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ID 4

Men are able to visualize the causal linkage between their masculine roles of ‘procreator’ – pressure to demonstrate their virility, and ‘provider’- pressure to provide financially for their family, however, the pressure of proving their virility is so high that they are willing to take the risk of financial crisis.  They are unable to think through that In the aftermath of having had unprotected sex, men face the high likelihood of providing for a growing family. In fact, even though men see themselves as providers, they ultimately think that it is the woman who needs to ensure that expenditure on the children is managed and optimized well. It may be different for young couples though but largely is similar.

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Key Design Challenges

  • To help men visualize the gender norms, that create pressure on men to be procreators- like having a child in the first year of marriage.

  • To help men visualize the gender norms, that create pressure on men to be providers and the impact it has on their quality of life ( relationships and on themselves).

  • Helping men visualize the risks of heavily relying on traditional methods/non-use /incorrect use – eg. unintended pregnancy, STDs, impact on maternal health, poor quality of child care and economic pressures.

  • Help men zoom into the linkage of an unintended pregnancy and the economic pressures of providing for a family, and the subsequent impact on their finances and quality of life.

  • Encouraging men to think of alternative ways of relationships, where they can share their burdens with their partners – What does such a relationship look like?​

    • The potential financial risks of traditional method failures.​

    • Non-use of any method.

    • Collaborative decision-making and its impact.

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Research

Norms and beliefs around masculinity link it closely to virility, which has also contributed to the notion that having several children proves men’s ‘manhood’ and using a FP method is seen as compromising it . There is, however, an omission of the complementary narrative around the burdens of being a provider for an expanding family resulting from their need to prove sexual prowess and procreational ability. This is a behaviour that is both expected and encouraged by the community. Given this dual pressure, men either tend to shift blame and responsibility to women or go through major psychological stress of feeling helpless, which is sometimes manifested through verbal and physical violence on their partners as well as self-abuse in many ways.

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Key Design Decisions

The burdens of providing for an expanding family need to be highlighted and reiterated in various ways. One of the ways to do this is in the language of aspirations and finances. If men and women both could be shown how much each additional child would impact them financially, it could help them become aware of the consequences of their focus on procreating and share these with their partners as well. Additionally, they need to be provided with ways to seek advice and help on topics that they have a limited understanding of like parenting and planning for their personal and relationship aspirations, etc.

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Digital Concept

Creating online forums and chat groups on WhatsApp for young fathers and newly married men wherein they can engage with experienced parents and topical experts (from the community or someone who the implementing partners get). These forums will possibly use AI chatbots in order to steer discussions towards relevant topics around fatherhood, childcare and aspirational planning for offsprings (which will include messaging on FP).

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Physical Concept

A Young Fathers program that aids men through their journey of fatherhood with necessary information , using the digital tools, and fostering long term planning to meet their aspirations for their children and themselves. Young Father's Meet can be a point for dissemination of knowledge and serve as a touchpoint for HSAs.

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Assumptions

  • Digital 

    • Men possess a smartphone and have the requisite skills to access the digital platform online.

    • Men possess the intent to seek advice on fatherhood.

    • Men have the requisite time available to access and use the platform.

    • Volunteers from the community are interested in participating and leading an event of this kind.

    • Volunteers have received training and are adept at using the digital platform.

    • Men will be comfortable sharing about their financial woes with other peers in the community.

 

  • Non-digital

    • Community buy-in to hold such an event for young men and fathers is available and is considered relevant. There’s adequate space for men to gather in large numbers. It is also important to specify these group sizes, anything more than 20-30 may not have the desired impact.
    • Men possess the intent to seek advice on fatherhood.

    • Men have the requisite time available to engage in the meet.

    • Volunteers from the community are interested in participating and leading an event of this kind.

    • Volunteers have received training and are adept at moderating such events.

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Risks

  • With increased involvement of men in reimagining their roles as fathers and being better fathers, women might be faced with increased scrutiny in raising their children.It can be addressed through displaying what an involved father looks like  and listing the do’s and don’t of it clearly.

  • Men may feel a loss of power and there may be backlash and more control.

  • In terms of friends and family- the taunts and peer pressure might result in reverse behavior. Each of these challenges can be addressed through our content, with strong focus on gender norms , how they operate and how they can be responded to.

  • With men becoming increasingly aware of the financial burden of unplanned pregnancies, it may reinforce the burden on women and put them in undue duress to curtail expenditures.

  • Men may find it difficult to counter the popular perception that money can be  garnered once the child is born, going with the popular belief that more children are seen as more earning hands, especially in a joint family setup.

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Potential

Contextually Sensitive

The concept will provide a space for men to gather and voice their opinions, fears and doubts. As observed on the field, men did find outlets for their inner inhibitions which were largely unhealthy or even violent in some instances. An acute need for such a platform in the community came up, while there were informal spaces like chai-shops and paan shops where men got together to listen to cricket commentary or for casual discussion, there was no platform that addressed their need to share and find a resolution. This Young Fathers’ Meet allows men to open up, discuss their problems and help one another in a healthy manner and create a safe space where men could release themselves of the masculine roles that they embody. 

In community settings in contexts, like that of India, a lot of relationships exist within the community and opening up on financial plans and otherwise as well may not come organically, hence efforts need to be made to co-create such places.


Gender Transformative

The concept will encourage men to take equal and shared responsibility along with women to look at fatherhood in a holistic manner and not just as the ability to provide. It will also encourage men to share and communicate with their women partners as well as other peers in the community, providing them a chance to unlearn some of their own beliefs and learn from others. With increased involvement of men, it may also relieve young mothers of their burden allowing them to think of their own individual aspirations, outside their maternal roles


Couple Empowering
The Young Fathers’ Meet will engage men to view their marriage as a partnership leading to a family of their own, thus encouraging them to prioritise their wife and children and themselves as well, not only in the sense of providing for them but sharing their responsibilities, thoughts with them. This will be especially useful in families wherein men are expected to live their life in accordance with the elders of the household, which often neglects or puts the woman at risk.

This concept will be couple empowering when men and women, both together as a unit consider parenthood as a shared activity with fluid gender roles with men and women both being involved in child rearing, providing etc. while not compromising on their individual and couple aspirations as well.

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ID 1

ID 1: Enable Couples to Achieve their Forward Thinking Aspirations

ID 1
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ID 4

ID 4:Visualize Conflict Between the Masculine Roles of Procreator and Provider for Men

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ID 5

ID 5: Provide Men with Options to Course Correct Life Trajectories