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Theory of Change: The REAL Father Initiative in Karamoja and Acholi

The Responsible, Engaged and Loving (REAL) Fathers Initiative is an evidence-based, community mentoring program that works with young fathers to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) and violent discipline of young children and to increase acceptability and use of family planning. With funding from USAID, REAL Fathers was developed, piloted, and evaluated in northern Uganda between 2013-2015. The initiative was adapted, scaled, and evaluated in northern Uganda and Karamoja, between 2016-2018. The impact evaluation of the scale-up project demonstrated consistent results on prevention of IPV and violent discipline, with findings sustained one-year post intervention in both sites.

Few projects take an integrated approach to preventing violence in the home or addressing both IPV and family planning; even fewer have evidence of effectiveness. This participatory consultation with young fathers, their wives , REAL Fathers mentors, and community members who were involved in the scale-up of REAL Fathers between 2016-2018 used reflection and dialogue to understand how fathers internalized, enacted, and sustained new behaviors in their relationships, using a theory of change framework to understand the sequence of identified changes. In addition, the consultation sought to understand from the participants’ perspective what made the project meaningful to fathers and their families, and what supported or limited fathers’ changes in behavior.

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