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WEAI Women's Empowerment Agriculture Index - Instruction for the enumerators

Manual by by Colosio V., Stentella R., Invernizzi E., Cavaglia G., De Paoli V.

We are proud to share that our colleagues at ACRA have released a manual for the enumerators who work to evaluate the WEAI, a survey-based tool co-developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that directly measures women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector through a standardized procedure. The WEAI builds on research to develop indicators of agency and empowerment that propose domain-specific measures of empowerment obtained using questions that can be fielded in individual or household surveys. The purpose of this manual is to provide enumerators a tool to facilitate their understanding of the methodology and its implementation in the interview phase.

The questionnaire modules drew on past surveys developed by IFPRI, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), and the Gender Asset Gap Project to develop modules on agricultural decision-making, assets, credit, and income, as well as OPHI questions related to relative autonomy. Following the test of an earlier version of the survey, the WEAI teams from IFPRI and USAID, in consultation with OPHI, undertook an extensive process of revising the WEAI to clarify the questions that had proved challenging in the field while at the same time maintaining cross-cultural applicability. Following this process, they elaborated a shorter, streamlined version known as the Abbreviated WEAI (A-WEAI). The A-WEAI questionnaire will elicit information on five domains of empowerment:

  • Production: Women and men’s sole or joint decision-making over food and cash-crop farming, livestock, and fisheries.

  • Resources: Women and men’s ownership of and decision-making power over productive resources such as land, livestock, agricultural equipment, consumer durables, and credit.

  • Income: Women and men’s sole or joint control over income and expenditures.

  • Leadership: Women and men’s membership in economic or social groups.

  • Time: Women and men’s allocation of time to productive and domestic tasks

In the case of ACRA projects, the purpose of the surveys is to assess the impact of different project activities in women’s empowerment. It is therefore necessary to plan two surveys: a first survey before the start of activities to have an initial baseline; and a second survey to be arranged after completing at least one complete agricultural cycle since the start of project activities. Both surveys (initial and final) should be followed by qualitative reflection among the researcher and interviewers to understand the dynamics and hierarchies behind the data and formulate hypotheses and explanations about the data collected.

The manual is available on the EWA-BELT website/publications or on Zenodo with the DOI:10.5281/zenodo.8059019.

Make sure to check it out to learn more about Women Empowerment and how the EWA-BELT Consortium is addressing the topic!

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