Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

Capire: 100 Ideas To Engage Hard To Reach Populations

Hard to reach people 16 This publications is a useful resource from the Capire Consulting Group, with 100 tips for engaging hard to reach populations.

"Ask likely members of the group how they would like to participate and what they would like from the program..."

Engaging diverse populations can be one of the most challenging aspects of running programs or projects to tackle male health issues.  The basic objective of getting participants to come along is actually one of the more difficult parts of running the program and there is considerable need for better understanding of how to reach out to 'hard to reach' populations in health.

Men are often excluded from lists of hard to reach populations but this guide includes males as part of other groups and therefore offers relevant advice for practitioners seeking to engage with males.

Applying the principles outlined in the Capire report to engaging males, we can conclude that practitioners should consider the following:

  • Plan and research the groups of men or boys that are likely to be hard to reach.  This comes back to significant thought about who exactly you are trying to reach and why they could benefit from your service.  Start with the basic problem and then consider which specific group will benefit, then you will be more likely to produce a solution that meets the needs of a specific group.
  • Ask likely members of the group how they would like to participate and what they would like from the program. Some males may like an informal space, whereas others may like a more structured set of programs or resources.  Save effort and provide according to their stated needs.
  • Link with and make contact through groups and networks related to the target population. This will mean making contact with other community groups or programs that may then act as influencers for males to come to your program.
  • Develop strategies and actions specfically for your group.  Understand what they need and tailor your program to those needs - you can't satisfy everybody so keep focussed.
  • Use peer to peer networks or ambassadors and figureheads to raise awareness and support recruitment.  Many men will respond to credible speakers who understand the issue at hand.
  • Those that do attend your program must be taken seriously and given meaningful opportunities toi become involved.  Having made it over the biggest hurdle of getting them there, you'll need to be serious about continually involving them and seeking their ongoing ideas.
  • Implement feedback and contribution mechanisms. Participants will want to share their thoughts and shape the program in a meaningful way.


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