Erasmus+ programme of the EU
Health Literacy Progress for Men in Europe
Context and background of the project
The project „Health Literacy Progress for Men in Europe“ ( HelpMen) addresses the question how men can be better achieved by health literacy and actively improve it. In the whole field of health education and promotion, men are strongly underrepresented. In addition, there is hardly any differentiation between offers for men with lower educational chances, so that disadvantaged or migrant men are not explicitly in sight. This entails the risk that health and social disadvantages will solidify, as people with a high need for basic education often also have health problems and are less well informed of their health. Health is therefore an essential equality issue for men.
Objectives of the project
The guiding principle of the HelpMen project is to reach men better with basic health education and by taking part in a participatory context so that access disadvantages are eliminated. This is intended to enable them to reflect their health situation and, if possible, to improve it and to adopt basic health competences. In order to achieve this, multipliers are sensitized, qualified and equipped with a curriculum that will be transferred into their own practice.
Number and profile of participants
Five institutions will cooperate in the HelpMen project. The approach is in the German-speaking countries, but taking into account other initial languages, so that a focus on integration and migration can be placed. The Social Sciences Institute Tübingen (SOWIT), an independent research, advisory and educational institute with a focus on gender and health, and the Baden-Wuerttemberg Volkshochschulverband, the association of specialists of the 170 Baden-Wuerttemberg Volkshochschulen with its specialist areas of health and basic education (both D). The services of the men’s health center MEN in Vienna (A) – e.g. counseling and group offers – focus on disadvantaged and marginalized men and are offered in many languages. The Cusanus Academy in Bressanone (I) is an educational center, which accentuates men and men’s health in events and projects. InfoMann in Luxembourg (L) is a counseling center for men who can receive individual psychosocial counseling – often including aspects of health – or participate in group meetings.
The central activities are, in addition to the participants meetings accompanying the project, an exploration of men-focussed health education and a systematic transnational research, from which a guide for analysis and clarification of needs is derived. An action curriculum is developed from these results, which is tested, documented and evaluated by the partners in several pilot events. The results are published in a publication and presented at regional seminar conferences.
Methodology for carrying out the project
The project follows a methodology of intervention and action research that integrates theory-practice transfer. The project partners form and are seen as a focus group on the topic which is being investigated. In addition, men participate in the pilot events in a participatory and active manner. The so-called Soft Open Method of Cooperation (SMOC) is practiced for the international exchange of experience and knowledge transfer. The state of quality of the project is regularly assessed using self-assessment methods.
Expected results and impact
HelpMen creates a broad knowledge for specialists and educational organizations on the health-related basic education of men. This will enable to sustainably strengthen men’s health competencies . A central result is the jointly developed curriculum and the publication of the entire project results in book and brochure form. Through the project, a crystallization core is being created for European networking in men’s health (basic) education.
Potential long-term benefits
The project provides an impetus to include health as a subject of basic education, to discuss this in a gender-differentiated way, and to develop it in a „masculine“ manner. The integration of health aspects into the canon of basic education improves the health prerequisites for social participation, particularly for educationally disadvantaged people and for the benefit of health competences.