Empowering Men to Engage and Redefine Gender Equality (EMERGE) - CARE
FIGHT COVID-19: Families already in crisis are now threatened by COVID-19. Donate now to provide hand washing stations and hygiene kits to help save lives >>


To shift social norms and support men and boys as allies for gender equality, so as to advance respect for women and reject violence in their families and the broader community.


EMERGE worked to shift social norms and support men and boys as allies for gender equality, so as to advance respect for women and reject violence in their families and in the broader community. To do this, CARE worked at multiple levels: At the household level, CARE worked with married couples to strengthen healthy communication, reject violence against women, and promote gender equality in households.


At the community level, the project hosted village-level forums to discuss issues of gender-based violence (GBV). EMERGE also supported male change agents at the village level to act as peer educators around issues of GBV and toxic masculinity.

At the district level, the project worked with local government to address broader structural concerns around gender inequality. And at a national level, EMERGE undertook a research study (Broadening Gender: Why Masculinities Matter) in collaboration with Partners for Prevention in four districts of Sri Lanka, focusing on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices around GBV. It was one of the largest studies of its kind in the country.

Following EMERGE, CARE began a new phase of work with selected communities in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations under the RENEW Project (Redefining Norms to Empower Women), with the goals of challenging social norms relating to masculinity and intimate partner violence and promoting gender-equal norms through media campaigns, school-based interventions, and community influencers.

Youth participants reported having a better understanding and awareness about gender roles

Male youth mentioned changing their behavior at home and helping with housework

Program achievements

  • EMERGE made gains at multiple levels – household, community, district, and national, where it engaged in advocacy efforts around issues of gender equality and gender-based violence (GBV).
  • Youth who participated in EMERGE reported having a better understanding and awareness about gender and gender roles and the need to work together to combat violence against women. Male youth mentioned changing their behavior at home, helping with housework and other activities that they normally would not, and accepting their roles as men in affecting the lives of women.
  • The project’s final evaluation studied EMERGE in the broader context of other work carried out around women’s rights in Sri Lanka. This evaluation uncovered key insights into successfully engaging with men and boys on the issue of GBV, and recommended that future projects:
    •  Engage with a critical framework of masculinities, as outlined in Broadening Gender: Why Masculinities Matter.
    • Provide ongoing trainings on masculinities as a continuous process with partners at all levels of engagement.
    • Design tools to measure behavioral change within households that would provide an evidence-based assessment of the outcomes of its change agent programs.

The importance of EMERGE

EMERGE was the first project of its kind in Sri Lanka. It engaged youth, established change agents, and engaged married couples on issues of gender and equity. Providing a space for men to engage, be involved, and understand the importance of their positive engagement allows for a better life for men and women, and also brings home the importance of inclusiveness in sustainable development.


EMERGE Final Evaluation

The purpose of this evaluation was to capture lessons learned and experiences of the EMERGE project over the past four years, especially given that it was a pilot project for CARE Sri Lanka.

Read the report on CARE Insights

Social Norms Change Resources

A list of policy briefs, videos, and other resources related to EMERGE and similar projects.

Read more on CARE Insights