3.2. Applying a WEEGE Lens to the CDCS

Prior to developing a CDCS, a USAID Mission analyzes the country context and lessons learned; holds initial consultations with local partners, development institutions, and U.S. Government stakeholders; and organizes internal discussions around the current state of programming and future planning. Each of these tasks presents opportunities to consider and integrate WEEGE.


A CDCS is grounded in evidence and analyses, including a required gender analysis. The findings of the gender analysis, along with those of other analyses, inform the development hypothesis and the results framework.

The gender analysis examines issues as they relate to the five domains identified in the Automated Directives System (ADS) 205 (outlined in detail in Unit 2 of this guide). It provides country- and sector-level quantitative and qualitative information on the gender gaps, inequalities and social and structural impediments (such as discriminatory laws and regulations and restrictive financial markets)as well as opportunities in each domain.

To intentionally incorporate WEEGE into a gender analysis, USAID encourages staff to use the Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE into a Gender Analysis. The toolbox, developed as part of this guide and in alignment with ADS 201 and ADS 205, is designed to help USAID staff navigate all stages of conducting a gender analysis with a WEEGE lens; this ranges from outlining the roles and responsibilities of the gender analysis team to drafting gender analysis research questions and creating a dissemination plan. Box 1 highlights WEEGE principles that can be applied in the gender analysis planning and implementation process.

Box 1: How to Apply the WEEGE Principles into Analyses Conducted for CDCS

Principle 1: Understand the Systems

  • Interview public, private and civil- society actors from the country on WEEGE issues.

Principle 2: Amplify Women’s Voices

  • Engage women’s networks at different levels (for example, community, district, municipal, national, regional and international).

Principle 5: Collaborate:

  • Discuss opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with local ministries, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and other partners working on WEEGE.
  • Identify (if appropriate) options to engage companies and academic institutions in planning and designing strategies, programs and activities.

Table 1 (from the toolbox) provides illustrative WEEGE-specific research questions for a CDCS gender analysis. By incorporating WEEGE into the gender analysis, a USAID Mission can better understand the challenges and opportunities involved in advancing WEEGE. These insights, in turn, enable equality. See Integrating WEEGE into a CDCS Gender Analysis - Sample 1.


The table lists WEEGE Illustrative Questions for the Laws, Policies, Regulations, and Institutional Practices Domain; the Cultural Norms and Beliefs Domain; the Gender Roles, Responsibilities, and Time Use Domain; the Access to and Control Over Assets and Resources Domain; and the Questions for Patterns of Power and Decision-making Domain.

In addition to the gender analysis, other research and assessments may be needed or required to prepare the CDCS. These analyses offer opportunities to incorporate a WEEGE lens (refer to Box 2 for examples). For example, a labor-market assessment can explore women’s participation in the workforce. See an example of a labor-market assessment that applies a WEEGE lens, specifically addressing:

  • the barriers to women’s participation in specific value chains
  • the challenges women face in accessing professional advancement opportunities
  • the percentage of women's business ownership driven by necessity versus opportunity
  • the existing perceptions regarding the types of employment suitable for men versus women.
Box 2: Different Types of Analysis Conducted for a CDCS
  • Tropical rainforest and biodiversity assessments (required)
  • Labor-market assessment
  • Inclusive development analysis
  • Political economy analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Together with the gender analysis, the results and findings derived from these analyses and assessments are used to inform the development of the CDCS. (Refer to Box 3.)

Box 3: Illustrative WEEGE Questions for Reflection during the CDCS Development Process
  • Did the gender analysis find significant disparities in outcomes between women and men? If so, could a more concerted effort to promote WEEGE improve outcomes overall? What is at the root of that disparity? How could our programming address those root causes?
  • Is improving outcomes for women in a specific area likely to have multiplier effects in other priority areas for the Mission?

Consultations and Parameter Setting

Stakeholder consultations are central to developing a CDCS. Understanding the priorities and activities of government, the private sector, other donors and local and international civil society is necessary to build a strategy that addresses research gaps and opportunities, complements other programs operating in a country and maximizes USAID’s impact.

Groups often missed during these conversations are local women’s organizations—including business associations and networks, women’s savings and self-help groups and grassroots civil society organizations—that are well placed to identify the barriers to and opportunities for women’s full and equal participation in the economy (refer to Box 4). These consultations can provide ideas on how to integrate WEEGE in the development of the CDCS. To learn more about strategies to engage local women’s groups, see Tool 1: WEEGE in Action – Engaging Women’s Organizations.

Box 4: Consulting with Women
  • Too often women’s organizations are missing from stakeholder consultations, in part because they lack the resources to raise awareness of their work. USAID Missions should hear directly from women about the constraints they face, including the lack of access to resources and information, and the solutions that would improve their agency.

In addition, WEEGE-related new development practices and recommendations, as well as evaluative research and information from past or current programs that promote WEEGE, can provide valuable lessons learned and best practices to inspire Development Objectives (DOs) and Intermediate Results (IRs) that are grounded in evidence and analysis. (See Unit 2’s repository of documents.)

Together, the analysis, consultations and additional research form the basis for discussions between the USAID Mission and Washington operating units (OUs), such as the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI)/Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub (GenDev) (refer to Box 5), as well as other U.S. Government stakeholders. The discussions facilitate agreement and establish parameters regarding: the nature of the development context; additional assessments and analyses needed; and the applicability of agency strategies.

Box 5: Role of USAID’s Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI)/Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub (GenDev)
  • DDI/GenDev provides USAID Missions and Washington OUs with support for the Agency’s mandatory gender analysis and gender integration requirements, as stated in the USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy and ADS 205. GenDev, in partnership with Washington and Mission-based gender advisors and points of contact, provides advice on gender integration, including WEEGE, throughout the CDCS process.

These discussions are captured in a concept note that summarizes learning from prior programming, an overview of the country context, and likely programming areas, among other topics. Once a USAID Mission develops the concept note and reflects on funding scenarios, it presents initial findings via digital video conference (DVC) to USAID’s technical bureaus. (See Tool 2: Integrating WEEGE issues into the DVC Presentation). After presenting the findings and integrating feedback, the Mission completes an initial summary of conclusions. This document sums up agreement on CDCS priorities, sectoral focus and resource parameters, based on analyses, assessments, evaluations and evidence reviewed.

Results Framework and CDCS Development

The results framework should be grounded in the findings of the analyses, evidence and stakeholder consultations described previously.1  WEEGE challenges and potential solutions are incorporated in the results framework through DOs or IRs. There are two main ways to address WEEGE through DOs and IRs: (1)using a DO or IR that specifically addresses WEEGE, or (2)through a more general DO or IR, with WEEGE dimensions specified in the narrative. In either case, the results framework narrative and the broader CDCS should connect the DOs and IRs to the development hypothesis and explain how these DOs and IRs will address a specific WEEGE constraint or opportunity. For additional guidance, see Sample 2: Integrating WEEGE into a Results Framework.

The development of the final CDCS document is the last opportunity to ensure that the WEEGE gaps, opportunities and solutions that arose throughout the strategic planning process—beginning with analyses and consultations through the development of the results framework and related DOs and IRs—are documented in the approved strategy. Box 6 highlights how to apply WEEGE principles into sections of a CDCS.

Box 6: How to Apply the WEEGE Principles into Sections of the CDCS

WEEGE Principle 1: Understand the Systems

  • Engage country representatives to finance and implement WEEGE solutions to address development challenges.

WEEGE Principle 3: Be Specific

  • Design and document specific goals and intended changes and results related to WEEGE in your strategy project activity.

WEEGE Principle 6: Establish the Evidence

  • Include WEEGE sex-disaggregated indicators at the strategy, project and activity level that align to specific development objectives and results; ensure that staff and local partners have the capacity and resources for proper data collection.


  • 1Ideally, the gender analysis should be finished before the results framework strategy sessions begin. As this is not always possible, the CDCS will indicate the extent to which gender is integrated in the results framework paper and flag any WEEGE issues and gender considerations of significant concern—even if the full analysis has not been completed.