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ID 5

Men are unable 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. In the aftermath of having had unprotected sex, men face the high likelihood of providing for a growing family. After a certain point, a family may grow larger than the man’s ability to sustainably  provide for them and in turn pushes the family into a financial crisis. This leaves men grappling in a vicious circle, the exit to which remains unknown to them till later stages of their lives. The desire to gain control over one’s life trajectory and choices and course correct their life trajectories, if required however, grows in them but fewer avenues remain as time goes by.

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Key Design Challenges

  • Couples stuck within the experimentation cycle, facing health & financial risks need to be provided with options and tools to gain control over their lives leading to the effective adoption of an appropriate contraceptive method. 

  • Initiating discussions b/w partners to plan their future and if required, address the consequences of failures and actively seek corrective recourse.

  • Encouraging informed, collaborative decision making so as to avoid repeating the same patterns of failure.

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Research

The pressure to provide for the family is placed on men from a very young age. The burden of shouldering these responsibilities is further aggravated by the fact that they are married off just as they are on the threshold of adulthood. This leads several of them to abandon their education in lieu of pursuing income opportunities in urban areas. As migrants with very limited resources and opportunities to improve their financial conditions significantly, they are faced with feelings of helplessness early on in their lives. In our primary research, men of varying age-groups, especially older men, spoke of how in retrospect how they wished that they could change a few decisions they took earlier in life, relating to the age of marriage, when and how many children to have. This could make a workable entry-point for altering life trajectories and also bringing in family planning within the purview.

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Key Design Decisions

For those who feel trapped by circumstances that they had no control over, avenues to seek recourse needed to be provided to combat their sense of helplessness. This has to operate at the levels of addressing their immediate needs (finances, health and wellbeing) as well as root causes that have led them to their current state (limited knowledge about FP, lack of education, etc.). The design needs to operate at both these levels so that men can make informed choices to ensure that the same cycle is not perpetuated in their future especially who have one child and want to space their subsequent children.

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Digital Concept

A digital tool that allows men to visualize and plan for distress life circumstances, pertaining to both their finances and health, and provide mitigation pathways. The pathways could include ways to improve their finances (vocational training courses, job openings, etc.) and seeking medical recourse through recommended avenues, along with available schemes to take support of. It will primarily be used to create a course correction plan to follow through upon.

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Physical Concept

A life trajectory mapping exercise facilitated by HSAs (possibly gamified) that leads to a tangible artefact that men can keep with themselves. It serves as a guide to get out of their current circumstances, and the recommended avenues to be availed. All pertinent information regarding available policies, health facilities, and training courses can be provided behind the created artefact.

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Assumptions

  • Digital

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

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

    • Men possess the intent to actively take up and follow through on opportunities.

    • Men possess basic reading skills in the regional language.

  • Non-digital

    • Men have sufficient time available to attend the event.

    • Men possess the intent to pursue advice/resources provided.

    • Men possess basic reading skills in the regional language (for info leaflet).

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

    • Men and HSAs have a rapport and are comfortable talking to each other their deepest concerns and plans of future.

    • The activities and familiar games are able to trigger life planning/mapping thinking in men and they are able to contemplate on it.

    • The activities also initiate communication about shared life plans with their women partners and encourage collaborative decision-making on life plans.

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Risks

  • The active pursuit of fulfilling their own aspirations by men may put undue pressure on women to earn an income or limit their own aspirations and make do with limited resources.

  • Carrying out this ID only with men may keep the women out of the thinking and plans that men may have and leave them with a feeling of isolation and alienation, also possible that it may reinforce gender divide in terms of decision-making, that is, men sounding their own thinking and talking about it.

  • With encouraging men to re-imagine their role as a provider can put them in a flux and needs to be conducted with sensitization that does not result in added pressure for men or any backlash for women.

  • If the men are not counselled adequately, they might ridicule their wives on the basis of their new found accomplishments, leading to plausible violence.

  • If the app doesn’t link to tangible opportunities in the form of courses, jobs or portals the options may seem utopian and unreachable and men may lose interest.

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Potential

Contextually Sensitive
The concept to an extent is contextualized in terms of what the men would require to plan for, considering it differs. Efforts to make it more comfortable and something that resonates with them will be critical. Finances are an emotional point for men as not being able to provide puts them in a compromised mind-frame, assisting them to navigate these feelings is essential. Currently, there is a large gap between knowledge of opportunities and access to opportunities. This concept has the potential to bridge this gap by creating a physical support group and supplementing it with tangible outcomes that can be pursued by the user group.


Gender Transformative
Unemployed men are often shamed for failing at being adequate providers which in return manifests as toxic behaviours being exhibited by them. This concept will reduce the risk of toxic behaviours by accepting unforeseen circumstances and initiate preparation for providing healthy support and routes out of difficult predicaments, hence reducing the man’s burden of being an ideal provider throughout their life trajectories.


Couple Empowering
Opening up about the dilemmas and allowing men to healthily process their own emotions, may also pave way for them to comfortably discuss these aspects with their partners as well. It will enable them to be an available and involved husband and father, hence strengthening the couple and paving the way for healthy nurturance of their children.

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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