People working in development are finding that two questions are increasingly important. These are: who is included? And, who is left out?

Problem analysis: We are faced all the time with problems and we need to understand them. In this process of analysing, have we included all the main actors in the problem?

EXAMPLE: After civil and regional wars, all kinds of activities are carried out to disarm and reintegrate the male soldiers. As the problem is analysed and the interventions developed, women tend to be invisible. But women were victims during the fighting. They may also have been part of the problem, as soldiers (2% of troops in Liberia) or by encouraging husbands to bring back loot. See “Disarming, demobilising and reintegrating (DDR)” below.

EXAMPLE: For too long, the analysis of the issue of HIV/AIDS has focused on women because women are accessible through health facilities such as clinics. In “Working with Men, responding to AIDS, Gender, Sexuality and HIV” below, husbands and boyfriends are put back into the issue.

Developing a good project cycle: We plan, implement and monitor projects that might help the problem. But who are “we”? Have we included all the main actors who are involved? Or are there groups that are invisible, groups that are left outside the door?

EXAMPLE: The Ministry of Health in an African country decided it needed a ten-year Family Planning Plan. Each of the thirteen departments of the Ministry had a male doctor at its head, providing sufficient people for a working group. There were competent female nurses in each department but it was easier to leave them out. So the Family Planning Plan was written and published without the involvement of a single woman – and it was not very good.

Are beneficiaries included as partners?

EXAMPLE: An NGO working with the elderly was set up by good-hearted university graduates. They started a project with no consultation or Needs Assessment. Beneficiaries were seen as passive accepters of a service, not as partners. So young, middle-class, mainly men decided on the needs of elderly, rural, mainly women.

Do your services exclude or include?

Are your Services accessible to all or discouraging to most?

Women and Health: There are major issues around the ways that women cannot get access to services, especially Reproductive Health services. See WHO's section on Sexual and reproductive health – Gender and rights

Involving men: The rights and roles of women and men are part of one big picture. Efforts to bring women into the mainstream of development now emphasize partnership between women and men – for example in the field of Reproductive Health and AIDS. See Aids Alliance’s Approaches to Gender and Sexuality: responding to HIV (44pp PDF)

“Across the world, people working on HIV/AIDS now recognise the importance of developing their work with men in order to have a real impact on the epidemic. There is a growing interest in identifying strategies that will be effective in reaching out to different groups of men and enabling them to change their attitudes and behaviour”