/guardians. More than half of the men reported hearing or seeing their mother beaten by a male partner.

Views on Gender Equality and Violence Against Women

In order to assess the RMM’s current views towards women and violence against women, we asked several questions regarding these views. Figure 12 outlines the respondents’ views on gender equality for a range of issues, including contraceptive use.

We can see from the above chart that while men generally believe that it is not a woman’s sole responsibility to avoid getting pregnant and that partners should decide together what contraceptives to use, some men reported that they would be “outraged” if their partner asked them to use a condom – showing more education about reproductive rights and decision making for women should be stressed. Further, 40% agreed that a man should have the final say about decisions in the home.

Men subscribed to the myth that “men need more sex than women do”, with just over one third disagreeing with this statement.

Regarding violence against women, there were some men who believed that women should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together (over 1/3 of the respondents), and a few men even agreed that women deserved to be beaten.

Concerning women’s rights (Figures 13 and 14) more than two thirds of the RMM disagreed with the idea that women working takes jobs away from men women’s rights mean men lose out, and that rape victims should be questioned in terms of their promiscuity. However, there were a few RMM who agree that men lose rights with the advent of women’s rights. It is clear focus needs to be made on gender equality transformation and sexual violence in particular, as part of the Omoana GBV Project implemented by HANDLE Uganda.

Laws Concerning Women’s Rights

Figure 14 shows that the majority of respondents believe that gender parity has been achieved in large part today. Interestingly, the majority of RMM disagree that gender equality work mainly benefits rich people.

The vast majority of RMM were aware that there exist laws regarding women’s rights (i.e., divorce, land ownership, gender equality). Concerning laws about Violence Against Women, Figure 15 shows us the RMM’s perceptions about these laws. An overwhelming majority of respondents were aware of the existence of these laws.

We can see that the men exhibited bias towards women, and felt that there were issues with current legislation. A concerning majority of men believe that it is too easy to charge a man under these laws, despite a conviction rate of 0.8%. This figure tells us that RMM need focused training on the harms of GBV and the seriousness of the issue

Experiences of Perpetrating Violence Against Women

We asked the respondents about their experiences in perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence, that is, violence exerted against their partner(s). As Figure 16 shows, most men overwhelmingly did not acknowledge perpetrating violence against their partner(s). It is important to remember, however, in measuring the perpetration of violence, there is a tendency to conceal episodes of violence for fear of being judged or legal reprisal.

Still a sizable proportion of men have perpetrated physical violence against a partner. One person mentioned recent violence against their partner. Sexual violence is particularly challenging to measure. Chart 15 provides the acknowledged frequency of perpetration of sexual violence against a partner, former partner, or stranger.

3 of the respondents acknowledge raping a woman more than once in the past year, which is concerning for their inclusion as RMM and not recommended as part of the methodology


Nine respondents acknowledged being in a physical fight at least once in their lives, with 4 additional men stating that they have been engaged in a physical fight 2-3 times. One respondent mentioned being in a physical altercation with a knife. Almost half of the respondents (47%, n=14) mentioned that they had been arrested at least once.

In terms of alcohol consumption, 25 out of 30 men did not drink any alcohol. Figure 18 shows that 1 RMM binge drinks on a daily or almost daily basis; however, the other respondents who drink appear to do so responsibly.

When asked whether the RMM knew a male friend who perpetrated violence against his partner, 86% said ‘Yes’. Eleven men said that they have already approached the perpetrator, while all others said they would feel capable of challenging his behavior. All men acknowledged that they would feel capable of intervening if they saw a stranger perpetrate violence against women. When asked whether they would be able to talk to their son(s) or a young boy they cared for about violence against women, most respondents would, and 5 respondents said ‘No’.

Qualitative Responses

The respondents were asked open-ended questions related to their preparedness for, commitment to, and thoughts about what it means to be a Role Model Man as part of the GBV Project.

When asked what they do to support their communities, most commonly (n=12) respondents replied that they were engaged in volunteer work to improve their community (e.g., cleaning, helping elderly). More than a third of respondents also mentioned that they advised or counseled fellow community members (n=11). Twenty-three of the respondents also affirmed being leaders before in their communities, with positions as village chiefs, chairperson for savings groups, and leading religious groups as examples. Another twenty-five respondents confirmed that they have engaged in volunteer work before, with a few indicating that they worked for other NGOs, as part of Village Health Teams, or engaged in general community work.

We asked the respondents why they thought that they were selected by the community to represent Role Model Men. The most common responses were related to a good lifestyle (e.g., good relationship with family and community), being social and friendly, and their honesty. The respondents also revealed what being a RMM meant to them: the men most commonly said that the position gave them the opportunity to educate the community, while some specified it allowed them to create awareness about or address GBV.

In terms of the qualities that the respondents felt made them a good candidate as a RMM, 10 respondents mentioned that they were a good person and exemplary to others, while 8 indicated that they had a good home life and relationship with their family. In handling difficult situations and emotions, 15 respondents said that they opted to talk through their issues, and another 10 indicated that their approach was to take some distance from a conflict situation. All men mentioned that they were readily available to assume the duties required as a RMM for the GBV project under HANDLE.

We asked the respondents what they expected to get out of their position as a RMM for HANDLE GBV project, to determine their true motivations for volunteering for this position. The vast majority of the respondents (n=26) explained that they expected to get new knowledge or training from the project. Another 10 anticipated transport to be provided to them in terms of bicycles or refunds. A few respondents expected books and t-shirts to be provided. Three people expected financial support: two rely on farming support and one person believes he will receive boots. One person expected to construct houses.

Finally, respondents were asked about their own motivations for volunteering to become a RMM with HANDLE’s GBV project. The most common responses were to help others in their communities (n=12) or to gain experience working with the community (n=5). Some others wanted to learn how to be exemplary (n=7), and another five men wanted help with their families.


The following are recommendations to strengthen the implementation of the GBV project. These points are targeted at strengthening the implementation of interventions targeted at the Role Model Men, based on the findings from the “Pre”-evaluation survey.

  1. Design and Implement thorough Gender Based Violence Training

It was clear from the data that RMM need more comprehensive training on GBV, particularly with regards to sexual violence. As the RMM are one of the centerpieces to sensitize communities, HANDLE must ensure that these beneficiaries are thoroughly trained on what gender based violence is, and what constitutes sexual violence. The RMM also need to be educated on what effects GBV has on communities at large, but more specific psychological and physical effects. There should also include a session on transforming victim-blaming attitudes, especially for sexual violence. It is recommended that any future training plans and materials be reviewed by GBV Specialist and HANDLE Case Manager for modification, with plenty of time to make changes and adapt the program, as well as train the facilitators.

  1. Long-term training for GBV

Attitudinal and behavioral changes take course over a longer period of time. Considering the complexity and nature of GBV, and the difficulties inherent in addressing the issue, RMM should receive long-term interventions to help transform their own attitudes towards women and GBV.

  1. Standardized Sensitization

In order to assure that RMM are delivering accurate information about GBV during their community sensitizations, the content and plan of these sessions should be reviewed by HANDLE staff well in advance, with the consultation of an expert. This should be done to minimize the chances of misinforming entire communities with inaccurate information and negative views towards women, which may reinforce harmful gender views and reinforce the acceptance of GBV practices.

  1. Training on Gender Equality

More generally, RMM should receive in-depth and longitudinal training on gender equality to challenge and transform their own gender biases. While gender was covered during the training sessions, considering the evaluation were done after the session, we can see that some men still hold views that are incongruent with gender equality. Focus for this group of men should consider emphasis on the equal distribution of tasks and decisions making at home. Men should also be encouraged to share land and productive resources more evenly with their female partners.

  1. More strategies for dealing with personal issues and conflict

It is advisable to give RMM conflict and stress management training to support their GBV and gender equality trainings. This may put them in a better position to peacefully resolve issues at home, as well as mediate conflict within the community.

  1. Getting Support from Vivo

Considering that many men reported experiencing physical violence during their upbringing, it is recommended that HANDLE partner with Vivo to conduct trauma screenings for PTSD effects to ensure that our beneficiaries receive treatment as needed. This will help them to better manage the conflict situations they may encounter throughout their communities during their activities.

  1. Regular GBV Project Planning Meetings
  • To talk about the progress of the project and issues and concerns with the beneficiarie
  • Tobetter share information across the project team and to brainstorm on ideas to improve on the project planning and implementation.
  • To review information and training materials, as well as content for community and school sensitizatio
  1. Encourage RMM’s engagement with youth and young boys

A few respondents mentioned that they would not be willing/prepared to talk to their sons or young boys within the community about violence against women. As part of a transformational program targeting VAW, the RMM should be equipped with youth-friendly approaches to dealing with conflict and GBV, and strategies on how to talk to young boys to raise awareness of the harms of GBV and women and girls’ rights.

  1. Consider reviewing RMM candidates

There were a few responses that drew concern about the inclusion of certain candidates as part of the RMM for HANDLE’s GBV project. Namely, 47% of the men reported being previously arrested – which may indicate that they are not exemplary role models for their communities. More urgently, 3 men admitted to raping a woman more than one time in the past year – this is of serious concern as it is not recommended to include men with recent histories of violence against women in any sort of gender transformative program. Finally, 1 respondent posed concern as it was indicated that he engaged in binge drinking on a near daily basis. These candidates should seriously be considered for replacement as part of this program, especially considering that no long-term training for transformational behavioral change is provided as part of this project and given the important mandate of the project.


The RMM are a key feature of the GBV Project and represent important players in sensitizing communities on GBV. That is why it is important that HANDLE provide the best training opportunities to meet the gaps in their knowledge and transform their attitudes and behaviors so that they are embodying the spirit of what it means to be a role model. The findings herein indicate that the RMM’s views on gender equality and their experiences of violence throughout their lives –particularly sexual violence – require more attention. Sexual violence is an incredibly challenging field to address and requires specialized training and knowledge. More broadly, however, HANDLE must be more proactive and thoughtful about how training is being delivered and what is being covered. More care and attention needs to be paid about how evaluation and monitoring of key activities is done to ensure that we are closely tracking the progress of our beneficiaries and adapting our project to meet their needs to ensure that no harm is being done.


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