Nine research projects seek to advance women’s empowerment in East Africa
Selected following an open call for proposals, these projects will spur transformative change to advance gender equality in the world of work. Over the next 36 months, the project teams will undertake action and evaluative research and generate scalable policy solutions to reduce and redistribute childcare duties and promote women's entry into high-value sectors. The research will consider the societal power dynamics that shape women’s choices, the role of social norms, and how gender barriers intersect with the disadvantages arising from other aspects of identity such as race, income, and age.
Part of the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) – East Africa initiative, this cohort of projects builds on a first phase of GrOW research that generated knowledge about the obstacles limiting choice and access to opportunities for women and girls. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for urgent action by exposing structural gender barriers and entrenched gender inequalities. In this new phase of GrOW research, the goal is to develop effective approaches and solutions that will empower women and girls to take charge of their own lives and livelihoods.
Projects under the GrOW – East Africa initiative:
This project seeks to better understand the barriers that prevent women from taking advantage of government procurement opportunities in Kenya. The aim is to identify interventions that can be integrated into current government programs aimed at including women, to see how such programs can be made more effective and scaled to enhance women’s participation.
This collaborative research project is led by Strathmore University Business School in partnership with Kenya’s State Department of Gender Affairs and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
This project will explore the scalability of the POWER model: a set of interventions led by CARE that have proven effective in changing norms on gender-based violence. It will examine how the POWER model can help shift norms and public perception of unpaid care work in Uganda.
Led by Makerere University, this project is a collaboration with the Economic Policy Research Centre and, CARE Uganda, in partnership with relevant Ugandan government ministries.
This project will evaluate the effectiveness of measures to support young women transitioning from school to work and provide recommendations to address the barriers they face. It will assess what education and training interventions are most effective to improve young women’s employment opportunities while addressing the key constraints they face when entering the work force.
This research project led by Partnership for Economic Policy in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute and CAP Youth Empowerment Institute.
This project will generate evidence on the potential for programs to make government procurement opportunities more accessible to women and facilitate their entry into sectors where they are underrepresented. The research will focus on identifying the barriers that women face in accessing government procurement opportunities and on design features that would facilitate women’s participation in non-traditional sectors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The Africa Freedom of Information Centre leads this project in collaboration with the Open Contracting Partnership and the Institute for Social Accountability.
Building on the evidence from the first phase of GrOW, this project will assess the Kidogo hub-and-spoke model of childcare for its potential to enhance women’s economic empowerment in low-income communities in Kenya. The research will explore scalable and affordable childcare models and offer evidence on how to enhance gender equality in these communities.
This project is led by the African Population Health Research Centre in partnership with Kidogo.
This research project will help understand how the efforts to address unpaid care work — led by Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Développement Rural — can be scaled and replicated elsewhere in Rwanda. By raising awareness about women’s unpaid care work burden, this network has been effective in reducing and redistributing unpaid work in the country. This project will help uncover what works to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality at scale.
This is a collaborative research project led by the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research Rwanda in partnership with Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Développement Rural.
Buildher is a non-profit social enterprise fostering women’s entry and retainment in the construction sector in Kenya. The enterprise equips disadvantaged women with accredited construction skills to boost their income, change male attitudes, and promote gender equality within the industry. This project will evaluate Buildher’s effectiveness and whether and how its approach can be scaled.
This collaborative research project is led by Dalberg Kenya in partnership with Buildher.
This project aims to identify and inform effective public and private sector interventions that facilitate young women’s entry and retention into high-value sectors in Ethiopia. It will do so by investigating the impact of soft skills training and better access to job information services on young women’s employability and employment prospects during early career development in four cities.
The Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations leads the research in partnership with the Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission and Abamela Consulting.
This project aims to test affordable government-supported childcare models for poor traders in two of Kampala’s markets. The results will deepen the evidence base on whether and how reducing women’s unpaid care burden matters for increasing their productivity and income, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic which has increased women’s burden of unpaid care.
This is a collaborative research project led by Ace Policy Research Institute in collaboration with Forum for Women in Democracy, Makerere University, and relevant Ugandan government ministries.
Some of these selected projects have yet to complete IDRC’s administrative grant approval process.