Gender and development People

Posted 19 October 1999

TSS thematic workshop on Male Involvement in sexual and reproductive health programmes and services

Rome, Italy
9-13 November 1998
Reported by Françoise Ghorayeb (FAO, main rapporteur), Marcela Villarreal (FAO) and Malika Ladjali (WHO)

The idea of involving men in the traditionally female-oriented reproductive health activities is not new. However, relatively few activities have been actually carried out in this domain in spite of the importance of these to advance towards gender equality and to improve both men's and women's reproductive health. With this in mind, the Technical Support Services (TSS) System of the UNFPA and participating UN Agencies decided to undertake a seminar on male involvement in reproductive health, focusing on the operational as well as conceptual aspects from a multi-disciplinary, inter-agency perspective.

Objectives of the workshop

The general objective of the workshop was to identify ways of operationalizing Male Involvement (MI) in sexual and reproductive health in UNFPA programmes. The specific objectives were to: review existing evidence on MI programmes and appraise their implications on gender equity, equality and the empowerment of women, to use regional-specific research findings from Country Support Team (CST) field experience, draw lessons learned and come up with concrete recommendations for MI, address conceptual and methodological issues of MI and their operational implications, and finally assess socio-cultural research and information, education and communication needs to improve MI programmes and services.

The workshop was jointly organised by FAO and WHO with the close support of UNFPA. It was inaugurated by Ms. Sissel Ekaas, Director Women and Population Division of the Sustainable Development of FAO, Ms. Diane Langston, Manager, NGO Theme Group, UNFPA

Technical & Policy Division, and Dr. Malika Ladjali, TSS - WHO. The speakers underlined the importance of the subject regarding the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its implementation and the importance of developing inter-agency approaches to tackle it appropriately throughout all the levels of the TSS system.

Background Paper

The idea to do collaborative work on male involvement in reproductive health originated in a CST Bangkok internal seminar that was attended by two FAO TSS specialists. It was identified and later adopted as a system-wide priority issue. A joint TSS-CST drafting committee produced a first draft of the inter-agency paper "Male involvement in reproductive health: Incorporating gender throughout the life cycle", which was broadly circulated for comments and inputs throughout the system. After these inputs were incorporated, the document was discussed between CST and TSS staff at the internal seminars of the CSTs of Addis Ababa, Harare and Katmandu in order to incorporate practical aspects from field experience. Several country programme managers and UNFPA Country Representatives participated in these seminars.

The CST-TSS paper on MI looks into the socio-cultural aspects that shape male perspectives, based on the socially-embedded gender relations in the different stages of the life cycle, and uses this knowledge to suggest ways to increase men's involvement in reproductive health issues and to improve services. Within this context, information, education and communication (IEC) and advocacy strategies are also suggested. Finally, some recommendations are given for helping UNFPA Country Programmes better address male involvement in reproductive health.

The emphasis on women in much of the gender literature has left male perspectives as the missing link to a true gender approach. Far from arguing that the focus should be only on men, the paper argues for the need to base strategies, be they oriented to men or to women, on the analysis of gender interactions and needs. The paper is meant to help strengthen a component of a broader and more comprehensive gender approach.


Session 1. The male side of gender throughout the life cycle

Jacques du Guerny, FAO
Malika Ladjali, WHO
Marcela Villarreal, FAO

Male Involvement in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH)

The workshop began with an overview of the conceptual and operational issues in MI in SRH. Different terms regarding male involvement were discussed. Responsibility, involvement, partnership and participation have different connotations and accordingly different programmatic implications (see annex). The consequences of the use of the term responsibility however depend on which perspective is used: legal, customary, human rights or gender equality. It also depends on the type of relationship the couples in question have: multiple, serial, simultaneous. These issues cannot be mapped and resolved easily. They are however core issues of social organization and justify a more thorough examination of MI.

The male side of gender throughout the life cycle

The workshop background document was presented, notably the problematic aspects of existing SRH programmes targeting males: first, male components are frequently limited to male methods of family planning, only one element of reproductive health. Second, they tend to address men only, as, in a similar way, the old programmes addressed women only without taking into account their gender relations. A focus on men only is as inadequate as a focus on women only because it fails to take into account the way in which many decisions are made and the context that influences them. Third, they tend to be grounded on a negative premise, men's irresponsibility, rather than a positive one of promotion of men's rights. Fourth, by viewing men as a route for women's well being they instrumentalize men and fail to address their own needs.

The reasons given for these problematic aspects included:

Lessons learnt

While it is commonly agreed that programmes that aim to improve both women's and men's reproductive health should incorporate men, it is important to keep in mind a potential danger for women: when not adequately focused, the result of such programmes may be the translation of the locus of control from women to men in reproductive health issues. The consequent loss of women's autonomy is in an area that is seen by many as one of the few in which women can effectively exercise decision-making.

When the aim of programmes is to improve the reproductive health of both women and men, better programmes have to develop concrete strategies to understand and incorporate the male perspective and male needs in the same way as attention is given to women's perspectives and needs. In order to avoid a shift in the locus of control, programmes should aim to incorporate adequate male involvement, not only more involvement. Thus programmes should be based on the understanding of gender dynamics, on how decisions are made and implemented, on the changing needs of both genders and their interaction. Much more needs to be known about the relations between men and women in the particular contexts where programmes will be set up in order to make an effective change. This knowledge will aid in the definition of what is meant by adequate involvement.

Among issues that merit consideration regarding the resources needed to cater to men's reproductive health needs: in the first place, the more services are set up based on an understanding of the underlying gender relations, the more they will benefit both women and men. When adequately set up, services for men will not only address their own needs, but will contribute to relieve women of one of their many burdens. Services for men are not necessarily expensive and do not compete with the already scanty resources available for women's services.


Session 2. Gender equity and equality

Carlos Laudari, UNFPA, CST Harare
Vineeta Rai, UNIFEM, CST Katmandu
Diana Lima-Handem, UNIFEM, CST Dakar

Gender equity and equality

This session addressed the conceptual issues related to promoting gender equity and equality through male involvement using examples from the Harare, Katmandu and Dakar Country Support Teams.

The concepts of gender, gender equity, gender equality and male involvement were discussed. Two different dimensions of male involvement were mentioned: accessibility to services and participation in decision making. The traditional exclusion of men from FP/RH services and the taboo of talking about sexuality had to undergo changes with the arrival of HIV-AIDS and the need to address sexuality and condom use. Condoms, which were formerly seen as 'low-class contraceptives', have now gained recognition as "life-savers".

The need to discuss male sexuality was brought up, given that it is not often discussed, not even in RH/male involvement programmes. Some studies were quoted which showed that many men in various countries have sexual problems. These problems are, however, seldom addressed or attended to, even when the men go to health clinics.

An overview of the disadvantaged position of women, especially in South Asia was presented: lower life expectancy; high maternal mortality; limited reproductive rights; high TFR; large number of women 'missing'. Reference was made to the ICPD-POA, which stresses men's role for bringing about gender equality.

Several issues were raised in relation to male involvement interventions. The issue of how to deal with men in positions of power without further strengthening the power imbalance was raised. The strong focus on women in past population/FP programmes left men out. Women were the primary targets of education programmes, as they were perceived to be the ones in charge of fertility behavior. Later, a reversal of the trend was noted as men, perceived as the primary gate keepers to women's use of health services, and in their role of community leaders were targeted. Some of these programmes have resulted in further strengthening the dominant position of men and reinforced the image of women as dependent actors. In these cases, programmes can have the effect of further strengthening gender inequality. Furthermore, the need to look into male reactions, notably the violent ones, in the context of women empowerment programmes was noted.

Lessons learnt

Recommendations


Session 3. Conceptual frameworks and data

Meg Greene, Gender health, USA, Consultant
André Mayouya, ECA, CST Dakar

This session analyzed the historical and intellectual influences on the policies and research that have given rise to current reproductive health interventions, and brought to light the assumptions that have structured many programmes. The risks of efforts to increase male involvement that do not take into account their potential impact on gender relations were again highlighted. The presentation had a critical take on programmes that enforced gender inequities by making use of men's greater power in an effort to increase contraceptive prevalence.

The presentation concluded with several recommendations:

Data on MI

The second part of the session focused on the lessons learnt on data collection regarding MI based on experience in the African region where data comes from two main sources: WFS (World Fertility Survey) and DHS (Demographic and Health Survey). Additionally, there are data from socio-cultural and operational research and from situation analysis surveys.

Lessons learnt

Recommendations


Session 4. Cultural specificity of Male Involvement

Cultural specificity of needs and strategies for MI
An example: FGM from a male perspective
Construction of masculinities
Setting up and using research findings to improve MI programmes

Françoise Ghorayeb, FAO, CST Amman
Malika Ladjali, WHO
Marcela Villarreal, FAO
Janet Edmondson, FAO, CST Bangkok

The cultural specificity of men's needs regarding reproductive and sexual health has been neglected in the conceptualization and formulation of SRH programmes. Recognizing needs as culturally bound is the basis for formulating a sound strategy.

The first part of this session addressed the cultural specificity of needs and strategies for MI using FGM as an example. General awareness of the FGM problem has increased considerably and plans for eradication exist in many different places. Considerable financial resources are forthcoming for FGM research, including research in communities where FGM has disappeared. However, male involvement remains elusive and there is a dire need for practical recommendations on how to involve men in the eradication of FGM.

The historical aspects and origins of FGM were discussed pointing to the causal complexity, social control mechanisms and economic interests of those performing FGM and their vested interests in the perpetuation of the practice. As long as there is a demand side represented by the culture and a supply side represented by the economic gains of the health professionals who perform the operation, behaviour change will be slow. Successful examples taking supply factors into account were given, notably an example about an intervention in Burkina Faso. Introduction of legislation has been apparently successful in Burkina Faso and Uganda, but less so in Sudan.

Gender relations should be understood prior to formulating strategies to involve men in RSH. FGM examples illustrate the lack of understanding of male's role in FGM and the contradictory statements given in surveys. A better understanding of gender relations could shed light on the dynamics surrounding decision making regarding FGM and generate hypotheses as to the reasons behind the perpetuation of the practice.

The male side of gender and notably the construction of masculinity were addressed in the second part of the session, as they are topics that remain poorly developed, given the female focus in the gender literature. Men's studies exist now but little is known regarding the relation between the construction of masculinity and sexual and reproductive health. In spite of the many parallels with the construction of the female side of gender, the construction of masculinity has specificities that have many implications for sexual and reproductive health of both men and women.

The programmatic challenge is how to reconcile the male model that rests on domination with the improvement of sexual and reproductive health, which requires gender equality. Socio-cultural research is needed to understand the process of male identity formation in specific contexts so that appropriate IEC/advocacy strategies can be developed. Such programmes could provide a cost-effective way of addressing crucial gender issues. Examples of such programmes include amongst others, constructing alternative models of masculinity, whereby virility is promoted by the exercise of more egalitarian, caring and sharing relations, promoting positive masculinity traits and addressing adolescent boys. Furthermore, men's specific needs in counselling need to be identified and addressed in a gender-sensitive way.

In the final part of the session, the dilemma of executing quality research within time constraints e.g. is the rapid research approach adequate for in-depth exploration of individual behaviour, was discussed. The problem of timing of socio-cultural research in the UNFPA programme-cycle and ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach was raised.

A framework for addressing MI in RH being currently applied in four countries in Asia was presented and discussed.

Recommendations


Session 5. Male involvement: Regional specificities

Research findings for male involvement in Africa and Asia
Horacio Toro, WHO, CST Santiago
Miriam Jato, UNIFEM, CST Addis Ababa
Soulimane Baro, FAO, CST Dakar

Presentations of UNFPA funded projects in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Paraguay described projects targeting men in the military. The expected outcomes of these activities included reduction of violence against women through an enhanced awareness and responsibility of males in RH.

In Ecuador, the focus was on educating military officers, soldiers in compulsory military service, and cadets in military schools. Four stages were adopted - selection of one high school and one military unit; training of officers, teachers and student leaders including preparation of materials; training of soldiers and students; and extension of training to more high schools, military units, and the provision of services.

In Nicaragua, the targets were military officers, soldiers, women employees and family members, and policemen. Activities included materials development, training on RH including sex education, STD/HIV/AIDS; prevention of violence; and development of national programmes with continuous training of officers and soldiers.

In Paraguay, the targets were the military and police. Activities included the preparation of training materials, training on RH and provision of RH services including family planning.

Experiences from East Africa focused on the construction of masculinity throughout the life cycle including differences in socialisation patterns, initiation rites, adulthood, and old age. Implications for programming, notably research programming were discussed. The cultural specificity of East Africa with practices such as early marriage, circumcision and surrogate husbands require specific MI strategies that address the couple and relies on a life cycle approach that reinforces positive cultural practices in the context of male involvement.

Experience in East Africa

The construction of masculinity is not homogeneous in the different parts of the region and varies throughout life cycle. Some of the highlights brought up in the paper:

Adolescence is short in many settings and frequently ends with initiation rites including endurance tests.

Marriage and having children are essential for men to be considered "real men" and unmarried men are not considered adults.

Men are never considered infertile, for it is the woman who is assumed to be barren when a couple does not have children.

In old age, masculinity and virility are reaffirmed by having children, frequently with much younger women.

Valued characteristics of men include: being a risk taker, fierce competitor including for women, competent sexual partner, husband, father, decision maker and effective provider.

Cultural barriers to MI: Experiences from West Africa

The presentation stressed the difficulties that programmes tackling issues related to the RH of men face; these difficulties are related to the culture bound interpretations and meanings of RH related symptoms and diseases. In some social groups, the first STD related symptom a boy might have is positively interpreted as a sign of sexual activity and a reflection of virility. In the same vein, a pregnancy caused by an adolescent boy is evidence of his reproductive and sexual performance. Early marriage and early pregnancy are encouraged because they insure the survival of the lineage. Concerning male infertility, examples were given of strategies designed to enable women to procreate outside their matrimonial relationships, which reflects the overriding importance of reproduction. Thus, sterility is not considered to be a problem for men since the line can be continued through other relatives. The value of children varies greatly among different groups. A general strategy is the community based distribution of contraceptives that could be re-visited to progressively integrate other RH services, including elimination of FGM and tailored to local cultures.

These examples show the culture bound aspect of disease and illness perceptions and interpretations, the corresponding health care itineraries, and the implication on men's SRH.

Lessons learnt

Recommendations


Session 6. Men as partners: Research, services and lessons learned

Jeanne Haws and Mary Nell Wegner, AVSC
Denise Roth, HRP/WHO
Gabriel Ojeda, PROFAMILIA

Men as Partners Initiative

AVSC International gave an overview of their Program entitled Men as Partners (MAP), developed during the past four years and building upon the organisation's 50 years of experience in providing family planning services for men. The programme's goals are to: increase men's awareness of and support for their partners' reproductive health choices as well as their awareness of the need to safeguard reproductive health, especially through the prevention of STDs; increase the use of contraceptive methods that require the participation of men; and improve men's access to comprehensive reproductive health services.

Main lessons learned from their experience include:

Community based strategies to involve men in maternal health

Ten years after the launching of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, maternal mortality is still very high in developing countries and the gap between developed vs. developing countries is widening. The role of men in the reduction of maternal mortality was discussed and the following strategies were presented: In the short run, men could be involved effectively in finding a solution to the three main factors of maternal death: 1) the delay in decision-making to refer the patients to the appropriate health facility where proper actions (treatment) could be taken; 2) lack of a system for emergency transport to ensure that women who experience obstetric complications will receive timely treatment; and 3) delay in receiving treatment within the health care facility which is, sometimes, related to covering the costs associated to such emergencies. In the long run, the strategy should take into account such non bio-medical aspects of maternal mortality as socio-economic, environmental and socio-cultural.

Amongst the lessons learnt are:

AVSC's work in Ghana is an example of using several tools: advocacy, research, and training, to achieve the goal of initiating and integrating male involvement programmes. A team from Ghana held focus groups with men, women, and service providers in select communities where information and services for men were to be initiated, and were designed to elicit from the participants what the community members wanted in terms of services for men.

It turned out that among men's biggest concerns are sexual performance and impotence. Thus, when Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana decided to initiate services for men at their clinic in Accra three days a week, they "marketed" the men's clinic as providing assistance on "impotence, infertility, and premature ejaculation". AVSC went to Accra and held training for providers in several aspects of working with men, including communicating with men about issues of sexuality.

Country experience in Male Involvement: Profamilia in Colombia

Profamilia is a private, non profit association that seeks to ensure the expansion/provision of Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Colombia. It provides 70% of the country's FP services. It has 3 male only clinics and 27 male programs.

Male programs have three basic goals:

  1. To offer sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning.
  2. To provide a range of self-sustainable health services.
  3. To involve both men and women in sexual and reproductive health, without forgetting the fundamental rights of women.

Lessons learned


Session 7. IEC/Advocacy to improve Male Involvement in SRH

Marilyn Rice, WHO
Catherine Hein, ILO

Effectively addressing Male Involvement in SRH

The presentations focused on advocacy and IEC strategies to reach policy and decision-makers as well as men themselves taking into account the socio-cultural context.

An overview of the three components of a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (behaviour) KA(B)P communication model (Advocacy-IEC-Service Delivery) was presented.

Two issues were subsequently highlighted, namely: what should the priorities in SRH programming of scarce resources be in light of gender equity? And based on an analysis of the behavioural and contextual causes of the problem, what are the objectives for involving men in terms of advocacy, IEC and service delivery?

The second presentation tackled the non-formal educational programmes in the labour sector where men often predominate. Some of the issues highlighted include the following:

Strategies and approaches

Regarding the issue of approaching policy/decision-makers, including men themselves, the following advocacy and IEC strategies were identified:

Recommendations


Session 8. Male Involvement in SRH in ICPD + 5 Activities

Diane Lee Langston UNFPA
Vineeta Rai, UNIFEM, CST Katmandu

The results of three roundtable discussions and four technical meetings undertaken to advance toward the implementation of the Plan of Action of the ICPD (POA), were presented. Crosscutting issues discussed included women's empowerment, changing male reproductive behaviour and gender violence. Highlights of the conclusions were that change in male behaviour was necessary for the empowerment of women and that reduction of STDs requires not only services but also changes in gender roles.

Such behavioural change by men means adoption of responsible sexual and reproductive behaviour and their support for the right of women to make their own reproductive choices and their right to information and access to services. Furthermore, it was concluded that rather than being considered part of the problem, men should be considered part of the solution.

Given that gender issues and partner relations do not take place in a vacuum, it was stressed that the socio-cultural context needs to be taken into account to effectively address MI. It was noted for example, that the reduction of STDs and the associated consequences in health and social well being requires not only services but major changes in the most intimate aspects of human relationships, values and norms regarding gender roles and power imbalances between women and men. Service and communication campaigns must include sexuality and gender power issues.

Field office survey on Male Involvement

In a survey of more than 100 field offices regarding male involvement programmes carried out by UNFPA, the following results were obtained:

International Conference on Male Involvement in Baku

A report of this conference, which focused on the role of men in population and reproductive health programmes in Central Asia was presented. The objectives of the Conference were to improve understanding of gender related concepts, to increase awareness of male reproductive health needs, to integrate male involvement in different cultural contexts and to demonstrate the application of innovative cost-effective male involvement initiatives.

Some common issues which emerged were the need to focus on partnership between men and women, as it was noted that current programmes are women focused with limited information available on men's RH status and needs. In addition, the absence of test facilities for RH services for men and the lack of trained health providers for males as well as of IEC materials and financial resources was noted. The Conference stressed that there is a need to ensure that services for men do not take away from services for women.

Common proposals for action included reformulation of national RH policies to include RH services for men, training of service providers on RH for men, including counseling and actively involving NGOs, especially for IEC and sexuality education for young men.

Recommendations


Session 9. Adolescent boys: Special needs

G. Ogbaselassie, WHO, CST Addis Ababa
A. H. Joukhadar, UNESCO, CST Amman

The session started by discussing the definition of adolescence. One of the difficulties to define it arises from the fact that the nature and duration of the transition between childhood and adulthood depend on the socio-cultural context in which it takes place.

For boys, it is a formative period for the construction of masculinity and the basis for future relationships with women. Adolescence is also a time of sexual experimentation since in many cultures, boys, unlike girls, are expected to acquire sexual experience. There may be peer pressure on boys to have premarital sex. This may lead to casual or commercial sex with multiple partners, which can be very risky, particularly in this era of HIV/AIDS.

In the case of Africa, it was noted that social, economic and institutional changes (such as migration to the cities, civil conflicts, military service, unemployment and poverty) were putting strains on the family structure and its control on adolescents' behaviour.

In the case of the Middle East and Arab States, it was emphasised that sexual taboos were strong and that communication between parents and their children on sexual issues was poor. It was pointed out that services related to reproductive health were only for legally married couples (Tunisia being an exception): the unmarrieds only receive information. IEC is not always linked to service provision.

Both adolescent boys and girls have considerable needs for reliable information and secure, confidential services related to sex and sexuality but the specific needs of boys and girls are very different. There is a tendency for programmes for adolescents to neglect adolescent boys and their needs, although the devastating effect of AIDS in some countries has led to a new attention to boys. In some countries, it has been found that the problem for boys is not so much lack of knowledge but lack of behavioural change based on this knowledge.

It was noted that the few programmes that exist for youth tend to be small in scale, reaching a very limited population and led by NGOs.

Various problems were mentioned regarding sexual education at school:

Adequate information was considered crucial for adolescents. There was considerable discussion of the role of parents in communicating with their children regarding sex and of the need to devise appropriate strategies to improve it. Additionally, the role of peers in transmitting information and in education efforts was viewed as very effective and strategic.

As concerns programmes for adolescents, a major shortcoming was the lack of "real" participation in programme design and implementation, their participation too frequently being only symbolic.

Recommendations

Working groups took place during two afternoons where issues were debated around topics outlined above. The recommendations of the group work were presented and discussed during the plenary session. Recommendations were included with the final recommendations.


Session 10. Final recommendations

General recommendations

Recommendations for UNFPA Country Offices

Recommendations for CSTs

Recommendations for TSS Specialists

Recommendations for DONORS and UNFPA


Annex:
Why select "involvement"? Some origins of words considered [1]

It is well known that words are not neutral and carry with them values due to their history and relationships to other words. Feminists have consistently highlighted the importance of the choice of terms. What would be the most appropriate choice in the English language which would be consistent with human rights and the ICPD Programme of Action? There is no perfect solution and the debate centered on the following three: responsibility, participation and involvement. The selection is not just a game of semantics, but each word has programme implications, for example if one talks about male responsibility, it implies possible sanctions, an authority to impose them, etc. Who would decide on such issues: men and women, the "legislator"? It introduces a potential conflictual perspective, which is precisely what is to be avoided. The word "participation", on the other hand, would imply providing an opportunity, but not necessarily any incentive to do so, nor any commitment.

In order to shed light on the selection process, etymologies were considered and presented here.

Responsibility

- from Latin respondere = promise in return, the notion of obligation survives in the derivative responsible.

Itself from spondere means "to make a solemn commitment of a religious nature".

Both responsible and spouse (sponsa: "promised in marriage") are from the same Latin word spondere.

The Latin word itself is derived from an Indo-European root *spend- to make a libation. This meaning is still found in ancient Greek: sponde: the wine poured out to the gods before drinking. In the plural, spondai meant a solemn treaty (because such treaties were accompanied by libations).

Participation

- made of two Indo-European roots:
  1. 1. *kap = to take, has produced a vast number of words (capture, captive, anticipate, capacity, prince, accept, etc).
  2. 2. *per = to produce. In Latin pars = the share given to an individual. The Latin verb parere meant to give a child to the husband, to give birth and produced words such as parent and scientific expressions such as post partum. Many other derivatives exist, such as pauper (who produces little) as well as imperare = to force to produce which gave "imperial", etc.

Involvement

- from the Latin involvere = to wrap, from volvere = to roll, turn,

itself from an Indo-European root *wol- "turn". Other derivatives from the Latin are evolution, revolve (revolution), volume (originally meaning a roll of parchment => big book) but also waltz and to wallow.

"Responsibility: appealed to many, but it is a very solemn word intimately linked to the sacred and law, responding to higher authorities and accompanied by sanctions which seemed incompatible with concepts such as equality and empowerment of both men and women.

"Participation" also has its appeal, but on closer consideration appears rather loose and associated with too many derivatives due to its double Indo-European base.

"Involvement" is perhaps, at this time, the least bad choice. The root has a narrower spectrum of derivatives. It sort of fits in between responsibility and participation; avoiding their extreme connotations while retaining an ethical dimension consonant with the ICPD Programme of Action.

It would be interesting for readers from different cultures and speaking languages other than English to conduct similar exercises in their languages and culture.

For example, in the French language, one could not use a term with the connotation or root of "roll" or "wrap" like involve in English. These have connotations of swindling, cheating! On the other hand, the French word "participation" has probably a stronger meaning than its English counterpart and could be the most appropriate word to render in this case the English "involvement".

FAO-SDWP would be interested in contributions on this issue.

1. On the basis of Dictionnaire étymologique du français by Jacqueline Picoche, Le Robert, 1992; Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language by Skeat, Oxford 1984 edition (first in 1882); Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto, Bloomsbury, 1990; Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott, Oxford University Press, 1997 edition (first in 1891).


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