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
WEEGE Principle 4: Engage Men and Boys
WEEGE Principle 7: Address Gender-Based Violence
WEEGE Principle 8: Partner with Women
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) 22.214.171.124 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.
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 research—including the activity-level gender analysis with a WEEGE lens discussed previously—and 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:
Box 3: Using Collaborative Approaches to Improve WEEGE Integration
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.