This article examines how research and ideas related to so-called positive masculinities have emerged and proliferated among employees of a Dutch development organization, enabling it to establish itself as a frontrunner in engaging men in campaigns to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Arguments draw on organizational ethnography conducted from September 2016 until July 2018 and analysis of discursive practices embedded in documents and training materials that have helped establish men as a new target for intervention. These ideas circulate within a Dutch-funded, globally distributed knowledge network that is for the most part invisible to the African men being targeted. At the same time, the Dutch experts developing these “men engagement” interventions are also largely unaware of how unspoken Dutch norms around gender equality, masculinity, and race are used to legitimize these interventions. This paper emphasizes the importance of considering how donor agendas and donor power work, while at the same time exploring how these elements can, often unconsciously, be inserted into programs, often skewing them in a particular direction.

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