5.2. Applying a WEEGE Lens to Activity Design and Implementation

Integrating WEEGE at the activity level requires an understanding of the opportunities and challenges women face in their local context, in order to design effective approaches and strategies, allocate resources to support them and identify and troubleshoot potential challenges.


Gender analysis is one of the three required analyses for all activity design processes (the other two are environment and climate risk). Activity designs should incorporate the findings and recommendations of any country and project-level gender analyses with a WEEGE lens. (For more detail on country-level gender analysis with a WEEGE lens, refer to Unit 3: Integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality into a Country Development Cooperation Strategy. For more detail on project-level gender analysis with a WEEGE lens, refer to Unit 4: Integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality into Project Design and Implementation.) The USAID activity design team should also incorporate WEEGE into the required activity-level gender analysis. (Refer to Unit 3, Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE into a Gender Analysis and Sample: Integrating WEEGE into an Activity Gender Analysis.) WEEGE findings should be integrated into the activity-level theory of change, including recommendations for sub-activities and related indicators. (Refer to Unit 6, Tool 1: WEEGE Illustrative Indicators.) Box 1 identifies select WEEGE Principles that apply to an activity-level gender analysis.


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

WEEGE Principle 3: Be Specific

  • Recognize and discuss differences in roles, status, and power between different populations of women in the context of the project/activity, such as young women, older women, minorities, working women, non-working women, urban women, rural women, etc.

WEEGE Principle 4: Engage Men and Boys

  • Consult with men from the public and private sector as well as civil society to get a better understanding of the role that men can play to advance success in WEEGE; connect male allies to women’s organizations, networks, and businesses to support advocacy efforts.

WEEGE Principle 7: Address Gender-Based Violence

  • Consult with local women’s groups, stakeholders, government partners, civil society organizations, and male allies on the drivers of GBV, integrating their perspectives on how it can impact WEEGE programming in a given context.

WEEGE Principle 8: Partner with Women

  • Consult with women’s organizations, networks, and businesses in data collection processes (CDCSs, project/activity designs, sector assessments, market assessments, systems analysis, etc.).


Potential sources of additional information to supplement a gender analysis with a WEEGE lens include:

  • sector assessments and data collected by other organizations/researchers; note that WEEGE integration should include analysis of all relevant sectors, not only those traditionally associated with women.
  • reports and evaluations from prior projects, including from other donors; sex-disaggregated impact results are particularly useful to identify effective practices and lessons for WEEGE integration.
  • stakeholder consultations to supplement WEEGE knowledge; these should engage women’s networks, coalitions and business associations.
  • additional analyses conducted or commissioned (e.g., political-economy analyses; cost-benefit analyses1 ; comparative cost-effectiveness analyses).

(Refer to Automated Directive Systems (ADS) for more detail on the required activity-level analyses.)

Table 1 provides potential WEEGE illustrative questions, taken from the Unit 3, Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE into a Gender Analysis, that may be incorporated into an activity-level gender analysis. (For illustrative purposes, these questions focus on a democracy and governance activity.) These questions, and the toolbox also are useful resources for IPs when an activity-level gender analysis with a WEEGE lens is required in the solicitation and award.


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.


Activity Design and Solicitation Process

Activity design starts with an understanding of how the activity contributes to an approved strategy or project and where it fits into the theory of change. (Refer to Unit 3: Integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality into a Country Development Cooperation Strategy and Unit 4: Integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality into Project Design and Implementation.) To ensure progress on WEEGE, the CDCS, Project Development Document (PDD), if used, and any Activity Approval Memoranda (AAMs) should have incorporated the results of WEEGE-related analyses into their respective theories of change. If the CDCS does not incorporate WEEGE, activity design provides another opportunity to do so. Activity design teams should develop activities that address the WEEGE opportunities and constraints identified in the researchincluding the activity-level gender analysis with a WEEGE lens discussed previouslyand that contribute to achieving agreed-upon goals and objectives. (Select this link for Tool 1: Integrating WEEGE in Activity Design.)

The activity design is the basis for a solicitation’s statement of work, performance work statement, statement of objectives, or program description, depending on the award instrument. (Refer to Box 2 and Box 3 for further guidance on incorporating gender into solicitations and other acquisition mechanisms, and select this link for Tool 2: Integrating WEEGE into Solicitations.) Once complete, the solicitation should reflect WEEGE goals and objectives and should communicate USAID’s WEEGE priorities and expectations. Perhaps the most important means of influencing applicants to design activities with strong WEEGE integration is to make it an explicit element in the evaluation criteria.

Box 2: Gender Integration in Activity Solicitations

Integrating gender equality and female empowerment objectives, activities and indicators into solicitations can be accomplished in the following ways:

  • Spelled out in the problem statement.
  • Reflected in the activity design and budget.
  • Indicated by the requirement for staff expertise in gender integration.
  • Tracked by qualitative or quantitative indicators in performance monitoring.
  • Addressed in the evaluation plan and reporting requirements.
  • Specified in the evaluation criteria.

ADS 205.3.6


Box 3: Using Collaborative Approaches to Improve WEEGE Integration
  • USAID’s Acquisition and Assistance Strategy emphasizes a shift to a more integrated and iterative design process as well as stronger collaboration between USAID and its partners on activity design. The strategy lists 16 examples of approaches, techniques and mechanisms for co-creation and collaboration, including broad agency announcements and challenges, ventures and prizes—offering a different approach to selecting IPs and working with them to implement effectively. The mechanisms offer opportunities to integrate the gender analysis findings with a WEEGE lens into the problem statement and to apply WEEGE Principles to the process, participant list and agenda, for example: Principle 2—Amplify Women’s Voices; Principle 6—Establish the Evidence; and Principle 8—Partner with Women.
  • Traditional acquisition and assistance mechanisms, such as requests for information and draft solicitations, are effective in communicating USAID’s vision for an activity while allowing stakeholder feedback to strengthen the design (emphasizing the perspectives and challenges of women). Multistep requests for proposals and requests for applications allow selection committees to require specific inputs on WEEGE integration plans from shortlisted applicants. Inception phases allow USAID to work closely with an IP to refine an activity design based on in-depth assessments and research. The New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) offers simplified partnering procedures that can be helpful to encourage new and underutilized partners to applyincluding small, local and women-led organizations.
  • These collaborative approaches can surface the importance of WEEGE and encourage open conversations between USAID and its stakeholders and partners that ultimately lead to more effective activity designs and more impactful implementation.

Activity Implementation

Integration of WEEGE does not stop with the activity design and solicitation. The Agreement Officer’s Representative or Contracting Officer’s Representative (AOR/COR) plays a critical role in supporting integration of WEEGE during implementation. Collaboration between an IP and the AOR/COR ensures accountability on WEEGE and provides for an exchange of ideas and information between USAID and partners. Several points in the life of an activity allow AOR/CORs to collaborate with IPs on successful WEEGE integration. See Tool 3: Integrating WEEGE into IP Collaboration, which provides guidance on supporting IPs to ensure strong WEEGE integration in an activity, as summarized here.

Pre-award and activity start-up

Pre-award approvals and start-up activities include many opportunities for AOR/CORs to consult with IPs and to provide review and concurrence on critical activity elements where WEEGE should be reflected. These elements include: the selection of key personnel; design of work plans and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) plans; staff training; and selection of subaward recipients. Additionally, findings from an IP-led activity-level gender analysis should be reflected in the activity’s updated theory of change, work plan and MEL plan. (See Tool 4: WEEGE Integration Plan Template.)

Ongoing implementation and oversight

IPs and the AOR/COR should work together to ensure that WEEGE goals and objectives are being met and that relevant sex- and age-disaggregated data and information are being collected and analyzed. Required reporting, regular consultations and monitoring and evaluation activities are opportunities for AOR/CORs and IPs to take stock of progress toward WEEGE objectives. Using an adaptive-management approach,2 these parties can work together to identify challenges and successes and course-correct as needed.

Activity transition and closeout

The development of a sustainability or closeout plan is another opportunity for AOR/CORs and IPs to share ideas and approaches that support WEEGE integration. AOR/CORs also should ensure that any end-of-activity evaluations are gender-sensitive, include plans to assess how well WEEGE objectives were met and identify lessons and good practices for future WEEGE-integrated programming.

  • 1See USAID report: “Integrating gender in cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis: final report,” available at https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00MQB2.pdf
  • 2Adaptive management is defined by USAID (2017c) as “an intentional approach to making decisions and adjustments in response to new information and changes in context.” Refer to ADS 201.6 (https://2012-2017.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1870/201.pdf) and to: https://usaidlearninglab.org/lab-notes/what-adaptive-management-0.