The Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment (AWE) Program enhances gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture programs by providing targeted technical assistance to USAID missions and implementing partners, the Bureau for Food Security, and other USAID operating units to increase women’s participation, productivity, profit, and benefit in agricultural systems. To accomplish this, the AWE team builds capacity, provides tailored technical support, and generates, synthesizes, and shares evidence and good practices promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially in the domains of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index and the Gender Integration Framework.
AWE operates through call orders, in which missions and other clients can “buy in” to access the range of services outlined in the AWE Menu of Services. AWE call orders have supported:
- A rapid learning needs assessment to identify USAID staff’s gender equality and women’s empowerment capabilities related to agriculture in Feed the Future target countries. The team conducted a literature review; interviews with staff from USAID missions, headquarters, and implementing partners; and an online survey of mission staff. AWE used the findings to refine its learning agenda to reflect missions’ priorities for applied research.
- A gender and youth assessment for a USAID Mission to identify and prioritize behaviors that support and hinder women’s and youth’s engagement and empowerment in food security, agriculture, and nutrition-sensitive programming. AWE used a literature review, interviews, and focus group discussions to explore household and community roles, responsibilities, and dynamics that support and prevent participation in activities and behaviors requisite for household food security, increased productivity, and individual empowerment. The Mission used the results to inform its work to support and enable women, men, and youth to fully participate in food security activities.
- A research synthesis that analyzed the Bureau for Food Security Research Division’s portfolio to learn the extent and nature of gender integration in agricultural research investments and capture good approaches and lessons. The findings will be used to build on successes to strengthen gender integration in Innovation Labs’ work.
- Rich collaboration with Agrilinks.org, an online network for agriculture, food security, and other development professionals. In October 2019, for example, AWE partnered with Agrilinks for a thematic focus on gender dimensions in agriculture, emphasizing gender-based violence prevention and response in agricultural systems and programs. The team curated a blog series and co-hosted a webinar, with strong participation among the more than 200 researchers, program managers, and development practitioners who attended from around the world.
The AWE team conducted applied research on gender-based violence in the agriculture sector and women’s empowerment in agriculture systems to identify good practices that agriculture-centric activities and programs can apply. Read the report called “Gender Integration in USAID’s Agricultural Research Investments: A Synthesis of Key Findings and Best Practices” and see the accompanying infographic here.