Call for applications! Sanitation, Men and Boys: Desk based review

The CLTS Knowledge Hub at IDS is seeking a consultant to to carry out a desk-based review on the topic of Sanitation, Men and Boys.

The purpose of this review is to explore the other side of gender – men and boys, in sanitation and hygiene. Whilst discussions around gender in WASH (and elsewhere) often focus on the roles, positions or impacts on women and girls, we are curious to explore how men and boys are/are not engaged in efforts to improve sanitation and change social norms, and how they can or need to be targeted to make efforts more successful. Only when women and men are equally and meaningfully involved in sanitation and hygiene programs, can they result in positive lasting change.

Our main aims for this review are to:
a) Explore how men and boys can be more meaningfully engaged in the WASH process to achieve sustainable behaviour change and a new social norm.
b) See what specific approaches and methods may be needed and are being used in different contexts to stop men and boys from practicing OD.
c) Gain a deeper understanding of power dynamics, relationships and roles and responsibilities within households and communities when it comes to sanitation and hygiene, and how these impact on long term sustainability.

We have conducted an initial brainstorm to map out some of the issues that may be interesting to explore, such as:


  • Decision-making and power within the household and control over resources/finance.
  • Power dynamics within a community and how it impacts on WASH, sustainability, the involvement of all community members etc. Exploration of visible power such as the power of chiefs and leaders (who are often men), but also the power of traditions, beliefs regarding acceptable roles and responsibilities of men and women.
  • How can we motivate/encourage/harness men in peer to peer efforts to stop gender-based violence in the context of sanitation?
  • How do class, social group, ethnicity, race and age (among other things) impact on the ability and willingness of men and boys to engage in processes relating to improved sanitation?  Can processes aimed at improving sanitation result in compounding disadvantage and discrimination, or power and privilege?

Roles and responsibilities

  • Roles related to physical labour, maintenance, cleaning.
  • Men’s attitudes towards women in terms of protection and safety but also regarding roles in the household.
  • Water carrying done by women – do men then use more because they don’t have to carry it? (in Asia).
  • Cultural ideas about men and boys: i.e. men go outside, men don’t shit.
  • How do gender roles challenge or reinforce existing norms and inequalities?

Open defecation

  • Men working away from home (in relation to a lack of toilets).
  • Men: ease of going in the open because of ease of urinating – maybe OD follows on.
  • Also because of the above, insensitivity of men to women’s needs.

Campaigns targeting men or male sanitation behaviour

  • Campaigns focused on women but aimed at men: e.g. no toilet no bride; campaigns stressing women’s dignity. Do they reinforce existing patriarchal norms and stereotypes?

Engagement in the WASH process and programmes

  • Engagement in menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
  • What to do in relation to targeting men and boys? How to target them, separately and together with women and girls, creating opportunities for exchange and collaboration?
  • What are programmes with a gender component doing about men and boys? (or does most of it just focus on women?)
  • Is there anything specific in relation to men and handwashing that is often overlooked? (in terms of times recommended for handwashing many relate to traditional women’s roles i.e. after wiping a child’s bum, before cooking etc).
  • What are the different needs at each stage of a man’s life (e.g. child, adolescent, man, elderly man) and how can these needs be met within WASH programming? In these stages, are there differences between e.g. old men and old women?

What the review will look like

We are seeking someone to carry out a desk-based review on this critical topic and find out what evidence and information is currently available, and what further research is necessary. The consultant will interview people working in different organisations in Africa, Asia and South East Asia, and find documentation relating to the above subject matter: experiences, knowledge, challenges, specific activities/campaigns etc aimed at men, angles and considerations in addition to the above. We hope that the initial review will lead to an in-depth publication, e.g. an issue of Frontiers of CLTS and be a starting point for discussing practical guidance for programmes. The successful applicant will also be a speaker in a webinar to further publicise the results.

We envisage this being approximately 10 days’ work, split between desk-based research, interviewing key stakeholders (by phone and/or email), analysis and writing up. The precise focus, structure and scale will be agreed upon with the Hub after the applicant has been selected, through face-to-face or skype meetings and follow up emails. The first stage will involve a 2-3 day process of research and evaluating what information on the subject is currently available, and subsequently assessing with the Hub whether it is sufficient to warrant proceeding to further stages. Initial outlines and drafts will be shared with the Hub for comment throughout the process.

Application details

We warmly welcome applications for this review, please send a 1-2 page application outlining how you envisage carrying out this study, your relevant experience, plus your CV and daily rates to

Deadline for applications: 31 January 2018
Deadline for final review: approx. end-April 2018

Date: 4 January 2018