One of a researcher’s biggest fears is that research outputs go unread, gathering dust on people’s shelves before ending up in the recycling bin. However, this fear was unfounded for our work on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which has gone from esoteric research tool to a widely-used data collection tool that has inspired a new generation of policies and programs for women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. Our long history of working in Bangladesh, coupled with an impressive record of policy engagement, made Bangladesh an ideal setting for asking the following research question: How does one really empower women in agriculture?
Have you heard of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (more commonly referred to as the WEAI)? I’m sure many of you have not only heard of it, but have used it in your work: In 2015 alone, 13 Feed the Future partners used WEAI data to inform programming, and to date, close to 40 organizations worldwide are using the WEAI, increasing the evidence-base on constraints women and men face in the agriculture sector. Some of you may also be familiar with the Gender Integration Framework, or GIF—a useful tool for integrating gender into project design and implementation.
What you might not know is just how to use the WEAI and GIF together. What is the relationship between the two, and how can both tools be used to promote gender mainstreaming? How does their use help us work toward our objectives of increased agricultural productivity and improved nutritional outcomes?
Head over to Agrilinks to read their takeaways from a recent WEAI and GIF training.
Fleur Wouterse has a new blog published on Agrilinks discussing recent research using the WEAI in Niger. Her takeaway messages include:
Empowerment matters for agricultural production. Less empowered households experience lower returns to their labor and use their traction equipment and animals in a less effective manner. Women are much less empowered in so-called dual households where a primary male is also present. Increasing the empowerment of these women, for example, through leadership training or encouraging membership in groups (rotating savings schemes or producer organizations) will ultimately generate benefits in terms of increased food production.
IFPRI will be hosting a webinar “The Abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI)” on September 23rd from 9:30-11:00 am EST. More information about the session and a link to register is below.
This webinar will focus on the newly-launched abbreviated version of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI). The A-WEAI is a shorter, streamlined version of the original WEAI survey tool. It will be launched by USAID one week prior to this webinar, on September 16th. On the 23rd, IFPRI’s WEAI Research Coordinator, Hazel Malapit, joined by Farzana Ramzan and Emily Hogue from USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, will discuss the reasons for developing a shorter version of the WEAI, describe the development and piloting process of the A-WEAI, and highlight the differences between the A-WEAI and the original WEAI. Time will also be allowed for a question and answer session with webinar participants. Presented by: Hazel Malapit, Research Coordinator, IFPRI, Farzana Ramzan, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, USAID Bureau for Food Security, and Emily Hogue, Team Leader for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning, USAID Bureau for Food Security
For more information on the WEAI, please visit the WEAI Resource Center. Please register for the webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1992709063315119105
The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is the first comprehensive and standardized measure to directly capture women’s empowerment and inclusion levels in the agricultural sector. Since its launch in 2012, the WEAI has evolved as global partners have adapted and utilized the Index in diverse ways to design and implement interventions that address the constraints and barriers women face.
September’s Ag Sector Council seminar will trace the evolution of the WEAI and discuss why women’s empowerment is an essential evaluation component when integrating gender into agricultural programs. The speakers will then outline the next stages of the WEAI’s development—the introduction of the Abbreviated WEAI (A-WEAI), a streamlined and modified form of the original Index, and a project-level WEAI (Pro-WEAI), designed to be applicable for use by agriculture and food security projects and activities. Lastly, the speakers will share details about opportunities for activities to receive support to pilot and validate the Pro-WEAI indicators and methodology, as well as to join the WEAI Community of Practice.
Read more about the event and RSVP here.
The International Food Policy Research Institute has received a second round of support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to adapt and validate a measure of women’s empowerment that agricultural development projects can use to diagnose key areas of women’s (and men’s) disempowerment, design appropriate strategies to address deficiencies, and monitor project outcomes related to women’s empowerment. This empowerment measure will be based on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) developed by IFPRI, USAID, and OPHI (Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative), but will be adapted for project use.
This second round, called GAAP2, will run for five years (2015-2020) and will build on the experience of the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP, 2010-2014), which worked with a set of agricultural development projects to incorporate gender into their M&E frameworks and evaluate their impacts on women’s assets. This work is undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) led by IFPRI, and will be complementary to ongoing efforts to use and adapt the WEAI, supported by USAID.
With this call, we are inviting agricultural development projects to participate in piloting and validating a project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI), and to become part of a Community of Practice on measuring women’s empowerment in agricultural development projects. This effort has the potential to have broader applicability beyond agricultural projects.
For the call for concept notes, click here.
For an editable Word version of the call for concept notes, click here.
To view an anonymized, illustrative budget from GAAP1, please view the Sample GAAP budget for guidance, keeping in mind that projects in GAAP2 may request different budget items depending on need.
The GAAP team has also put together an FAQ document, available here: Frequently Asked Questions
Abstract: This paper investigates linkages between women’s empowerment in agriculture and the nutritional status of women and children using 2012 baseline data from the Feed the Future population-based survey in northern Ghana. Using a new survey-based index, the women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, we conduct individual-level analyses of nutrition-related indicators including exclusive breastfeeding, children’s dietary diversity score, minimum dietary diversity and minimum acceptable diet, children’s height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age z-scores, and women’s dietary diversity score and body mass index. Results suggest that women’s empowerment is more strongly associated with the quality of infant and young child feeding practices and only weakly associated with child nutrition status. Women’s empowerment in credit decisions is positively and significantly correlated with women’s dietary diversity, but not body mass index. This suggests that improved nutritional status is not necessarily correlated with empowerment across all domains, and that these domains may have different impacts on nutrition.
Today, IFPRI hosted a Gender Methods Seminar: Using Cognitive Testing and Vignettes in the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI).
Abstract: Presented by Katie Sproule and Chiara Kovarik, this Gender Methods Seminar will focus on lessons learned from two recent field tests done for the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI). Using the qualitative methods of cognitive testing and vignettes, Katie Sproule, Chiara Kovarik and colleagues tested a revised version of the WEAI in Uganda and Bangladesh during the summer of 2014. Cognitive testing is a methodology that allows researchers to systematically identify and correct response error in surveys, while vignettes are hypothetical short stories used to elicit responses on challenging and often abstract topics. This presentation will describe each of these methods in detail, how they were applied to the WEAI, and share some preliminary results and lessons learned. Attendees will learn the benefits and challenges of each methodology, what kind of information each can yield, and practical tips on how to ensure that enumerators and respondents are fully understanding the questions.
If you weren’t able to join us virtually, you can see the slides and audio recording of the presentation here. Stay tuned for upcoming Gender Methods Seminars in 2015 and please let us know if you have suggestions of a method to present.