In central Nigeria, inter-religious conflict between Muslim and Christian communities has led to violence, degraded social cohesion, and disrupted health service delivery. Research has shown that increased violence and high death rates fuel population growth which impede a nation’s efforts to meet social needs and hampers national development. Conflict at the inter-personal, family, and community level is driven in part by social and gender norms. Masculinities, Faith and Peace (MFP) seeks to challenge harmful social norms by elevating and reframing values inherent to local religious beliefs. Working with religious leaders and gender champions in the community, the MFP process promotes recognition of the dignity of fellow community members and women as equal and valuable members of society through faith-based reflection and dialogue on family planning (FP), gender equality, and conflict resolution. This gender transformative approach unpacks harmful notions of masculinity to build family and community resilience through inter-religious dialogue, reduce gender-based violence (GBV), and increase utilization of services for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. MFP will enable local communities across the faith divide to co-create pathways for the transformation of harmful social norms building on the learning and success of “Transforming Masculinities”, a tested approach in DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda. The team will evaluate MFP’s outcomes through a mixed methods study which will add to the body of knowledge on social normative interventions.
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