International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Cynthia Caron, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Cynthia Enloe, Ph.D.


Violence against women and girls and its potential solutions increasingly garner international attention in the media and find themselves at the center of development agency portfolios. Program interventions aimed at eradicating violence against women and girls must create solutions that examine the socio-cultural values and normative expectations that boys and girls, men, and women place on one another. Many scholars argue that changing social norms or beliefs is an inter-generational process, as they are entrenched in and reproduced through social institutions such as the family, schools and religion (Enloe, 2013). Over the past decade, scholars and practitioners have noted violence against women and girls will not cease unless men and boys are part of the solution (Chant & Guttman, 2000). This qualitative case study assesses how contemporary interventions conceptualize social and cultural norms as constraints, opportunities or both, boys and men’s relative role in reproducing normative expectations, and how programs then attempt to address them. I focus on UN Women and USAID programming guidelines reports that detail the hard work that assists efforts to challenge attitudes, norms, and beliefs. I analyze key activities laid out in two specific case studies profiling programs designed to challenge violence against women and girls by incorporating the help of men and boys. These programs include The Safe Schools Program in Ghana and The Stepping Stones Program in Uganda. I examine how implementers design activities that boys and girls, men and women engage in. In so doing, I show advances in bringing men and boys into the dialogue and as such, this paper will be of interest to international development researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.



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