Engaging Men and Boys for Gender-Transformative WASH

Frontiers of Sanitation 20
July 2022

Engaging men and boys is an exciting development in the WASH space; for too long our efforts to transform gender inequality focused too narrowly on women and girls.

Limiting ourselves to half the possible number of allies, partners for change, innovators, and leaders to address this issue held back progress, and also placed the ‘burden for change’ squarely on women’s shoulders

This issue of Frontiers of Sanitation explores the extent to which engaging men and boys in WASH processes is leading to transformative change in gender roles, attitudes, and sustainable change in reducing gender inequalities across households, communities, organisations, and policy.

This document is an update to Frontiers Part 1 produced in 2018. In Part 1, the differing roles of men and boys were reviewed in terms of objects to change (i.e. to change sanitation or hygiene behaviours), agents of change (in promoting improved practices), and partners for change in gender-transformative WASH processes.

This update reviews progress and provides practical examples of the opportunities and challenges with this endeavour. It also includes recommendations for those thinking about why and how to include engaging men and boys as part of their WASH programmes.


  1. Define success
  2. Address challenges to engaging men and boys in WASH
  3. Build organisational capacity and strengthen partnerships
  4. Set up monitoring systems that track progress towards objectives
  5. Set up processes for knowledge sharing and learning

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
RegionEast and South East Asia, South Asia, Southern Africa, The Pacific
CountryIndia, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia
ThemesBehaviour change, Gender, Gender and equity, Gender transformative WASH, Leave no one behind, Social norms, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation
ApproachesLearning approaches, Sanitation approaches

Cavill, S.; Huggett, C. and Mott, J. (2022) ‘Engaging Men and Boys for Gender-Transformative WASH: Part 2’, Frontiers of Sanitation, The Sanitation Learning Hub, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/SLH.2022.004


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