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Winning hearts and minds through COVID-19

Matt Tyler, Executive Director of The Men’s Project

Like many of our programs, The Men’s Project was forced to change the way it worked to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020. It successfully adapted its Unpacking the Man Box sessions for online audiences, delivering training to over 1,700 teachers and students in over 250 schools, while also partnering with two councils to deliver its Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE) training.

Matt Tyler, Executive Director of The Men’s Project, recognises that while the move online has presented challenges, it has also created opportunities. “If COVID hadn’t occurred, we wouldn’t have had the reach we have now because we would have been in the mentality of going out to venues to deliver training. When presenting online, we can’t achieve the depth of engagement we can when presenting face-to-face, so while we have focused on awareness building rather than more intensive skill building work, we have seen a significant increase in our reach.”

The impact of the MoRE and Unpacking the Man Box training is shown by a teacher’s feedback, who noted, “I can model a more positive sense of masculinity more often and I’m now encouraging kids to call out poor behaviour so that it becomes normal for them to do this.”

Raising the capacity of the whole community to identify and challenge unhealthy masculinity is a key goal of the training delivered by The Men’s Project. Matt says, “This is a community initiative. If each person who came across a boy using Man Box behaviours nudged them a small way, our boys and men would be more equipped to show up as their best selves, leading to safer communities as well as improved well-being for men and boys themselves.”