5.1. Overview

An activity is generally defined as an “implementing mechanism that carries out an intervention or set of interventions to advance identified development result(s)”.1 (Figure 1 diagrams how activity design and implementation relate to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program cycle.) Prior to this stage of the program cycle, the USAID Mission will have developed a Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) and defined projects or activities to implement that strategy. Women’s economic empowerment and gender equality (WEEGE) ideally will have been addressed in these planning documents, based on a robust gender analysis with a WEEGE lens, as well as other supplemental research. At the activity design stage, it is critical to address WEEGE within the activity-level theory of change—for example, specifying sub-activities and indicators—and to ensure that budget and human resources are explicitly allocated to support WEEGE goals. In some activities, WEEGE may be central to the overall activity goal, while in others it may be integrated throughout activity goals. In either case, activity design and implementation are important entry points to ensure WEEGE is recognized as a central driver in achieving sustainable development outcomes. It also provides opportunities to leverage implementing partners (IPs) as collaborators in the promotion and integration of WEEGE.

Figure 1. Integrating WE4 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 “Activity Design and Implementation”. 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.”


This unit will address how to:

  • incorporate WEEGE into activity-level analyses.
  • reflect WEEGE-related findings in the activity design.
  • incorporate requirements to address WEEGE into activity solicitations.
  • hold IPs accountable for demonstrating WEEGE integration during activity implementation.
Key Messages
  • The Unit 3, Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE  into Gender Analysis is a practical resource to guide USAID staff and practitioners to conduct the activity-level gender analysis.
  • Activity design should incorporate WEEGE into its theory of change, goals and outcomes, and link to relevant initiatives such as the USAID Private-Sector Engagement Policy.
  • WEEGE considerations should be articulated in activity solicitations, using evaluation criteria and activity requirements to convey their importance to applicants and IPs.
  • To deliver tangible WEEGE results, USAID must hold IPs accountable for integrating WEEGE into gender analysis and pre-award approvals as well as activity planning, implementation, closeout and evaluations.
  • 1USAID (2017a). Automated Directives System, Chapter 201: Operational Policy for the Program Cycle. Available at ADS 201.3.4. (https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/201.pdf)