3.1. Overview

Strategic planning is an essential part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) program cycle, culminating in a country development cooperation strategy (CDCS) or a regional development cooperation strategy (RDCS).1

These strategies define a country or region’s goals and objectives, based on the needs, constraints and opportunities USAID identifies through stakeholder consultations and analyses. Although it does not detail the projects or activities required to achieve those goals and objectives, the CDCS lays the foundation for project and activity design. Integrating women’s economic empowerment and gender equality (WEEGE) into the CDCS offers a distinct opportunity to make progress on WEEGE, from strategy to implementation (refer to Figure 1). Intentionally applying a WEEGE lens to the CDCS—through consultations and analysis—can offer useful entry points to further WEEGE and to create lasting change.

 Figure 1. Integrating WEEGE into USAID’s Program Cycle


Integrating WEEGE into USAID’s Program Cycle is a circle. The innermost ring is ADS 205 Gender Analysis. The next ring is WEEGE Integration with icons for Markets, Assets, Human Capital, Decent Work and Income, and Finance. The next ring highlights “Country/Regional Strategic Planning”. The outermost ring shows the 3 goals that come from integrating WEEGE: “All Individuals Fully Participate in and Benefit from their Communities and Countries,” “Societies Grow and Prosper,” and “Peace and Prosperity.”
Key Messages
  • Applying a WEEGE lens in the required gender analysis and other analyses will assist USAID to identify the main constraints and opportunities to improve WEEGE.
  • The Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE into Gender Analysis is a practical resource to guide USAID staff and practitioners to plan and design for a gender analysis that incorporates WEEGE.
  • Stakeholder consultations for the CDCS should prioritize sessions with women’s groups, networks and associations to ensure women’s perspectives are reflected in the CDCS priorities and results frameworks.
  • The CDCS should specify how USAID will address WEEGE constraints and opportunities in the development hypothesis and results framework.

This unit will address how to:

  • include WEEGE considerations into analyses, including the required gender analysis.2
  • integrate WEEGE into CDCS consultations and parameter setting.
  • incorporate gender analysis findings, including those related to WEEGE, into the CDCS development hypothesis, results framework and, as relevant, throughout the final CDCS document.
  • 1For the sake of brevity, Unit 3 refers primarily to CDCSs, though the guidance provided herein is applicable to the RDCS creation process as well.
  • 2In accordance with ADS 205, USAID shall ensure that strategies, projects and activities of the Agency are shaped by a gender analysis.