6.3. Utilize WEEGE Resources to Inform a PMP or MEL Plan

After gaining an understanding of WEEGE challenges and opportunities, the next step is to integrate that learning into a PMP (at the CDCS or RDCS level) or MEL plan (at the activity level). When initiating MEL planning, it is important to understand the broader challenges and opportunities of working with WEEGE data and designing WEEGE programming. To begin, it is important to understand a Mission’s mandate, funding, geographic areas of interest and targeted sectors. The policies of the U.S. National Security Strategy, alongside USAID’s Private-Sector Engagement Policy, also provide insight into the U.S. government’s priorities around WEEGE and provide context for WEEGE measurement planning.

In addition, at each level of planning (strategy, project and activity), Missions are required to produce gender and other analyses, along with other types of research. Review these resources alongside all the Mission’s planning documents to understand the local context and the Mission’s goals and objectives for programming, both in general and for WEEGE in particular. Ideally, the gender analyses conducted during planning exercises will have used a WEEGE lens (select this link for Unit 3, Toolbox: Integrating WEEGE into a Gender Analysis), providing critical data for understanding the WEEGE context in the country or area of operation. This research likely will identify areas that should be targeted and measured, and it may identify social barriers to WEEGE that should be considered while developing a PMP or MEL plan.

If the gender analysis is not WEEGE-specific, it may be necessary to conduct additional research to better inform PMP or MEL plan development. WEEGE-specific resources to aid in planning can be found in Resource 2: WEEGE Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; Unit 1, Resource 1: Data Sources; and USAID’s Women's Economic Empowerment and Equality Dashboard. Additional resources to review include: evaluations and reports produced by previous USAID and other U.S. government- funded programs; information released by the U.S. government or the host country; local organization reporting; university and academic studies; and international organizations’ research on the current local context. These documents may include: sector assessments and data collected by research groups; reports and evaluations from prior projects, including from other donors; and stakeholder consultations that engaged (and reported on) women’s networks, coalitions and business associations.

Resources gathered and studied during this step will help to identify WEEGE measurement gaps, secure WEEGE baseline and comparative data, and provide a snapshot of the WEEGE environment in the target area where the PMP or MEL plan will be measuring progress. This step helps determine what aspects of WEEGE are most in need of strengthening, and in which sectors more effort is required. That information, in turn, helps to establish reasonable theory of change, goals, DOs, IRs, sub-IRs, targets and indicators during the MEL planning process.

Box 2: Balancing USAID Influence
  • Remember to reflect on what aspects of WEEGE USAID can influence—and what is beyond the scope of what USAID can accomplish.