238516 Changing gender norms of Kenyan Scouts: Baseline findings

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM

Tom Omurwa , Kenya Program Office, PATH, Nairobi 00508, Kenya
Julie Pulerwitz, ScD , PATH, Washington, DC
Jennifer Arney, MPH , HIV/TB Global Program, PATH, Washington, DC, DC
Lisa Mueller, MA , HIV/TB Global Program, PATH, Washington, DC
PATH and Kenya Scouts Association are conducting operations research to address gender inequities and HIV/violence risk with boy and girl scouts in Kenya's Coast province.

Evidence suggests inequitable gender norms negatively influence health-related behaviors and perpetuate gender-based violence. In Kenya, children are socialized to tolerate GBV.

Trained scout leaders facilitate activities to help scouts think about gender issues to earn gender badges. The baseline questionnaire was administered to scouts at least 14 years old in 59 secondary schools in Mombasa and Kwale districts. Surveys were completed by 1,357 scouts (888 boys, 469 girls) ages 14-20. Data entry was done in Epi Info and analyzed with SPSS.

Although scouts reported positive attitudes toward many equitable gender norms, some inequitable norms were supported. For example, many supported the statement (84.1% boys, 77.8% girls), “It disgusts me when I see a man acting like a woman.” Nearly 1/3 of scouts agreed “There are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.” Overall, 91.1% of boys had witnessed some form of GBV in the prior six months. One in ten boys surveyed reported they had physically harassed girls weekly within the past six months. About 75% of girls had experienced some form of GBV in past six months.

Baseline findings reinforced need to promote equitable gender norms among scouts, and guided emphasis to specific areas, e.g., activities to decrease violence and harassment.

The findings from the end line (in progress) will inform future efforts to improve gender norms or to strengthen gender-related health programs.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the findings from an operations research project on changing harmful gender norms and decreasing HIV and violence risk among Kenyan boy and girl scouts.

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Adolescents, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I provide programmatic support for the project through the HIV/TB global program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.