One size may not fit all: adapting the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index
Monitoring and evaluation frameworks are strongest when they integrate gender concerns at the time of project design. With this in mind, Agrilinks’ two September events specifically explored the measurement of gender integration and empowerment in food security projects.
The first event, “Ask Ag About…M&E for Gender Integration,” was an online discussion that featured experts from the USAID Bureau for Food Security Gender Team. Participants asked questions about and shared their own experiences developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks that measure differences in impact among male and female stakeholders and assess how activities are impacting the dynamics between genders.
The second event, an Ag Sector Council (ASC) seminar, focused on one specific M&E tool, the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI). Launched in 2012, the WEAI measures the empowerment of women and men in agriculture and has been used to establish baselines against which projects can measure and monitor changes in empowerment as a result of interventions.
As projects and programs applied the WEAI, it became clear that some adjustments were needed to make the WEAI a tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. At the ASC, Agnes Quisumbing of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) announced the imminent release of the Abbreviated WEAI, or A-WEAI. The A-WEAI was developed in response to user feedback that the WEAI survey was too long and could be difficult to administer. The A-WEAI has fewer indicators than the WEAI and takes approximately 30 percent less time to administer. Forthcoming is the Pro-WEAI, or Project-level WEAI, which is being developed as a tool that can be adapted in a standardized way so that metrics of empowerment will be comparable across projects.
It was clear from both in-person and online participants of the ASC that there is both a keen interest in the development community for these new WEAI adaptations as well as a desire for those who have used or are considering using the WEAI to reach out to colleagues to learn how they can use the WEAI as the foundation of their gender integration M&E systems. To this end, a WEAI Community of Practice is forming where members will have access to one another and technical experts for support in developing their M&E system and to learn from the experiences of colleagues who are working with the WEAI.
Visit the Ag Sector Council event page to watch a recording of the webinar and read the transcript from the online webinar chat, where questions about the cost of carrying out the WEAI, how to interpret findings and appropriately adapt the WEAI are asked and answered.