Engaging men to promote resilient communities among Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Engaging Men programmes seek to challenge the social norms, attitudes and practices that increase the risk of gender-based violence against girls and women while also harnessing positive male power to prevent violence and promote safety. This paper examines the impact of an Engaging Men intervention that engaged 1028 Syrian refugee and 440 Lebanese men in a 12-week training course structure. There were four core objectives: promoting peaceful interactions with others, reducing violence and gender-based violence, child protection and caregiving, and increasing community safety and harmony through a community project. Focus group discussions were conducted with 130 men, 28 wives, and 17 children of male participants, 10 family visits and 20 individual interviews by peer researchers.The findings were that programmes facilitated a safe emotional space for men to meet collectively to talk about their problems, to become more attuned and reflective about their relationships with their wives and children, which resulted in improved patterns of interaction and communication, increased openness and greater tolerance by men of changing gender roles in families as a result of displacement.The discussion calls for greater integration of psychosocial programming with other forms of programming from livelihoods to political advocacy and that programmes incorporate clear guidance on perpetrator accountability.
Key implications for practice


  • An intervention engaging with 1500 Syrian and Lebanese men reduced stress and improved family relations. Changes to gender-equitable attitudes were less clear.
  • Interventions to engage refugee men should address refugee men's psychosocial needs in addition to viewing men's engagement as a means to protecting women and children.
  • Findings highlight the importance of clearly defining the focus, aims and scope of interventions engaging with men, and that programmes incorporate clear guidance on perpetrator accountability.
Angela Veale, Fiona Shanahan, Alaa Hijazi & Zeina Osman | 2020
In: Intervention, the Journal of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas ; ISSN : 1571-8883 | 18 | 1 | January-June | 52-60
Open Access
Children, Community, Community Resilience, Females, Lebanese, Psychosocial support, Refugees, Resilience, Syrians, Violence