WOMEN, ENTERPRISE, AND
The Pathfinder Fund's
Women in Development:
Projects, Evaluation, and Documentation
Dr. Libbet Crandon, Senior Research Analyst
with the collaboration of
Bonnie Shepard, Coordinator
.The Pathfinder Fund
WOMEN, ENTERPRISE, AND DEVELOPMENT
The Pathfinder Fund's
Women in Development:
Projects, Evaluation, and Documentation
September 1980-December 1984
Funded by AID/PPC/PDPR/IPD
Grant Number AID/otr-G-1867
Dr. Libbet Crandon, Senior Research Analyst
with the collaboration of
Bonnie Shepard, Coordinator
For further information, contact:
The Pathfinder Fund
1330 Boylston Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02167
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgments . . . . ..... iii
Executive Summary ... . . . ... . v
Chapter One: Program Overview . . .. ... 1
I. Structure and Methodology . . 1
II. The Action Component: The Five Projects 4
III. The Research Component . ... 15
Chapter Two: Impact of the Projects
on the Lives of the Participants . 25
Chapter Three: Factors in the Success of
the Projects . . .. . 45
Chapter Four: Recommendations and Findings
for Policymakers . . .... 63
Chapter Five: Recommendations for Program
Managers . . . ... 71
Appendix: Research Plan . ... . . 77
Glossary of Organizations . . . .. . 87
HISTORIES OF THE PROJECTS
1. The Zahydee Machado Neto Metalworking Cooperative
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil . .......
2. The Helados PIN Ice Cream Factory
Limon, Costa Rica . .. . . .
3. The Las Tres Hermanas Poultry Cooperative
Sorata, Honduras . . . . .
4. The Luces de Orientacion Bakery
Charguita, Honduras . . . .
5. The Sewing and Crafts Cooperative
Haversham, Jamaica . . . ..
First mention must go to the "mothers" of this program--Judith
F. Helzner and Freya Olafson at the Women's Program Division of The
Pathfinder Fund--who conceived of the Women in Development: Projects,
Evaluation, and Documentation Program (WID/PED) in 1980 and did the
work to make it a reality. Judith was the Coordinator of the Program
until November 1982, and her energy and intelligence have continued
to make a valuable contribution through her participation on the Advisory
Panel. Freya is the Division Chief and has continued to provide support
in many tangible and intangible ways.
At the Agency for International Development, first mention must
go to Roxanne Van Dusen, who, in 1980, was the Division Chief of the
Human Resources Branch of the Program and Policy Coordination Branch
(AID/PPC/PDPR/HR). She guided and encouraged Pathfinder staff through
the initial stages of program development; without her the Program
would never have gotten off the ground. Special thanks are due to
Katherine Piepmeier, the Grant Monitor of the Program and Policy Coordina-
tion branch of AID. She has acted as a strong advocate and supporter
of the Program at crucial times in its history and has supplied essential
information to direct the research so that it will be relevant to policy-
makers. Our thanks also to Roma Knee of the Latin American Bureau
in AID who has consistently offered helpful suggestions and support.
We owe a special vote of thanks to Joan Atherton of PPC/PDPR/IPD and
Maria Otero of PPC/WID for their helpful comments on the first draft
of this report.
More than with most reports, this one owes its existence to many
more people than the authors. The vast majority of the data was collected
by the process documentors: Melba Zuniga in Honduras; Mabelle Figueroa
in Costa Rica; Sonja Harris-Williams and Jean Jackson in Jamaica; and
Cecilia Sardenberg and Maria Clara de 0. Florence in Brazil. This
analysis of the data does not necessarily reflect their points of view,
but the authors are indebted to them for their insights, suggestions,
and personal interpretations of the data.
The directors of the five projects also deserve special mention.
Without their dedication, enthusiasm, information, and willingness
to cooperate with the research component of the Program, the projects
would not be alive today, and much of the information in this report
would be missing. They are Mariaugusta Rosa Rocha and America Lima
in Brazil; Marina de Solano, Rodolfo Osorio of the Centro de Orientacion
Familiar (COF) and Montserrat Cassasas of the Organizacion de Mujeres
Limonenses (OML) in Costa Rica; Vilma Ramirez of Instituto de Investigacion
y Formacion Cooperativista (IFC) in Honduras, with assistance from
Marco Raudales; Dan Salcedo and Marijke Velzeboer of Pueblo to People
in Honduras; and the Rev. Wesley Green and Mrs. Jean Green of the Jamaica
The guiding principles of the Program, and of the Research Plan
in particular, were formulated in conjunction with the Advisory Panel.
The Panel's guidance not only shaped the Program but has been invaluable
throughout its implementation. The members of the Panel were Dr. Susan
Bourque of Smith College; Judith Helzner (now an independent consultant);
Richard Gamble, former Chairperson of the Board of The Pathfinder Fund;
Isabel Nieves of the International Center for Research on Women; Eliot
Putnam, Acting Executive Director of The Pathfinder Fund; and David
Wood, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of The
Pathfinder Fund. Recognition is also due Natalie Hahn of the Food
and Agriculture Organization, one of the original members of the Advisory
Panel. Two Advisory Panel members, Susan Bourque and Judith Helzner,
deserve a special mention as well for their work in helping the authors
through the process of writing this report. Judith is the author of
the section on research methodology.
At Pathfinder, special thanks are due to Dr. Jose de Codes, the
Regional Representative for Brazil, and Dr. Alberto Rizo, the Regional
Representative for Latin America North. They played a key role in
developing the Brazil and Jamaica projects, respectively, and have
provided critical support at several stages of the Program. The authors
owe a huge debt of gratitude to Elaine Scheier, Administrative Secretary
of the Women's Program Division at The Pathfinder Fund, who has consistently
and enthusiastically given logistical and secretarial support to our
Some editors go above and beyond the call of duty in helping to
get a manuscript into shape. Mary Bradford and Mary Allen of Editorial
Associates, Inc., Arlington, Massachusetts, worked under enormous time
pressure and should take major credit for making this report concise
and readable. Scott Cooper and Karl Haglund of Editorial Associates,
Inc., worked day and night to put this report on the word processor
and contributed to the editorial work.
Our final and most important word of thanks goes to the women
who participated in these projects. Their courage and dedication are
primarily responsible for the successes that these projects enjoyed.
Their hospitality and cooperation throughout the life of the Program
made the research possible. The information that they so willingly
gave to the documentors and to program staff forms the heart of this
report. These women have more than repaid AID and Pathfinder for the
donation of cooperative resources, and we hope they realize that they
owe us no debt of gratitude.
Senior Research Analyst
On September 30, 1980, the Human Resources section of the Program
and Policy Coordination branch of the Agency for International Development
(AID/PPC/PDPR/HR)1 awarded a grant of $747,290 to The Pathfinder Fund
to carry out a three-year women's action-research program in Latin
America and the Caribbean. The program was called the Women in Develop-
ment: Projects, Evaluation, and Documentation (WID/PED) Program.
The purpose of the Program was to fund five women's action projects
through five local implementing agencies, for two to three years, and
document them intensively in order to generate qualitative data on
questions of interest to policymakers in development and population
planning in developing countries. The projects were also to serve as
models to generate information of use to program managers.
Two principal characteristics distinguish these five projects
from most other women's projects: They are group-owned productive
enterprises, and they operate in the formal economic sector.2 These
characteristics had major implications for training and for sustain-
ing the enterprises, and they had major impacts upon women's status,
gender relations, and social relations within the community.
Women's income-generating projects have often been characterized
by their failure to achieve self-sufficiency and their continued dependence
on implementing agencies. Consequently, a third characteristic of
these projects was the Program's design to identify factors contributing
to the achievement of self-sufficiency. One feature of this design
was the provision of grants, as opposed to loans, for capital equipment
(and in some cases, buildings), training, and initial production costs.
All five projects incorporated steps designed to lead to financial
and managerial self-sufficiency of the resulting enterprises.
For the research component, the Program contracted with indigenous
social scientists, or documentors, who collected data on a continuous
basis for three years with a focus on two major areas: the impact
of these projects on the women participants, their families, and their
communities; and the factors that contributed to the successes and
difficulties of these enterprises. Attention to the issue of self-
sufficiency was another principal focus of documentation.
IThe Human Resources section of AID is now the Institutional Policy
Division. The names and abbreviations of organizations affiliated
with the WID/PED Program are listed in the Glossary of this report.
2See page 28 for the definition of formal economic sector.
Policymakers have identified a need for qualitative data on the
dynamics of change in women's projects. Macro-level indicators of
the relationship between income and women's status, or between women's
work outside the home and fertility-related changes, have been contra-
dictory. The intensive and continuous collection of qualitative data
throughout the life of the projects ensured that insights were gained
into the dynamics of change in the behavior and attitudes of the women
participants and their families, and the dynamics of progress towards
project objectives. To promote comparability of data collection on
the five projects documentors were briefed as a group and employed
a standard research plan. (See the Appendix, page 77-86.)
These five enterprises presently benefit approximately one hundred
women who were illiterate or semi-literate when the projects began.
Few, if any, had ever worked in the formal economic sector, and none
were regularly active in the informal sector; they tended to rely on
occasional and seasonal means of earning cash, such as street vending,
agricultural labor, sewing, and domestic labor.
All five projects produce goods in quantity to be sold in the
formal market. They have had varying degrees of success. Training
and equipment were provided by a grant from The Pathfinder Fund; the
women's working capital and salaries are generated from their savings
of income from the use of the equipment and from a grant of an initial
stock of production supplies. Production in all five projects takes
place outside the home. In two cases the women own the site; the others
either rent or enjoy donated space. In all cases production is done
cooperatively, and in four cases, all of the tasks including marketing
and management are rotated by election. All the projects have been
or are in the process of being legally incorporated and having their
by-laws ratified. In most of the projects, their present operation
is based on one to two years of comprehensive training that sought
to achieve more than the transfer of productive, managerial, and marketing
skills; the training also sought to enable the women to understand
and analyze the various contexts in which they would use these skills
so that they would be able to deal with future unanticipated problems
and situations. Chapter Three describes this type of training in detail.
The five projects funded were
a metalworking enterprise in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil;
an ice cream factory in Limon, Costa Rica;
a poultry (egg production) cooperative in rural Honduras;
a bakery, also in rural Honduras;
a crafts and sewing enterprise in rural Jamaica.
The five implementing agencies were
Centro de Estudos Supletivos de Narandiba (CESUN), a government-
funded vocational education agency in Brazil;
Centro de Orientacion Familiar (COF), a development private
voluntary organization (PVO) in San Jose, Costa Rica;
Institute de Investigacion y Formacion Cooperativista (IFC),
a PVO that focuses on the reform sector of Honduras (working
with the poultry cooperative);
Pueblo to People, a small development PVO, and Federacion Hondurena
de Mujeres Campesinas (FEHMUC), a national women's peasant organiza-
tion (working with the bakery);
a local parish of the Jamaican Baptist Church.
Current Status of the Projects
In December 1984, two to three years after the inception of the
projects, all of them are still operating. Three of the five are generating
enough income to meet current expenses, and four have sufficient working
capital for cost-efficient production. One is producing a net profit
after allowing for depreciation expense. The principal obstacle to
long-term profitability in all of the projects is marketing. In four
projects, income could be increased if the women would sell in the
informal sector by street vending; most of the women refuse to do so
because of the low status of this marketing method.
Historically, many women's income-generating projects have suffered
from lack of access to credit. Four of these enterprises have achieved
a legal status that makes them eligible for credit; it is too soon
to tell whether this eligibility on paper will translate in the future
into access in reality. The fifth enterprise (the bakery) has ties
with a national peasant union that provides small loans to its members.
Impact of the Program on the Participants, Their Families, and Their
The results of the documentation over a two-and-a-half year period
demonstrate that the five income-generating projects had an enormous
impact on the lives of the women and their families. These projects
also had various degrees of impact upon their communities or regional
areas. The most significant impact directly resulted from the intensive
and comprehensive training in both productive and management skills
and from the status that accrued to the women from self-management
and ownership of the enterprises in the formal economic sector.
On the individual level, women in all five projects experienced
a dramatic increase in self-confidence, in assertiveness, and in their v
ability to make decisions and work harmoniously in a group. They learned
bookkeeping and managerial skills, as well as technical productive
skills, that will affect their future employability. Most projects
saw a definite increase in math skills and interest in formal schooling.
Four of the projects brought about changes directly or indirectly related
to fertility, such as increased literacy, increased use of birth control,
and delay of marriage. Family welfare was improved as women used
their income for children's education or for basic needs such as food
and medicine. Four of the projects showed evidence of changes in the
household division of labor and of increased participation by the women
in decision-making within the home, suggesting fundamental alterations
in gender relations between the women and their companions, husbands,
and fathers as a result of participation in these projects.
In many instances, women became more involved in activities benefiting
the whole community, such as planning day care centers. Some of these
activities were initiated by the project women themselves as an action
directed at community security or development.
Finally, national and regional institutions were influenced or
strengthened by learning from the experience of these projects.
Factors in the Success of Income-Generating Projects
Analysis of the data indicates that the comprehensive positive
impact of the program, and the continued operation of the enterprises
after funding ended, are related to the following factors in project
design and implementation.
Group Ownership and Self-Management: Group ownership promoted the
commitment of all members to the well-being of the enterprises, which
helped the projects weather financial and technical difficulties.
On several projects, group commitment was so strong that the women
continued working when there was no income. Paying salaries during
the training period was not advised because it encourages an "employee"
mentality; this meant, however, that the training schedule had to be
flexible to accommodate the women's need to engage in other cash-producing
Self-management necessitated intensive training but made financial
sense because the transfer of management from highly-paid professionals
to project members reduced the fixed costs of the enterprises, thus
increasing the potential for long-term financial self-sufficiency.
The combination of self-management and ownership was mainly responsible
for the dramatic and positive impact on the women's attitudes and behavior.
The women's involvement in decision-making from the beginning, as practice
for self-management, should be the rule; however, rigid adherence to
this rule before the women have sufficient experience and information
may put the project in jeopardy. The transition to self-management
is difficult, and concrete written plans for the transfer of responsibil-
ities from the implementing agency to the women should be drawn up
and discussed at an early stage.
Financial and Legal Issues: Those projects in which comprehensive
marketing and feasibility studies were done before funds were committed
to productive activities had a better chance of success. Local availability
of technical assistance was found to be crucial in the projects using
more sophisticated technology, so that equipment could be installed
and repaired, and the participants could receive high-quality training
in technical skills. The groups were allowed to reduce their membership
to a financially viable number so that all members received more income.
Most of the implementing agencies helped the groups formulate
by-laws during the training period. Furthermore, securing the appropriate
legal status for the enterprise made them eligible for credit and the
benefits of sectoral government programs, thus increasing the chances
of sustainability. The groups' legal status also allowed the transfer
of ownership of equipment and project resources from the implementing
agency to the women's groups.
Technology Transfer: Intensive on-the-job training was given by technicians
in all aspects of group production, management, and marketing. A key
element of this participatory and analytic training was practice in
evaluation, decision-making, group formation, and taking initiative.
Having this analytic training, or "consciousness-raising," before production
began was not found to be helpful; it was found to be most effective
when closely related to productive activities. Remedial help in basic
math, literacy skills, and accounting was necessary in many cases for
the transfer of technical and management skills, which took from two
to three years.
Functional and adequate equipment was an important factor in success,
as well as training women in its repair. Finding a local source for
future technical assistance was often problematic, yet found to be
These issues are discussed in greater detail in Chapter Two, "Impact
of the Projects on the Lives of the Participants"; Chapter Three, "Factors
in the Success of the Projects"; and in Chapter Five, "Recommendations
for Program Managers."
Recommendation for Policymakers in Evaluation
Process documentation should be used to gain in-depth information
on the implementation of programs and their impact. When possible,
it should be used as a feedback mechanism to the implementing and donor
Recommendations for Policymakers in Women-in-Development
Financial planning of women's enterprises should be given greater weight
than it has been in the past. This will avoid chronic problems in achieving
Separate training for women, whether or not the enterprises are to be
mixed or women-only, is advisable when the women are expected to participate
in management and when the skills being taught are not traditionally
* Women can be incorporated into non-traditional occupations with relative-
ly little resistance from family members so long as they are earning, or
have the potential to earn, a significant income. They often require
extra psychological support systems during this kind of training to
bolster their confidence, and attention must be focused on the attitudes
of the trainers themselves.
* Feasibility and marketing studies for women's projects should investigate
women's willingness to do "traditional" marketing methods, such as
street vending, which are often seen as low status.
Recommendations for Policymakers in Population
* Enterprises owned and run by women should be considered an effective
complement to the efforts of family planning agencies because they
often have a profound effect on factors indirectly related to women's
fertility, such as work outside the home, gender relations, interest
in formal schooling, employability, decision-making power within the
home, self-image, and expansion of attitudes about appropriate roles
* In adolescent projects, it is beneficial to combine participation in
production and management with the provision of sex education (including
information on contraceptives) because together these cause a dramatic
impact on reproductive attitudes and behavior and on interest in continuing
* This program was too short to gather definitive information on the
dynamics of change in factors directly related to fertility in women's
development projects. Longitudinal studies of the participants would
be necessary to determine the long-term effect of such projects on
Recommendations for Policymakers in Private Enterprise
* Eventual ownership and self-management of a small enterprise by a
group of low-income beneficiaries is a recommended part of project
design because it increases commitment and thus reduces risk.
* Adequate funds should be provided for comprehensive participatory
and analytic training in financial management and other administrative
skills, timed to coincide with production.
* Adequate funds for equipment should be allocated in budgets; short-
term savings at the expense of equipment quality puts the project at
risk of failure in the long term.
* Programs to create small group enterprises should cluster projects
geographically in order to reduce the administrative and training costs
* Because marketing is the main problem faced by small group enterprises,
adequate funds should be provided for prior marketing and feasibility
studies and for technical assistance in marketing during production.
* Allowance should be made in financial projections for the process
of learning self-management on the job.
* Group-owned enterprises are effective training sites for low-income
women to learn managerial and entrepreneurial skills.
I. STRUCTURE AND METHODOLOGY
On September 30, 1980, AID approved a grant of $747,290 to The
Pathfinder Fund to support five group enterprises for low-income women
in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its purpose was to document the
five projects for two-and-a-half years and to examine a number of questions
for policymakers in development and population planning.
The structure of the Program is shown on page 3, charting the
flow of resources, information, reporting responsibilities, and power
The WID/PED Program was conceived as an action-research program
by the Women's Programs Division of The Pathfinder Fund. They set
up a six-member Advisory Panel to guide the Program, particularly its
research component. The Panel was composed of personnel at the Fund
and professional social scientists. Both the action and research components
were coordinated at Pathfinder by the Program Coordinator.
In the action component, The Pathfinder Fund gave grants to five
local organizations to develop small, group-owned and self-managed
women's enterprises.1 The local implementing agencies' principal task
was to train the women in the projects in the productive and managerial
skills necessary to run an income-generating enterprise on their own
after two years. The agencies were in charge of coordinating the flow
of resources to the women's organizations, including overseeing construction
and purchase of equipment, and they had a close working relationship
with the women's groups. Project directors submitted quarterly progress
reports to The Pathfinder Fund that provided some financial information.
As this proved to be insufficient, a financial expert was sent to visit
the projects in the summer of 1984 to collect additional financial
In the research component, four indigenous social scientists,
or documentors, were hired to collect on-going qualitative data on
the development of the projects and their impact upon the participants,
their families and their communities according to a research plan devised
by the Advisory Panel. (One documentor was responsible for two of
Although the hiring of a Senior Research Analyst was not originally
planned, it became apparent in 1982 that it would be necessary to hire
a skilled social scientist to oversee the data collection and analyze
the information that was being generated in the project directors'
The projects and the implementing agencies are listed on page 4.
reports, in Pathfinder trip reports, and through process documentation.
The analyst was hired as a long-term consultant in April 1983.2
The Program was funded by the Human Resources section of the Program
and Policy Coordination branch of AID (AID/PPC/PDPR/IPD). Pathfinder
submitted quarterly reports to both AID/PPC and the relevant AID Missions
on the progress of the Program and the projects. There was an AID
Mission in each country in which the Program took place, with an officer
within each Mission who was responsible for overseeing the grant.
Both AID/Washington and the local AID Missions had power of concurrence
on each of the five projects.
The original timetable for the grant was three years: six months
for identifying and developing projects and securing approval of them
from AID Missions and AID/PPC; two years for project implementation;
and six months to conclude the Program objectives. It soon became
apparent that this timetable was unrealistic. The development stage
alone took more than a year. Some projects needed more than two years
of technical assistance to become self-sufficient. The Program was
therefore extended for one year, and then another three months. The
Program began in October 1980 and was completed in December 1984.
2The Senior Research Analyst was Dr. Libbet Crandon, Assistant Professor
of Anthropology at Columbia University, who was responsible for most
of the writing and analysis in this report.
AID Missions a
1111111N N N 111
p- Flow of funds and resources
a a a a a a a
Official flow of information
Power of concurrence
II. THE ACTION COMPONENT: THE FIVE PROJECTS
The five projects were
a metal-working group enterprise in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The
implementing agency was CESUN, a government-funded vocational education
an ice cream factory in Limon, Costa Rica. The implementing agency
was COF, a local development PVO;
a poultry (egg production) cooperative in rural Honduras. The imple-
menting agency was IFC, a local PVO that specialized in cooperative training
a bakery, also in rural Honduras. The implementing agencies were
Pueblo to People, a small development PVO, and FEHMUC, a national women's
a crafts and sewing enterprise in rural Jamaica. The implementing
agency was a local parish of the Jamaican Baptist Church.
All five projects shared the following characteristics, making the
Program a unique and rich source of information: (1) intensive and continuous
data collection throughout, called process documentation; (2) collective
production of goods outside the home within the formal economic sector;
(3) donation to the women's groups of start-up capital, equipment, and
training; (4) transfer of management skills and ownership of capital equipment
to low-income women's groups and attention to the process by which this
was achieved; (5) plans to achieve financial and managerial self-sufficiency
within two years.
Following is a brief description and financial summary of each project.3
Zahydee Machado Neto Metalworking Enterprise
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Fifteen women operate a metalworking project in the city of Salvador
that produces mainly utilitarian items. Twenty-eight women were originally
trained; six now work full-time, and nine are on temporary leave while a
second workshop site is located. Due to the recession in Brazil, current
production is concentrated on fences, supermarket shelves, and shower boxes.
The project was implemented in August 1982, by the Centro de Estudos Supletivos
de Narandiba (CESUN), a vocational and adult education training arm of the
The financial summaries of all but the Salvador project are based on a re-
port prepared by Tonia Papke of Rural Development Services in August 1984.
Copies of her report are available upon request from The Pathfinder Fund.
state government. CESUN was dissolved half-way through the project, but
the directors were able to continue their support. One year's formal training,
followed by technical assistance and additional classes as needed, included
remedial math, sexual education, creative design, and internships in a
commercial metalworking shop. The youth and inexperience of the parti-
cipants (who are in their teens and twenties), coupled with the lack of
a production site, led to a delay in initial production and a need for
technical assistance in marketing in the second year. In 1984, the State
of Bahia provided a rent-free production site to encourage and promote
the project. Some of the highlights of this project were
the successful training design that led to the hiring of four partici-
pants by outside firms before training was completed;
the enormous impact of the sexual education course that increased
the women's sense of personal autonomy as well as their use
of birth control;
a radical change in gender relations.
Zahydee Machado Neto Metalworking Enterprise
1. Level of Funding -- Year One (8/82-8/83) US $19,800
Year Two (8/83-8/84) US $1,500
2. Membership -- Year One 28
Year Two 15
As of December 1984, a complete financial analysis of this project was
not available. After numerous delays, the women signed a contract with
a supermarket chain in November 1984. The financial results of this first
large contract are not yet available. The project has a small amount of
working capital, which is sufficient because the client pays the project
for raw materials and supplies at the beginning of each contract.
Helados PIN Ice Cream Factory
Limon, Costa Rica
Approximately twelve women (out of fourteen who began with the project)
produce ice cream. In the summer of 1984, they began to produce popsicles
as well, and there is the potential for further diversification. These
women are primarily young and married with children. The project was imple-
mented in January 1982 by the Centro de Orientacion Familiar (COF), a develop-
ment organization in San Jose and its branch in Limon. This enterprise
is linked to the Limon Women's Organization, a consortium of income-generating
projects to which the national government has recently given a large grant
for site construction, which would house the ice cream factory along with
the other women's activities.
The participatory training involved the women in activity selection
and a feasibility study from the outset. Three chronic problems and their
resolution were monitored carefully by the documentor: equipment failure,
ethnic tension, and communication between Limon and San Jose. Presently
self-sufficient and self-managed, the women are able to cover their current
expenses and pay themselves a small minimum wage. Failure to cover depreciation
expenses was due in part to their less than optimum performance in marketing,
which is presently limited to approximately twenty-five percent of its
potential. The principal need for continued technical assistance is in
the area of marketing. A few of the highlights that were documented in
this project included
the degree of commitment generated by the promise of self-management
and group ownership that kept women working during periods of inadequate
or no income;
evidence of the effectiveness of participatory and analytic training
increased participation of women in decision making in the household
and increased participation of men in domestic responsibilities
Helados PIN Ice Cream Factory
1. Level of Funding -- Year One (1982) -- US $36,479
Year Two (1983) -- US $33,030
Year Three (1984) -- US $7,500
2. Membership -- Year One -- 16
Year Two -- 10
Year Three -- 12
3. Average Monthly Sales Volume, 1983 -- 17,000 units
Average Monthly Sales Volume, 1984 24,000 units
4. Break-even point -- 30,343 units @ C 3.5/month
Sales Volume, 8/84 -- 26,000 units
5. Average Monthly Pay -- C 1,500 (US $36)
6. Working Capital on Hand -- Equipment -- C 262,269
Cash on Hand -- 3,700
Cash on hand is not sufficient to purchase sugar at 10% wholesale
discount. Some surplus equipment should be sold to provide more
7. Income Statement
NET INCOME FROM THE SALE OF POPSICLES
February 1983 May 1984
INCOME C 359,229 C 499,722
Direct Labor 179,023 109,422
Direct Materials 152,372 210,045
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES 62,281 166,646
NET CASH INCOME (34,447) 13,609
DEPRECIATION 18,366 44,132
PROFIT OR (LOSS) C (52,813) C (30,523)
Discussion: The financial situation improved considerably from the first
to the second period. Losses dropped from 14.7% of sales to 6.1% of sales.
This improvement was due to a 39% increase in income from sales and a drop
in labor costs from 50% of sales to 21.9%.
Current Problems and Recommendations: The group's most critical problem
is marketing. They must increase marketing efforts to increase sales,
which is the only way they will be able to cover their depreciation expenses.
A secondary need is to increase liquid working capital so that they can
purchase more raw materials wholesale.
* Exchange rate: 42 Colones (C) to US $1.00
Las Tres Hermanas Poultry Cooperative
Thirty women formed the first legally-recognized women's cooperative
within Honduras' reform sector. From two barns provided with locally-available,
modern poultry-raising equipment for 1,800 chickens each, the women sell
eggs to a wholesaler who drives weekly to the site from Tegucigalpa. These
women are the wives and daughters of the members of a men's cooperative
that was formed and gained land through the agrarian reform process. The
implementing agency, the Instituto de Investigacion y Formacion Cooperativista
(IFC), is a training institute that supports cooperatives in the reform
sector. The cooperative members receive ten percent of the eggs for consumption
or sale, which doubles the amount of cash income available to their families.
The cooperative also provides credit to its members on a revolving loan
basis. In 1983 and again in 1984, it loaned a thousand to fifteen hundred
dollars to the men's cooperative at eleven and thirteen percent interest
This project started in November 1981 and is now self-managed and finan-
cially self-sufficient. Because the site is rural, the cooperative also
faces a potential marketing problem should its present arrangement fall
through. Recently, it has faced a severe drop in the price of eggs due
to imports from Guatemala and El Salvador. However, the women, who now
make frequent trips to the capital, found and joined a national poultry-
producers' organization with the intent of lobbying the government to stop
imports and increase the price of eggs. Some of the results of this project
the identification of conditions under which an implementing
organization should intervene in management decisions;
the impact of cooperative membership on literacy;
evidence of the extent to which rural, previously-isolated women
can mobilize economic and political resources to protect their
Las Tres Hermanas Poultry Cooperative
1. Level of Funding -- Year One (11/81-12/82) -- US $47,099
Year Two (1/83-12/83) -- US $43,229
2. Membership -- Year One -- 30-35
Year Two -- 30-35
Year Three -- 30-35
3. Average Monthly Sales Volume Per Coop -- 29,250 eggs
(about L 3,656*)
There are two coops; this figure does not include the six months needed
to bring chickens to the laying stage.
4. Break-even Point -- 280 eggs/year/hen x 1,600 hens
Production Volume, 8/84 -- 270 eggs/year/hen
5. Average Monthly Pay per Worker -- L 16.75/month
(for one week's work)
6. Working Capital on Hand -- Buildings & Equipment -- L 70,793
-- Accounts Receivable -- 2,306
-- Cash on Hand -- 13,671
The cash on hand is sufficient to fill the next empty coop with day-
old chicks and bring them to maturity.
7. Income Statement
NET INCOME FROM SECOND CHICKEN COOP
September 1983 March 1984
Sale of Eggs L 23,364
Sale of Feed Bags 28 L 23,662
Purchase of Chicks (1) 1,755
Concentrate (1) 13,392
Medicines (1) 790
Other (1) 219 32,522
NET CASH INCOME (July 31, 1984) (8,860)
PROJECTED INCOME TO MARCH 1985
Sale of Eggs (2) 20,000
Sale of Hens (3) 3,000 23,000
PROJECTED CASH EXPENSES TO MARCH 1985
Concentrate (4) 15,718
Medicine 300 16,018
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES 1,461
PROJECTED NET CASH INCOME (3,339)
DEPRECIATION (17 months) 3,313
PROFIT OR (LOSS) (L 6,652)
(1) paid by IFC
(2) 1300 hens with half of laying capacity remaining
(.50)(270 eggs/year)(1300 hens)
(3) Sale of 1200 hens at L 2.50/each
(4) 1300 hens consuming .25 pound of concentrate
for 183 days at L 26.50/quintal
Discussion: This loss resulted in a large amount of cash on hand because
many expenses were paid for out of the grant during the second year of
funding. The loss from this second year is a 30% improvement over the
first year, when production in the first coop suffered from the women's
Current Problems and Recommendations: The critical financial situation
of the group is mainly caused by a drop in the price of eggs; when the
project was designed, the price was much higher. The cooperative can cut
its losses by further reducing mortality, by changing the composition of
the feed, and by shortening the productive cycle so that the hens are sold
immediately after their peak laying period. This last solution cannot
be implemented until the current shortage of day-old chicks in Honduras
* Exchange rate: 2.3 Lempiras (L) to US $1.00
Luces de Orientacion Bakery
This project began as a solar-dried fruit project that failed. Presently,
fifteen women, mostly young with children, run a bakery and sell to retailers
in nearby cities as well as to the local population from their own homes.
The project was begun in January 1982 by Pueblo to People, a small
development organization, who withdrew in December 1983. Pueblo to People
chose this group of women because they were affiliated with Federacion
Hondurena de Mujeres Campesinas (FEHMUC), a national women's peasant federation,
which provides some on-going assistance and revolving loans. This project
was characterized by the lack of formal training, a marked grass-roots,
hands-off approach, and a minimum of financial support, based on Pueblo
to People's philosophy that less intervention and investment would lead
to greater commitment to the enterprise. Production skills were developed
through an internship with another bakery in Tegucigalpa. The need for
training in accounting and marketing led to on-site training by a Peace
Corps Volunteer throughout the second half of the project, and other technical
This enterprise, more than any other, has suffered financially from
the women's reluctance to sell in the streets and from internal disputes
over leadership and the consequential lack of local support. Local stores
have so far refused to buy the product. Other marketing problems stem
from inadequate marketing strategies. The women are financially self-suffi-
cient, though their incomes are small, and are committed to their bakery
the way it is. Some of the highlights of the project included
the recognition of the need for technical assistance and training
in management and marketing;
the determination that high turnover of members was not related
to incompatibility between work and domestic responsibilities, but
rather to disputes over leadership;
* the degree of commitment of the women to the enterprise in spite
of low income, when its leadership is supported by all the members.
Luces de -Orientacion Bakery
1. Level of Funding
-- Year One (1/82-1/83)
-- US $24,344
The project was extended at no extra cost for fifteen months after
- Year One (1982)
- Year Two (1983)
- Year Three (1984)
3. Average Monthly Sales Volume, 1983
Average Monthly Sales Volume, 1984
4. Break-even Point
(@ L 1.00/bag)
-- L 822*
-- 1,015 bags of bread
The break-even point would be higher (2,396 bags) if women were paid
the rural minimum wage.
5. Average Monthly Pay
(at 6-10 working days/month)
6. Working Capital -- Buildings and Equipment
Cash on Hand
-- L 2.43/day
-- L 14,432
Cash on hand is sufficient to buy flour and sugar wholesale. The project
needs to purchase a cart and horse or burro, and cash on hand could
also cover part of this cost.
7. Income Statement
NET INCOME FROM THE SALE OF BAKED GOODS
November 1983 July 1984
INCOME L 3,721 L 3,049
Direct Labor 1,198 923
Direct Materials 2,429 2,203
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES 58 8
NET O@ASH INCOME 36 (85)
DEPRECIATION 423 254
PROFIT OR (LOSS) L (387) L (339)
Discussion: Reduced sales are due to increased problems with marketing
after the departure of the Peace Corps Volunteer.
Current Problems and Recommendations: The bakery must drastically increase
sales through new marketing methods if it is going to provide significant
income to its members and cover depreciation expenses. Specifically, it
has been recommended that they buy a horse and cart so that marketing can
be carried out on a regular basis.
* Exchange rate: 2.3 Lempiras (L) to US $1.00
The Sewing and Crafts Enterprise
Thirty women (out of sixty who began) belong to this enterprise, which
produces crafts for the local tourist market and clothing for local institutions
such as schools. The enterprise is affiliated with the local Baptist parish,
which instituted the project in December 1981, and is divided into three
production sites in three communities within the church's circuit. These
women are primarily older women with grown families and unemployed or under-
employed husbands, and most are members of the parish. Unlike the other
projects, training for the majority of the women was limited to production
skills, while management and marketing responsibilities were delegated
by the implementing organization to a few already-trained members. The
women are paid a piece rate, with a percentage of the income from each
item reserved for a small stipend to support the administrative staff.
Now that the project is self-sufficient, much of the administration and
marketing is labor donated by the committed members. Marketing problems
have resulted from nature of the products, which are over-produced in Jamaica.
Because the enterprise is affiliated with the church, it is perhaps the
most stable of all the five enterprises. Some of the issues with this
the nature of self-sufficiency and self-management of an enterprise
affiliated with a religious community;
the relationship between entrepreneurial activity and the distance
of the three sites from church authority;
the degree to which the social benefits of participation in the
enterprise outweigh the financial benefits in the minds of the parti-
The Sewing and Crafts Cooperative
1. Level of Funding
-- Year One (11/81-10/82) -- US $36,467
-- Year Two (11/82-10/83) -- US $25,139
-- Year One -- 60-45
-- Year Two -- 30
-- Year Three -- 20-30
3. Monthly Sales Volume, 1984
Monthly Sales Volume, 1983
4. Monthly Break-even Point
-- JA $3,414
-- JA $2,881
-- JA $3,949
This figure includes the cost of administrative salaries, which are not
presently being paid.
5. Average Monthly Pay -- JA $23.57
(part-time and piece rate)
6. Working Capital on Hand
-- Cash on Hand
-- JA $12,400
The cost of additional machines totalling JA $1,700 and new supplies
will be covered by by cash on hand.
6. Income Statement
NET INCOME FROM SALES OF HANDICRAFTS AND CLOTHING
January 1982 July 1984
NET CASH INCOME
PROFIT OR (LOSS)
RETURN ON SALES
Discussion: The project
for the former year.
shows a healthy return on
this year that had been
Current Problems and Recommendations: In order
proposed administrative expenses, the project
and to do so must find new distribution outlets
practice of paying women by the piece will ensure
sales, even after covering
paid by external funding
to cover depreciation and
must increase production
SContinuing the current
:he preservation of working
I~_______ __ ______ _____ ____V __ ____
III. THE RESEARCH COMPONENT
FOCUS OF THE RESEARCH PLAN
The research plan concentrated on the impact of the project on the
participants themselves, on their families, and on their communities.
It also posed questions about factors responsible for each project's success.
(See the Appendix, pages 77-86.)
THE IMPACT OF THE PROJECTS
Impact on the Individual
One of the purposes of the research was to determine the impact on
the women's perception of themselves, their role in the family and in the
community, their mastery of educational skills, and their control over
financial resources. Changes were documented in self-confidence, ability
to take initiative and assume responsibility, capacity to work within a
group, and aspirations not only for themselves but also for their daugh-
ters. Their attitudes about their roles within their own households were
documented, as well as changes in their decision-making power. Time-management
strategies were also analyzed. Educational and skill levels and financial
needs were documented over time. Obstacles to their control over the enterprise
were analyzed within the socio-economic context of the project.
A frequent obstacle to women's involvement in activities outside the
home is community or family intolerance of variation in female roles.
While some of the projects were traditional female activities such as food
processing, they were all non-traditional in that production was outside
the home, and the enterprises were group-owned. This report provides detailed
information on the ways women expanded their opportunities, the degree
of resistance they encountered at home and in their communities, and the
training that helped them cope with that resistance.
Impact on the Family
Absence from home, extra income, and increased independence of the
women caused definite changes in family dynamics and support systems.
The benefits to the family, the division of labor among members, family
opposition or support, and other attitudes of family members were examined.
Impact on the Community
Increased participation by the women in the political and economic
life of the community was examined, including initiatives in child care
facilities. In some cases, changes in women's expectations of themselves
and their roles in society changed their actual roles within the community
and the region. The report also describes how the projects influenced
other institutions in the region and the community. (See the project histories
and Chapters Two and Four for details.)
FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS OF THE FIVE PROJECTS
Through qualitative data collection, the Program aimed to gather detailed
information about how certain components of the projects promoted or hindered
their eventual success. The definition of success here is not narrowly
confined to the financial or business realm but also includes social, political,
and educational benefits derived by the participants from their involvement
with the project. Three areas were examined: (1) progress toward ownership
and self-management; (2) financial and logistical issues; (3) technology
transfer through training.
Group Management and Ownership
Strategies for transferring responsibility from local agencies to the
women's groups were built into the project design and analyzed in the research.
Management and ownership by the women was examined to determine its role
in generating commitment, increasing status, and motivating the women to
learn skills. (See the project histories and Chapters Three and Five.)
Financial and Logistical Issues
The research analyzed how women in the enterprises learned to work
with the local governments to obtain legal status, credit, and technical
assistance. The effectiveness of market and feasibility studies done in
the planning stage of the Program was examined. Problems with transpor-
tation, utilities, and unforeseen scarcities are discussed, along with
other obstacles to success, such as lack of child care facilities and the
women's lack of income during the training period. The report examines
the extent to which the women were willing to incur opportunity costs in
return for social, psychic, and political benefits. (See the project histories
Technology Transfer Through Training
Training had to address not only the teaching of new productive and
managerial skills but also had to make up for lacks in basic educational
skills, experience, and self-confidence. The research examined the methodology
used to achieve this goal. Called participatory and analytic training in
this report, this methodology is a learning process that helps participants
identify and analyze problems, and arrive at solutions, in job-related
situations. The documentation shows when literacy and math training were
added to achieve the goals of managerial self-sufficiency. (See the project
histories and Chapters Three and Five.)
The research methodology used in this program is known as process
documentation.4 This strategy involves on-going collection of data by
local social scientists about the projects' implementation and impact.
It differs from the more common uses of social science in action projects,
which provide input into planning before implementation begins or assist
in evaluation after most of the work is finished. Its distinguishing character-
istic is its continuous, on-going nature, which allows observation of changes
over time. Its use recognizes that no one can foresee how local realities ,
will alter and affect project plans.
When originally developed, process documentation was a tool for feeding
back information about activities in pilot sites both to the participants
and to the implementing agency. In the Program's adaptation of process
documentation, the main focus of the documentor's work was the research
plan, not feedback to the agency. Early in the Program, the Advisory Panel
formulated a standard research plan for all five projects based on gaps
in the literature on women's development projects. (See the appendix for
the full text of the plan.) Because research had a high priority in this
action-research program, the documentors were hired by Pathfinder and reported
directly to the Program Coordinator. At first, Pathfinder did not feed
back the data to local implementing agencies. Over time, input from the
project directors and the process documentors themselves led to a moderation
of this strategy--a combination of research and feedback.
IMPLEMENTATION AND COST OF PROCESS DOCUMENTATION
Pathfinder's primary goal,was to gather complete, comparative data
that could be used to influence development policymakers and planners.
The analysis of the data, which gave a blow-by-blow account of progress
and turning points in the projects, served two purposes: (1) to explain
why and how a project did or did not achieve its main objective--a cooperative,
self-sustaining enterprise; and (2) to document the impact of the project
on women participants, their families, and their communities.
4This section was written by Judith F. Helzner.
The term process documentation was coined by Frances Korten of the Ford
Foundation during her work in the Philippines with the National Irrigation
Administration. Though on-going data collection about development projects
is not a new idea, the innovation in Korten's work was the continuous feed-
back into the project implementation process. This documentation was seen
as an essential tool for the "learning process approach" to development
As potential projects were being identified during the start-up period
of the Program, Pathfinder interviewed candidates for process documentor
positions. Pathfinder explained that process documentors were not evaluators
and that continued funding would not be affected by their reports. Project
directors were asked to approve the selection. Four women were eventually
hired, one of whom covered both Honduras projects. The process documentors
were local social scientists with Master's degrees who were hired as consult-
ants. By hiring local social scientists for a long-term assignment, the
Program helped to increase the research capacity within each country in
/ analysis of gender-related issues, particularly as these affect women's
participation in economic activities.
The process documentors were asked to spend eleven days per quarter
S(a total of forty-four days per year) working for Pathfinder. At least
seventy percent of the time was to be spent in the field, with the remainder
used for writing results. The process documentors concentrated on the
collection of qualitative data throughout the life of the project. Their
methodology included observation while working and sharing activities with
the women; observation alone; extensive group and individual interviews
(both structured and open) at the project sites and at women's homes; question-
naires (usually administered orally); and the review of project records
kept by both the women's groups and by the project staff.
To answer the question of the impact of the project on the women's
long-term mastery of educational skills and their control over productive
resources, documentors collected observational and interview data on the
women's level of competence at various tasks, the degree of responsibility
that they assumed or were allowed to assume in management, and the self-
sufficiency of the enterprise. To answer the question of the project's
impact on the women's perceptions of themselves and their role in the family
and the community, documentors concentrated on collecting the perceptions
of the women themselves, and their families.
Documentors were encouraged to focus on the issues in the research
plan and to indicate in their reports when they were presenting their own
observations or opinions as opposed to those of the participants.
Each process documentor sent quarterly reports directly to the Coordinator
of the Program in its Boston headquarters. Local project directors did
not have control over or access to contents of the documentors' reports.
The implications of this structure are examined in more detail below under
Research vs. Feedback. (See page 21.)
This was a regional program with the goal of producing comparative
findings. To ensure comparability of the data in the five projects, two
meetings were held for the process documentors and Pathfinder staff to
discuss the research plan and appropriate methodology for collecting data
on each question. The first meeting was attended by all of the project
directors and process documentors. The second, a year later, was for docu-
mentors alone. These critical sessions ensured that everyone understood
the broad goals of the Program beyond the implementation of the particular
cooperatives. Documentors were able to discuss their methodologies for
collecting data, to ask questions about the rationale behind the research
plan, and to share their experiences in observing progress without becoming
involved in implementation. Authorship guidelines were also agreed upon.
The give-and-take of the discussions among all the documentors and some
Advisory Panel members was indispensable for a common understanding of
the research plan. It also helped bridge the distance between the documentors
and the United States agency to which they reported.
Each process documentor was paid between seventy-five and one hundred
dollars per day for her services. At forty-four days per year, the fees
totalled $3300 to $4400 annually per project. Travel expenses to the project
sites and costs such as typing and photocopying were also covered. To
these costs should be added the time of the Advisory Panel during the Program,
Pathfinder staff time in supervising documentation, and the expense of
final data analysis and write-up of results. The total costs of process
documentation were well within the range usually budgeted for the evaluation
of action projects. Results were more comprehensive than those provided
by other methods and were available on an ongoing basis.
ADVANTAGES OF PROCESS DOCUMENTATION
Process documentation provides an in-depth, on-going view of social
and economic processes that makes it possible to see change as it occurs
and to understand its causes. It is thus an effective tool for gathering
qualitative data; it also produces data that cannot be obtained by retrospective
Process documentation makes the views of participants available
and clarifies the impact of the project on participants, their families,
and their communities. This is possible because the long-term association
of the documentor with the participants allows her to gain their trust
Process documentation raises issues not originally expected to
be important and brings to light information that may not surface in other
Examples of these advantages can be found in each of the five project
histories. The process documentor for the bakery project was the first
to raise the issue of political tensions between the local women's group
and the national parent organization. This recognition led to an understanding
of the reasons for the high drop-out rate, which might otherwise have been
incorrectly attributed to a conflict with domestic duties or to some other
cause. The Jamaica documentor was the first to point out the links between
religion and patterns of authority on the project. In this case, an under-
standing of culturally appropriate behavior led to the recognition that
the project is not a welfare activity as it might appear to an outsider
but is in fact having profound effects on its participants. Process documentors
clarified the escalation of ethnic tensions in the Costa Rica project when
participatory and analytic training ended and identified the pressures
that caused the women in the Honduran poultry farm to consider premature
distribution of earnings. Process documentation, then, can provide a more
complete picture by finding the logic behind seemingly irrational behavior.
The value of the results was, in Pathfinder's view, certainly worth its
relatively moderate cost. (See Cost of Process Documentation, p. 17.)
Determination of Key Issues
One social scientist has described two means of determining concepts
to guide the research of process documentors: (1) a prior selection of
issues based on both social science literature and the pro ects' goals
and (2) concerns that emerge in the course of the research. The Program
used both of these means, as process documentors provided input after the
research plan was originally devised by the Advisory Panel.
In 1980 and 1981, the Advisory Panel brainstormed possible priorities
for investigation, considering both the state of social science knowledge
and the evidence likely to arise from the projects. The resulting plan
focused on women's involvement in productive enterprises and addressed
key unanswered questions that the data from implementation of the five
projects helped to answer. The plan was also discussed with grant monitors
The documentors, individually and as a group at annual meetings, lobbied
for the addition of certain research issues and a change in the definitions
of some questions. For example, they jointly proposed a redefinition of
"success" and "failure" because of the positive personal transformations
that they saw in some of the project participants, even in those projects
that were not yet financially off the ground. Indeed, the documentors
were the source of the data that led to the Advisory Panel's understanding of
the importance of participatory and analytic training, which was not detailed
in the program design or in project directors' reports. (See Chapter Three.)
Individual documentors included information that Pathfinder might
never have known. Using a traditional evaluation methodology, some of
the information would not have been available until much later and would
have been handled superficially. For example, the documentor in Honduras
detailed the pervasive influence of the hacienda adjacent to the Sorata
poultry farm and its political and economic relationship to the community.
This relationship affected the poultry project's work schedule, leadership
patterns, and decision-making mechanisms, factors that threatened the project's
stability. All of the documentors were able to describe how the internal
5Romana P. de los Reyes, "Process Documentation: Social Science Research
in a Learning Process Approach to Program Development," paper prepared
for the Social Development Management Network Meeting, New York, 1983,
p. 5. She was involved with Korten's work in the Phillipines. (See
note 4, page 16.)
dynamics of the women's groups led to the development of self-management
capabilities and, ultimately, to increased status and decision-making power.
In summary, the interchange between Advisory Panel and process documentors
led to the inclusion both of a priori issues and of concerns raised by
local outside observers in establishing a comprehensive data base.
Research vs. Feedback: The Role of the Documentor
Striking a balance between objectivity for research purposes and feedback
of data for monitoring purposes is a key issue in process documentation.
At first, this Program gave sole emphasis to the research aspect of documen-
tation, and the documentors were specifically asked not to share their
written reports with project directors or with any other member of the
implementing agency's staff. This is a significant difference from other
process documentation situations where participants and the local implementing
agency are the primary users of the information collected.
As time passed, however, the process documentors found it difficult
to stay within their role as outside observers, or researchers. Long-term,
intimate association with participants eventually led all of the documentors
to become involved to some degree in implementing the project. In some
cases, the documentor became a kind of go-between, linking the women and
the project staff, serving as a mouthpiece for the women. In other cases,
advocacy took the form of complaints to Pathfinder and pressure on its
staff to intervene at critical points. Some documentors made specific
suggestions to the project staff, actively participating in group meetings,
suggesting solutions to problems, and even lending money to the women for
additional start-up capital.
The most extreme example of process documentor intervention was in
the Costa Rica project. After the departure of the project director, who
had been responsible for the participatory and analytic training that had
so helped to ease tensions between two ethnic groups, all the women of
one ethnic group quit the project. The process documentor, realizing that
the project might fail if she didn't intervene, called a group meeting
and led the women in an evaluation of their problems and in developing
solutions. (See the project history, pages 121-122.)
All four documentors were able to recognize the ambivalence and the
difficulty of their position, which they discussed in regional meetings
held by the Program.
Because the objectivity needed for accurate research was a higher
priority than feedback to the implementors, the process documentors reported
directly to Pathfinder, which allowed the process documentors to present
frank, uncensored information. This arrangement had both advantages and
disadvantages. The motivating assumption--which was borne out by experience--
was that the viewpoint of the documentor and of the participants may differ
significantly from that of the project staff, allowing information to surface
that would have remained hidden otherwise. Logically, the implementing
agencies want to present their projects in the best possible light to a
funding agency. They have an emotional stake in the well-being of the
project and are understandably inclined to look on the bright side. To
a degree, their reputations are at stake, both with this particular funding
agency and with the development community in general. Not only are project
staff sometimes too busy to write detailed reports, but they may not be
trained as social scientists. Even if they were interested in doing on-
going documentation themselves, the results would not be the same as when
specially selected outsiders are used.
The sometimes contradictory pictures of the same subject from process
documentors and project directors are the major reward of this approach.
In each project different perspectives on major issues) can be juxtaposed
to demonstrate how incomplete the picture would have been if just the project
directors' reports had been available. For example:
Project Director (about a Peace Corps Volunteer): "She is really
good and works at their [the women's] pace, and is not patron-
izing. The volunteer is training the women really well She
has helped set up their bookkeeping system."
Process Documentor: the volunteer does not play a direct role
in transfer of skills, mostly because of communication difficulties
.Her Spanish is still very elementary she managed all of
the project funds and began to centralize all decision-making, which
provoked tensions and bad feelings on many occasions, especially among
the leaders of the women's group."
These observations also illustrate the advantages of on-going over retro-
spective evaluation. If the documentor had not been able to observe the
volunteer at work first-hand, the information on her effectiveness as a
trainer may never have come to light.
While there are advantages in keeping the documentors' reports confi-
dential, there are also disadvantages that tend to obstruct the documentor's
access. Making the documentor independent of the local implementing agency
has the obvious drawback of increasing the already existing potential for
tension between project staff and documentor. Even where the process documentor
reports directly to the implementing agency, there may be tensions between
field staff and the documentor. (See note 5.) Despite repeated insistence
to the contrary, in this Program project staff tended to see the documentor
as an evaluator, or as a "spy" for Pathfinder.
To protect the documentor and to ensure cooperation, Pathfinder acted
only on information from the documentor that had been mentioned in the
project director's reports. In other cases, the Program Coordinator found
it necessary to write letters to project staff asking leading questions
and only sometimes receiving responses that verified the documentor's report.
During the Program, Pathfinder modified the process documentation
strategy in two ways: by adding feedback to the original research goals
and by adding strategies that reduced tensions between the documentor and
the project director. Regular informal discussions between documentor
and project director, at first left to the discretion of those involved,
was later encouraged by Pathfinder, to ease tensions caused by lack of
communication. Although sharing of written reports was originally discouraged,
this policy was later modified in response to requests from process documentors
and project directors. Documentors were told that they could show their
reports to project staff if they wished. They could then write a separate
letter to Pathfinder with any additional, controversial observations.
Two of the documentors did this at various times.
Evolution toward a greater use of process documentors' data as feedback
for project management was triggered primarily by the projects' need for
additional resources. For example, Pathfinder offered the Limon ice cream
factory extra money to help solve the problem of faulty equipment after
the documentor's report emphasized the gravity of the problem. After the
Charguita bakery's need for training in accounting was made clear by the
documentor, Pathfinder stressed its importance to the implementing agency.
It is important to note, however, that process documentors' recommendations
should be carefully assessed before taking action, as documentors generally
are not technically expert in the project's specialty. Like everyone,
they have their own strongly-held views. More direct feedback from the
process documentors would not necessarily have been better, and documentors
were not automatically be assumed to be correct. Relationships among docu-
mentors, project directors, and project participants were complex, changing
over time. For example, as the Sorata poultry project unfolded, the documentor
became far more sympathetic to what she had originally perceived as an
inappropriately authoritarian stance on the part of the implementing agency.
Process documentation helps donor organizations assess whether or
not a particular funding strategy is achieving its objectives. Implementing
agencies (whether private or governmental) can take project participants'
views into account in decision-making, and can understand the work of field
staff. There are advantages and disadvantages to the reporting relationships
and information flow channels described above. Donors or planners must
determine what best fits their particular goals. The decision about the
role of the process documentor--to what extent she or he is a researcher,
or a provider of feedback--must be based on the relative merits of each
role in a given situation. Because process documentors may not remain
completely within the parameters of the research role, decisions on the
quantity and quality of guidance for documentors are made more than once.
In summary, the major selling point of the process documentation method-
ology is the complete picture it provides of action and impact at the field
level. While allowing collection of data on quantitative methods, process
documentation lends itself to obtaining rich qualitative data. Furthermore,
by establishing an on-going relationship with the participants, the documentor
is able to represent their perceptions much more thoroughly than other
evaluation strategies could. Finally, contrasting views of process documentor
and project director on key issues can be extremely useful.
The process documentation methodology used by the Program is an extremely
valuable and versatile research and monitoring strategy. It can make
information available on the views of the project participants themselves;
the complexities of the process of social and economic change; and the
impact of a project on participants, their families, and their communities.
6The InterAmerican Foundation (IAF) learned of The Pathfinder Fund's use
of process documentation in 1982. IAF tried an adaptation of the methodology
on an experimental basis, in one country, for one year. The experiment
was evaluated as being quite successful in its goal of helping the Country
Representatives to monitor the progress of grants. Many of the same issues
raised in this chapter were identified by IAF: the lack of clarity (and
sometimes suspicion) on the part of project staff about the process documen-
tor's role, the need for the documentors to find an appropriate balance
between technical assistance and observation, the need for fairly extensive
briefing by the donor agency of the documentors, etc. The use of process
documentors has been extended by IAF for another year and enlarged to include
twelve documentors covering twenty projects.
IMPACT OF THE PROJECTS ON THE LIVES OF THE PARTICIPANTS
Documentation over a two-and-a-half-year period shows that the
five projects had an enormous impact on the women's lives, and therefore
on their families and their communities. Social relations, familial
welfare, concepts of women's and men's roles, and economic activity
were fundamentally altered. These changes were carefully monitored
through the step-by-step history that the documentation provided. Links
between project participation and these multiple effects of the change
in women's status were clearly observed.1
The Program selected indicators for each community that were both
measurable and appropriate to that community; not all were equally
relevant to all the women. Taken together, the indicators of increased
a reported sense of increased self-worth and competence;
further education in the local school system;
increased math skills;
changes in decision-making patterns in the household;
changes in the division of labor in the household;
increased participation by the women in community activities;
increased use of contraception;
increased familial well-being through expenditure of income
on children's education or other basic needs;
The term status as used in sociology and in this report refers to prestige,
control over resources, power in relationships with men, and decision
making in marital relationships, the family, and the community (Karen
Oppenheim Mason, "The Status of Women, Fertility, and Mortality: A
Review of Inter-relationships," Research Report No. 84-58, 1984, Population
Studies Center, University of Michigan). This differs from demographers'
use of the word to refer to an aggregate of statistics, e.g. degree
of literacy, age of marriage, participation in the labor force, etc.
reduction of the "double day" phenomenon2 through reallocation
the presence of a self-initiated child care center attached
to the production site;
the provision of jobs or income for others in the community
regional or national attention gained by the cooperative.
The following chart shows the projects on which these indicators
have been found. The increase in status consisted of changes in gender
relations and social relations favorable to the women in question.
2The term double day refers to the two full-time responsibilities working
women often face: employment and domestic responsibilities. It has
usually been assumed that men will not share domestic tasks, leaving
women with the full double burden.
INDICATORS OF INCREASED STATUS AND PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING
DOCUMENTED IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS
Jamaica Brazil Costa Honduras Honduras
____ __ _Rica Poultry Bakery
Increased literacy Yes N/A Yes
Further education in
the school system Yes Yes
Increased math skills Yes Yes Yes Yes
Change in decision-
making in household N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
Change in division of
labor in household N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
in community activities Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reported sense of in-
and competence Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Increased use of birth
control N/A Yes N/A Yes Yes
Increased familial well-
being through expendi-
ture of income on
and/or familial basic
needs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reduction of the "double
day" N/A N/A Yes Yes
Child care center attach-
ed to production site (Yes) (Yes)
Child care center being
planned Yes Yes Yes
jobs or income to
others in the community Yes Yes
Project has attracted
state or national
attention Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
N/A indicates that issue isn't applicable because the condition was
already present; see the project histories.
(Yes) indicates that in Sorata efforts to get a child care center resulted
in the establishment of a lactario or milk distribution center that
also serves lunch; in Charguita the child care center has been temporarily
closed down until a fence around the play yard can be completed. CARE
and CARITAS provide or have provided lunch for both programs. So im-
pressed with Sorata is CARE that they have proposed an expansion of
the lactario into a day care center.
CHANGES IN STATUS DOCUMENTED IN
FIRST TWO YEARS
Jamaica Brazil Costa Honduras Honduras
Rica Poultry Bakery
Changes in gender
relations N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
Changes in social
relations Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Research results gave evidence of the following step-by-step progres-
sion in which the first ten factors constitute non-traditional aspects
of the project's economic activity. The training process makes ownership
of resources, self-management, and self-sufficiency possible. These led
to increased responsibility, mastery of skills, decision-making abilities,
an increased sense of self worth, and the ability to be committed to
the enterprise. It is these fundamental characteristics that generated
the more measurable impacts on the women's lives.
THE ELEMENTS OF PROGRESSION
participatory and analytic training
professional skills training
access to technical assistance
use of modern equipment
participation in the formal economic sector3
location of production site outside home
generation of income
group ownership by the participants
* financial self-sufficiency as a project goal
* decision-making skills
* sense of self-worth
which in turn led to:
more authority in the home and a change in gender relations
and in the division of labor
increased family welfare
increased activity by the women outside the home, e.g., literacy
and other further education in the school system, civic activity
generation of resources by women to provide child care
a reduction of the "double day"
Increased responsibility and competence fed back into the project itself
by facilitating self-sufficiency. The group enterprises themselves
then affected the community by providing otherwise unavailable resources,
including credit, jobs, increased income to retail sellers, and state
and national attention. In this way, investment in the women proved
to be an investment in community development.
3The term formal economic sector here means economic activity that is
recognized as a business by the government, with all appropriate licenses
for operation, that provides participants with social security and
other benefits customary to the locale, and that pays taxes where appro-
priate. The informal sector is peripheral to to the formal sector
and outside the domain of governmental protection and legislated benefits
such as minimum wage, social security, and insurance. Throughout most
of Latin America and the Caribbean, it is understood that one who works
in the informal sector is a second-class citizen. The projects in
Jamaica, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Sorata, Honduras, are in the formal
sector. The bakery in Charguita, Honduras, has applied for but has
not yet received an operating license, is not taxed, and is not yet
legally regulated in any way.
IMPACT OF THE PROJECT ON THE INDIVIDUAL
The Women's Perceptions of Project Impact
The multiple benefits to the individual, according to the women
themselves, included noticeable and in many cases highly significant
gains in self-confidence, assertiveness, basic literacy and math skills,
willingness to accept responsibility, ability to work in a group, problem-
solving and decision-making skills, and a sense of expanded possibilities
in their lives as women. This complex of benefits was often reported
as a remarkable improvement in their own self-image. As one woman
in the Costa Rica ice cream factory stated: "Before I was nobody;
now I am somebody."
The Brazilian women reported that it was "significant" to them
to "learn to be useful and independent;" "to do things differently
and to be a pioneer in metallurgy;" "to understand the rights of women;"
"to be a [complete] woman;" "to plan activities;" "to be informed in
sexuality;" to know that "a woman doesn't have to be marginalized or
suppressed or admit certain differences between them and men;" "to
assume responsibilities and to not be afraid of dealing with strangers;"
"to work in a group cooperatively;" and "to know how to deal with people
and talk instead of getting irritated [out of frustration when one
can't express oneself]." When asked how they felt about the project
experience, they replied:
I learned many things, so it changed me it made me
feel more of a woman and I feel more secure of myself
[The cooperative and training] made me feel like another
woman! I changed my way of being and gained knowledge I
learned a skill which can make my life better as a woman.
I would strongly advise this to other women because we learn to
live better; we learn more about what life is, how to do away
with machismo, and how to have the same capabilities as men.
In the Jamaican crafts and sewing enterprise, the four women in adminis-
trative positions developed from excessively shy and withdrawn personalities
into real leaders. One woman in the sewing enterprise is a case in
point. She was thirty, single, unemployed for many years, and "unable
to buy anything for herself." The project director who approached
her to participate in the sewing and crafts project as a supervisor,
I pushed her. I went up there and I said, "If anything goes
wrong here I'm going to blame you because you are supposed
to see to that, and to that, and to that." You know? And
then we reminded the women there that she was in charge,
and asked them to discuss their problems with her before
they discussed them with us. Because she was the leader,
she had to play an example for the others. So after awhile
she bought herself new clothes, began to speak formal English,
and changed her comportment over time to a more upright and
self-confident manner. Because she was a leader, she tried
to be perfect in what she was doing. And because people
learn by seeing and not just by hearing, we had to watch
her. She had been very -shy in approaching people, so we
had to push her in that. She had to approach this person
or that person she wanted to sell to or buy from and
she really grew in that.
This woman initiated, implemented, and organized the diversification
of project activities on her site. She and the women under her built
their own oven, opened their own bank account, and did their own marketing
apart from the other project activities.
Women at the ice cream factory in Costa Rica described similar
Before I participated in this project I did all the household
chores, but this is not so now because now there is more
communication between me and my husband.
Participation in the project was an experience I really hadn't
anticipated. For the first time I experimented with something
that was mine. Participation in the project helped me manage
my family problems better. Besides, to leave the house and
to have the opportunity to converse with other women companions
makes me feel better, alleviates some of my problems [that
I have when I am] alone. The project helped me express myself
better; little by little I lost the fear of speaking up.
Before I was useless, stupid and ignorant, and now I know
how to conduct myself.
I began participating with an interest in earning some money,
but after a while I began to appreciate the benefits of working
in group. Now I feel differently about my relationships
with to other people. Before I believed that the woman should
be governed by the man, without the right to an opinion.
Today I don't feel so marginalized; I know how to respond
to my husband now, and he doesn't leave me quiet. Everything
I know I learned on this project. Besides, I now have the
opportunity to buy other things for my kids besides just
food, which is the only thing my husband is able to give
I believe that participation in the project helped me to
improve my relationship with my husband and permitted me
to become somebody. I am very happy because the project
permits me to leave the house. I have learned a lot in the
project. It permitted me to work for the first time in my
life; there are so many things I didn't know before! My
work is more valuable too because it helps the family.
Two of these projects generated increased literacy. In the Brazilian
metalworking program, the need for literacy was identified by the project
staff and intensive remedial reading was provided. Furthermore, many
women decided independently to continue their education, at least through
primary school. Throughout the entire training experience, a majority
of the women attended school in the early evenings. In Sorata, where
only literate women are permitted by Honduran law to hold office in
a cooperative, the older women who form the majority of the membership
quickly understood that their degree of authority would depend on literacy.
In this rural community, where adult education is unavailable, the
implementing agency provided two of the older literate women with literacy
training manuals with which they taught the other women.
On all the projects, women used educational opportunities to improve
their skills. For example, the woman elected to do bookkeeping and
accounting at the ice cream factory voluntarily augmented the training
that she was receiving from the implementing agency by participating
in a similar course that her daughter was attending in the community.
The Charguita bakery women have also been quick to seek educational
resources outside the project. Recently they applied for a loan4 for
a vegetable-pickling course provided by the government Vocational Training
Institute. They contracted for this without aid from any other organiza-
tion. The Sorata cooperative is negotiating training courses in child
development with CARE and the Christian Children's Fund to upgrade
the kindergarten and a day care center they are organizing. First
aid training is also under discussion. Because self-management was
one of the objectives, it was necessary to teach elementary math, book-
keeping, and accounting to some or all of the members in the five projects.
Learning it in a job context helped many women realize the usefulness
of math skills for the first time. In the metalworking cooperative,
measurement skills were needed, so remedial work in math was offered
to all trainees. The importance of this skill for successful self-
management cannot be emphasized enough. Acquiring it also increased
future employment potential for all the trainees.
Behavioral Changes Related to Fertility
The young, unmarried members of the Sorata poultry cooperative
see the cooperative as an alternative to early marriage and a means
of maintaining their freedom longer than their older sisters and mothers
were able to do. They have contributed some of their income to their
natal households where they still reside but have also spent their
money on travel to nearby towns for entertainment and on jewelry and
clothing. These women say that they don't want to get married because
they are having too much fun; this delay is a decision that affects
4They applied to FEHMUC, the national women's peasant organization of
which they are a member. This is the second such loan.
their fertility, in the present and possibly in the future. Their
behavior indicates increased status, as the term is used in this re-
port. They represent the first generation of young women in Sorata
with some independent financial resources.
There was also a noticeable effect on the older women in Sorata.
The contact with the middle-class, urban (and female) project co-director,
and the prestige that accrued to leadership positions in the cooperative,
led them to become interested in contraception and in sterilization.
They also requested a course on family planning that the co-director
then organized for them. A significant number received sterilizations;
others waited to see if their co-workers would suffer negative physical
or emotional consequences.
While the Brazilian metalworking enterprise has not yet benefited
the participants' families financially, the use of contraception it
promoted improved prospects of familial well-being. The report of
an interview with the mother of one of the participants exposed the
difficulty many of them have in sharing sex information with their
Mothers were not the best source of information regarding
the facts of life, probably because they themselves are not
knowledgeable about the links between menstruation, fertility,
and pregnancy. The great majority of these mothers come
from rural areas, have little formal education, and have
had little access to information regarding birth control.
One girl's mother confided in me that she is thirty-seven
years old now and even with a past history of pregnancies,
miscarriages, and one abortion, she still does not understand
quite well the mechanisms of a woman's body. Nor has she
passed on whatever little she knows to her three daughters.
She said she is very close to her daughters, but she just
does not feel right talking to them about these things.
She was very cautious while talking to me, afraid that her
daughters might hear her. She was very glad, nevertheless,
that her oldest daughter who is in the project was having
sex education classes in the project. She wanted her to
know all these things, but did not feel she herself could
or knew enough to tell her.
IMPACT ON THE FAMILY
In four of the projects, two years of participation created increased
status and authority in the home. This change is a direct result of
the women's increased competence and responsibility in the work place
and their change in comportment. Increased status changed gender relations
and the division of labor in the household--with the exception of Jamaica
where women and men were already sharing decision-making responsibilities
and domestic chores.5 These changes occurred in spite of initial opposition
to the women's participation in non-traditional activity outside the
home from husbands, companions, and fathers, who subscribed to the
common conception of the woman's role and who worried about child care
and domestic responsibilities. In many cases, the alteration in both
men's and women's concepts of women's roles included greater participation
in decision-making by the women. The most obvious illustration of
this were the changes in household division of labor.
The Role of Income
One indicator of the impact on gender relations was the opinions
of the husbands, companions, and fathers regarding the women's participation
in the projects. At the end of two-and-a-half years, acquiescence
if not support, was universal among the men in the women's lives.
The income that the women earned from the enterprises was no small
contributor to this change. Thirty-three percent of the Jamaican women's
families rely on the income from the enterprise as their primary household
income when their husbands are laid off work or disabled. In Sorata
the women's income in 1983 from the poultry project, approximately
L 15.00 (US $7.50) per woman per month, was double that of the men's
cooperative that year. (The women brought home broken eggs for house-
hold consumption as well.) In that year, the women made a loan to the
men's cooperative of US $1,000.00 to cover planting because the men
were unable to obtain credit at the bank. That loan was fully repaid
at eleven percent interest in less than twelve months, and in 1984,
the women provided a second loan of US $1,500.00 at thirteen percent
Seventy-one percent of the women's families in the Costa Rica
project rely on the women's income because their husbands are under-
or unemployed. The documentor in Costa Rica noted that fifty-seven
percent of the project women stated that they would definitely work
on such an enterprise in order to rely on their own economic resources
even if their husbands made a large income; the remaining forty-three
percent said that their husbands would most likely oppose their work
if the husbands themselves were financially solvent. They explained
that under such circumstances, there would be no justification for
women's participation. The documentor concluded that for the women
5This was true for older men and women, though it may differ for younger
people; the Jamaican project was composed almost entirely of women
over thirty, most in their forties and fifties.
6Some women in the Brazilian and Costa Rican projects and in the Charguita,
Honduras, bakery project received enough opposition from their husbands
to drop out of the cooperatives. Others faced severe opposition but
simply insisted on remaining. These women, and women who faced more
moderate opposition, both saw changes in their husbands' attitudes.
at the ice cream factory, the husbands' initial acceptance was based
not on the recognition of need for personal development, but only on
economic need. On four of the projects visible support appeared or
increased when women began to bring home an income.
Changes in Gender Relations
Support and Opposition from Male Family Members
Visible support from men for the women's participation in these
enterprises arose at different points in the lives of the five projects.
In both Jamaica and Sorata, the men supported the women's projects
from the beginning. Husbands and members of the men's cooperative
in Sorata were paid a small salary to help the women construct the
poultry barns and build the water tank. They also volunteered their
time when the women needed help on other activities. For example,
they slept in the barns for several weeks with the newborn chicks to
insure appropriate temperature, a task for which the women later paid
In Charguita, the women working in the bakery did receive oppo-
sition from husbands and companions. But while the project experi-
enced a very high turnover in the first two years, only six of the
twenty-nine women who left did so because they found the work incompatible
with child care responsibilities, their husband's wishes, or both.
Ten left for economic reasons--they found more lucrative opportunities,
or left town hoping to find them--and ten left for essentially political
reasons: They were either expelled from the group for mismanaging
funds, or they disagreed with the cooperative leadership.
The documentor in Costa Rica determined that understanding the
problems at the ice cream factory, particularly those that kept income
low for protracted periods of time, positively affected the opinions
and attitudes of the women's families and that the women's commitment
to the project eventually produced a similar response in their relatives.
What the documentor found most significant were the innumerable
suggestions that the husbands and fathers had at the end of two years
for project improvement, showing an unexpected degree of enthusiasm.
For example, one husband had detailed ideas about how the factory could
carry out an advertising campaign; another offered various suggestions
for garaging and taking care of the vehicle. They volunteered their
view of the positive aspects of the project--the uniqueness of a factory
run by women, the possibility of getting a loan from the local bank,
the lack of other employment opportunities for women, the use of natural
fruit flavors, and the improvement of relations within the home now
that the women share valuable knowledge with family members and "know
what it means to be responsible."
Evidence from other projects has repeatedly shown that insuring
women's control over the productive resources after an enterprise becomes
successful is difficult. The enthusiasm of husbands, companions, and
fathers does not reduce the women's need to be vigilant over resources; such
enthusiasm does not always reflect a fundamental change in perceptions.
Visions of managerial opportunities for men keep cropping up:
Yes, the project will turn out well, but a man should be
contracted for managing [the factory] because men are sharper;
they are not shy when it comes to selling the product. Also,
with a male driver, the ladies would be supported.
Changes in Household Dynamics
As a result of women's increased status, skills, and self-confidence,
two major changes were observed in the household dynamics on most parti-
cipants in the projects: (1) women's increased decision-making power
in the household; (2) changes in the household division of labor.
In March 1984, twenty-seven months after the inception of the project,
the documentor for the Costa Rican ice cream factory reported the following:
The education and awareness that was imparted to the group
[through participatory and analytic training] not only modified
the women's attitudes [of appropriate roles for women] but
that of their family members too. This must be so because
there is no other way to understand how the men--the husbands
and fathers--who were brought up in a culture as macho as
ours have responded so positively to the project and to the
women themselves. An indication of this is that all the
men in one way or another finally consented to the women's
participation and allowed the women to determine their working
hours. Secondly, the men are doing domestic tasks that they
have never done before and, furthermore, now permit child
care and attention to the home to be passed to the hands
of third parties (relatives, domestic help, babysitters).
The women themselves had similar observations:
My husband decided everything before [I began participating
in this project]; he was rude and of strong character. Now
he shares decisions with me.
With what I have been taught, I have learned how to make
decisions. Before I did what my husband decided.
Before [I began participating in this project], he didn't
want me to work at the factory and wanted me to leave it,
but I made the decision to stay. Now I have less time to
dedicate to the house, and this has forced my husband to
participate more in domestic tasks.
In February 1984, the documentor for the Brazilian metalworkers' project
reported an experience after almost two years of training and working:
[One woman] began to change her behavior at home. She stopped
waiting on her brothers and more importantly, as she brought
her boyfriend to live in her home, she established from the
beginning a division of labor with him that took her work
on the cooperative into consideration. One day he cooks,
the other day she does, and both do the dishes She
said that she has earned these rights because she is also
working and bringing home an income, and so it is only fair
that they divide the task at home as well.
Changes in the division of labor in households in Sorata have
not involved men in domestic tasks but have reached daughters and female
extended family members instead.
The women's decision making in both household and community issues,
however, has increased concomitantly with improvements in marital rela-
tions. The bakery project benefited three women in Charguita by providing
the financial and social support, as well as the courage, to allow
them to leave abusive husbands and unsatisfactory relationships.
The Sorata project co-director and the staff of the implementing
agency reported several cases in which previously tumultuous husband-
wife relations had been transformed into more or less stable relation-
ships. The co-director attributed this change to the respect accorded
participants in the cooperative.7 On occasion the changes in the conception
of women's roles are more dependent on the prestige of the cooperative
as a whole, rather than on changes in a wife's or daughter's own comport-
ment. The documentor reported a case in Sorata in which the husband
was more progressive than his wife. He was anxious because she had
not assumed some of the assertive qualities that the other women had
and, therefore, was not as respected:
[T]he husband of one of the women whose project participation
is really quite marginal is discontented because his wife's
opinions aren't emphasized. She is very insecure first because
she doesn't know how to behave herself with the other women
and second because her husband asks her to speak out and
state her opinions at the meetings. He is angry with the
group of women because they don't take her seriously, and
he complains that they make fun of her because she is shy.
The co-director of this project observed that the men, who have been
organized for more than a decade in their own agricultural cooperative,
had grown enormously from that experience in many of the ways that
the women were now experiencing. Both the men and women felt the men's
experience "left the women behind." Consequently the women's cooperative
permitted both sexes to share the cooperative experience and the women
to "catch up."
These changes in gender relations were commented on by both men
and women and observed by project staff. Two crucial factors in these
changes seemed to be the women's increase in status due to their ownership
and management of enterprises that were sizable and modern by the standards
of most of the communities involved, and the women's increase in respon-
sibility due to their training in management and production.
Well-being improved for all the families whose incomes had increased
because of the enterprises.8 In all cases but the metalworking and
the poultry enterprises, the documentors' research indicated that income
was consistently spent on household necessities or on education for
children. Expenditures on children's education by the older women
in Sorata led to increased attendance at the local one-room school,
an increase from sixty-five students in 1982 to ninety in 1984.9 Extra
income is spent on sending children to the nearest town for the local
equivalent of high school. The president of the cooperative, for example,
could afford to send only one child to the town before she began working
at the poultry project two years ago. Now she sends all three of her
children. While nutritional improvements were not measured by the
Program, they are indicated in Sorata by the weekly distribution of
eggs that the poultry cooperative permitted. Project families in Jamaica
(thirty-three percent) and Costa Rica (seventy-one percent) relied
on the women's earnings as their primary income; their income became
critical in difficult economies marked by increasing unemployment.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Women's Increased Activity in the Community
The women involved themselves primarily in two types of community
activities: (1) .planning and development of child care centers, milk
distribution centers, lunch programs, and kindergartens; and (2) partici-
pation in regional or national groups connected with project activity.
8Because the Brazilian metalworking enterprise has not yet produced
a significant income, there has been no material improvement in these
family lives although it can be said that the education the women themselves
have pursued and the change in attitudes about women's roles themselves
constitute an improvement in well-being as it increases the women's
chances on the job market.
9While it cannot be said that this increase is entirely due to the project,
the documentor and project director have remarked on a change in the
women's expectations for their daughters' education; other related
comments support this relationship.
Some of the women have also become involved in interest groups.
In Brazil, for example, the members of the metalworking cooperative
supported a campaign to make birth control more accessible. On their
own initiative, two women from Charguita attended a national poultry
farmers' convention. They saw themselves, for the first time, as sharing
interests with a nationwide network. The significance of these changes
can only be appreciated by those who met these same women two-and-a-
half years ago when they were shy, tongue-tied, unwilling to look strangers
in the eye, and had never traveled more than a few miles from their
community. The president of the ice cream factory in Costa Rica was
recently elected to the executive board of a women's projects' consortium
Generating Solutions to Child Care Problems
Program data demonstrate that most of the women, once they have
control over resources, are able to mobilize them to cover their own
day care needs. Members in three Program enterprises--the bakery,
the poultry cooperative, and the ice cream factory--have child care
needs. Strategies to meet these needs during the two-year training
period stretched already extended family resources. After two years,
all three groups drew up plans for day care, and two are in the process
of establishing them. The ice cream factory is waiting to see how
their affiliation with the OML consortium of women's projects will
affect available resources.
The women at the Charguita bakery instituted a day care center
at the bakery when production first began in 1983. The few resources
that they had were funded through the bakery and Sunday raffles. Changes
in membership, internal disputes, and lack of resources led to a temporary
closing of the center. An important factor leading to this decision
was the discontinuation of lunch funds provided by CARITAS.
The women determined to improve their facilities before reopening.
They built a fence with some of the financial resources from the Pathfinder
grant. Recently they approached a government agency that agreed to pro-
10The ice cream factory had been affiliated with OML when the project
began, but OML had never been significant to their operations. It
virtually disappeared for a while, and when it revived in the middle
of 1984, the ice cream factory women were quick to determine the extent
to which they could benefit from the association as well as contribute
to it. A recent grant will finance the new OML center, which will
likely house the ice cream factory. The project will thereby become
part of an area-wide network of women's productive enterprises.
The ice cream factory is the only non-traditional, self-managed
and financially self-sufficient enterprise in the network of OML projects
and is one of the very few that operate in the formal economic sector
as defined in this report.
vide wood and a cement company that agreed to donate the necessary cement.
The Christian Children's Fund may provide the funds to pay costs. The
women are doing all the construction themselves. The women are also
considering exchanging bread with a Mother's Club that produces eggs.
The leading women of the Sorata poultry cooperative organized
a lactario (a milk distribution center) in the village and negotiated
with CARE to receive milk, oil, and grains to be cooked into lunches
and distributed to children under six and to lactating mothers. The
women are now interested in expanding the lactario into both a kindergarten
for the entire community and a day care center for the cooperative
women. Their present strategy is to receive training in child care
and development from an appropriate organization that they have identified,
to upgrade the quality of the kindergarten, and to request a donation
from next year's harvest from the men's cooperative in the village.
The women themselves plan to invest a portion of their own earnings.
Strategies employed by the women to face the increased demands
on their time are a testament both to their ingenuity and their strong
desire to stay with the enterprises. For them, the personal benefits
outweigh the problems of increased demands on their time.
Impact on Community Development
Although none of the enterprises has been in operation for more
than three years, they have already attracted state and national attention,
which has put them in contact with other agencies, governmental depart-
ments, and organizations. When the poultry project was publicized
as the first women's cooperative to achieve official legal status,
it caught the attention of organizations interested in contributing
to their day care plans--in part because the women went after these
organizations themselves and in part because their reputation encouraged
the organizations to listen. Because of its success, the cooperative
is very attractive to agencies interested in investing in community
projects. The Charguita bakery has also been successful in obtaining
assistance from other organizations. The Jamaican, Costa Rican, and
Brazilian projects likewise were widely publicized.
This recognition is based in part on contributions these projects
have made to their communities. The Sorata poultry cooperative is
the most impressive example. It had made two loans to the men's cooperative
by the middle of the poultry cooperative's third year, providing the
community with credit when the men's cooperative was unable to obtain
a bank loan.11 Without this credit, the men's cooperative would not
11The first loan was paid back in full; the second, made recently, is
still outstanding. It was not because of poor credit ratings that
the men's cooperative was unable to secure a bank loan but was a result
of the failure of an intermediary financial agency that secured credit
for a consortium of cooperatives. (See the case history, pages 140-141.)
have been able to plant during the last two seasons. The poultry coopera-
tive also provides jobs. It supplied temporary employment to a number
of men for the construction of barns and the water tank. It presently
pays men to stay overnight in the barns watching the newborn chicks,
which arrive twice every eighteen months, to insure the appropriate
temperature during the critical first three weeks. It provides the
community and neighboring villages with previously scarce eggs. The
women have organized the lactario and are in the process of organizing
the day care center to be available to the entire community. They
also installed a corn mill.
The ice cream factory provides jobs to two men who rent ice cream
carts from the women, buy their ice cream wholesale, and sell it in
the streets. Ironically, these men make an income considerably higher
than the income the women pay themselves. The women's advertising
campaign pointed out to retailers, both men and women, that the profit
they could realize by selling ice cream could cover their utility bills,
no small achievement in tropical Limon in 1984 when utility costs have
The Jamaican sewing and crafts enterprise provides clothing at
a lower cost than the community could obtain otherwise; the Charguita
bakery provides bread in the community, also at low cost. It is still
too early to judge the effect of the metalworking enterprise in Brazil
because it has yet to reach self-sufficiency.1
Increase in Community Prestige
A great deal of prestige has become attached to these projects,
particularly when the women own modern technological equipment. Conver-
sations overheard by the documentor on public transportation near the
poultry project show that even peasants from neighboring communities
take pride in the cooperative. The women in the Costa Rica ice cream
factory have gone to considerable lengths to announce to the Limon
community, through advertising campaigns, the reasons that they may
take pride in Helados PIN--the first all-women's factory of any kind,
and the only indigenous, naturally fruit-flavored ice cream in Costa
The Brazilian metalworking enterprise has been selected by the
state government as an activity worthy of Salvador's new cultural center
and therefore represents the pride of Bahia. A representative tale
of one of the participants exemplifies community pride: At the inception
of the project, a girl's brother, a metalworker in the community, taunted
his sister and the other metalworkers for "pretending to be metalworkers."
He tried to humiliate his sister for "playing" with his metalworking
equipment when he wasn't home. Two years later she reported that he
12The enterprise was still in operation in December 1984 and was looking
for new markets in a rapidly changing economy.
pays her for fulfilling contracts that he is unable to complete himself.
He now derives prestige in his work from employing or being related
to one of the remarkable women metalworkers whose names and pictures
have been in the newspapers. The sister also reported that he now
does some of the domestic chores.
Strengthening of Local and National Institutions
In all of the cases except Brazil (CESUN no longer exists), the
implementing agency benefitted from the project through the opportunity
of administering a large grant, thus increasing its chances to receive
future funding. All gained a wealth of experience in assisting women's
small enterprises. IFC applied the lessons learned to the design of
a much larger women's program in another region of Honduras. In Jamaica,
the local Baptist church's role as a provider for the community was
reinforced. FEHMUC's link to the bakery will allow them to use it
as a training site for bakeries that they plan to establish at other
In two cases, local groups were strengthened because of their
link to the project. The men's cooperative in Sorata received credit
from the women's cooperative at a time when other credit was unavailable
to them. The men have also benefitted from reflected glory because
other donor agencies have been drawn to the community by the favorable
publicity surrounding the women's cooperative. The Limon Women's Organ-
ization (OML), seriously weakened after becoming independent from COF,
was revived through the efforts of the project documentor and some
of the women from the project. Their affiliation with the ice cream
factory will definitely make them more attractive to donors in the
Replication Through National Attention
Because these projects are unique models, involving women in the
ownership and management of small-scale industry, there has been a
constant stream of visitors from both national and international institu-
tions. At least three of the projects have also received considerable
media attention: The Jamaica project has been written up in the nationwide
Baptist newsletter, encouraging other churches to set up similar projects
for their congregations; the Honduras poultry farm was highlighted
in national newspapers as the first legally constituted women's cooperative
in Honduran history; the Brazilian metalworkers have been written up
in full-page stories at least twice in the city's papers.
Besides making it more likely that their efforts will be repeated
in the projects of other agencies, both the media attention and the
visitors are a source of considerable pride for the women and their
families and thus contribute to the increased status and sense of self-
worth that participation in the projects has brought to them.
This chapter has provided examples of the myriad ways in which
small group enterprise projects can have a positive impact on the lives
of women, their families, and their communities. At the very least,
the women have gained a solid, practical grounding in basic literacy
and math skills, technical production skills, and in most cases, management
training and experience. Most of them gained self-confidence, decision-
making skills, and a new outlook on their lives as women. For many
of them, their marital relationship improved because of the income
that they are bringing home, their increased sense of self-worth, and
their increased status. Households benefitted through increased food
(eggs and bread) and income. Communities benefitted through increased
employment in some cases, access to the goods produced, and the women's
initiatives in child care and community organization.
These short-term effects must be added to the potential long-term
gains when evaluating the results of these projects. No one can predict
the future of these enterprises at this point. Those that achieve
financial stability will bring significant benefits to individuals,
families, and communities. A future evaluation of the enterprises
will yield valuable information on the long-term impact of establishing
women's group enterprises.
FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS OF THE PROJECTS
Production-oriented tasks that are innovative, non-stereotypical,
and/or allow women to have access to modern productive resources
for the first time are, contrary to common wisdom, usually
carried out successfully.
--Mayra Buvinic, 19841
Once we have the place, the equipment, and some materials
to start off, the rest is all up to us. It will all depend
on the amount of work and solidarity we put into the cooperative.
--member of the Brazilian
metalworking enterprise, February 1984
This chapter discusses those factors responsible for the success
of the projects. Success, as it is used here, does not refer to financial
viability alone; it includes the many social and political benefits
to the women, their families, and their communities. Some of the discus-
sions in the following section, therefore, show how certain factors
were instrumental in achieving personal and social gains, as well as
Those factors in project design that contributed to the success
of the income-generating enterprises were used in varying degrees on
the five projects. The data strongly suggests that no single factor
was sufficient. However, where they all operated synergistically,
they produced increased responsibility, competence, and commitment
to an income-generating enterprise. These factors were
1. Ownership and Self-Management
a. group ownership
2. Financial and Legal Issues
a. participation in the formal economic sector2
b. emphasis on financial self-sufficiency
c. local availability of technical assistance and skills
1Mayra Buvinic, Projects for Women in the Third World: Explaining Their
Misbehavior, International Center for Research on Women, Washington. D.C.,
1984, p. 20.
2See the definition of the formal economic sector on page 29.
d. use of modern, adequate equipment
e. comprehensive marketing and feasibility studies
3. Technology Transfer through Comprehensive Training
a. participatory and analytic training
b. programmatic emphasis on managerial self-sufficiency
c. remedial help in math, literacy, and accounting
These factors had the greatest impact on the women when they were
combined to provide intensive training that responded to needs expressed
by the women and provided an opportunity for them to participate in
decision-making at some level from the very inception.
The success of these projects hinged on the avoidance of rigid
adherence to blueprint plans and on the ability of the agencies to
implement changes in the training program when needed and confront
difficulties as part of the learning process.
GROUP OWNERSHIP AND SELF-MANAGEMENT
Group ownership and self-management were crucial to the success
of the projects. They promoted strong commitment to and identification
with the enterprises. Because members were willing to make sacrifices
to keep production going, this commitment provided continuity and carried
them through difficult financial times. This commitment is clearly
evident in the Limon ice cream factory project, where a core of women
continued working through months of low income and equipment failures.
(See the project history, pages 120-123.) A core group of women in
the Brazilian metalworking project, facing the loss of their production
site, continued working for months without any income due to problems
in launching the business, getting orders, and establishing an effective
Self-management and ownership also provided strong motivation,
as well as a laboratory for learning management skills that have often
been assumed to be beyond the women's capabilities. These skills are
essential to the achievement of self-sufficiency. The women on these
projects who have learned how to manage will be more likely to make
informed financial decisions and keep their enterprises alive once
external subsidy has ended. Historically, failure to do a thorough
job of training women in management is a major factor in the degeneration
of women's income-generating projects into subsidized social welfare
activities. One of the lessons learned from the five WID/PED projects
was that the two years of training was not sufficient in most cases;
the projects suffered from a lack of marketing assistance in their
Many issues arose in the course of achieving the goals of ownership
and self-management for the women's groups. In many cases the transfer
of skills and responsibilities entailed a radical change in the economic
and social behavior of the women involved. The participatory training
method that helped women through this transition is described below
in the discussion of Technology Transfer. (See page 52.)
One problem in the transference of ownership is helping the women
to think and behave like owners. The women were not paid salaries
in any of the Srojects until production had actually started and income
was received. The previous 'experience of one of the implementing
agencies had led them to believe that payment of salaries would encourage
the women to look at the agency as the employers and at themselves
as employees. It was felt that this mentality discourages the women
from assuming the responsibilities and decision-making power that they
must exercise to become self-sufficient. The disadvantage of this
policy is that some women who need cash desperately and who have other
opportunities to obtain it drop out if the training period lasts a
long time. However, those who make the financial and personal sacrifices
necessary to stay through the training period have a high level of
commitment to the enterprise.
Non-payment of salaries during training necessitated a flexible
training schedule to accommodate women who needed to earn some income
in the meantime. The women's ability to adjust the training schedule
to fit their needs made the project seem more like their own and gave
them valuable practice in decision-making.
Another issue that arose during implementation was the level of
decision-making power assumed by the women. Most of the implementing
agencies attempted to involve the women in decision-making from the
beginning. All of the implementing agencies, however, intervened and
made top-down decisions at some point in the project, often during
the period when they were supposedly phasing out their involvement.
The Costa Rica and Brazil projects stand out as examples of participatory
decision-making during the project implementation period. (See project
histories.) The implementors of the Honduran bakery project had the
most non-interventionist policy of all (their contact with the group
usually amounted to a monthly visit) until the latter stages of the
project when a Peace Corps volunteer began an intensive on-the-job
training in bookkeeping, accounting, and other business practices.
To some extent, this extreme non-intervention forced the women to work
out their own solutions, but the conflicts that they experienced over
leadership might have been handled better if a facilitator had been
there to help with group dynamics and impose some order. As it was,
there was such a high turnover in the group that almost none of the
original members remain.
The women at the Sorata poultry project were under tremendous
pressure to distribute accumulated profits among its members, even
though the whole sum was needed to refill the first barn and bring
In one urban project, it was necessary to give the women a small reim-
bursement for transportation costs.
the chicks to maturity. IFC, the implementing agency, anticipated
this and intervened with a very heavy hand to stop profits from being
distributed. Then they restructured the administration of the cooperative
so that the women who favored their position had all the power. While
this intervention did not give the cooperative autonomous experience
in making a difficult decision, the cooperative is alive today because
of it. Future evaluations will tell whether or not the women are capable
of standing up to these social and financial pressures on their own.
This experience recommends flexibility in the principle of participatory
decision-making; there are times when the implementing agency has to
intervene to counteract pressures on the women that threaten the survival
of the project.
FINANCIAL AND LEGAL ISSUES
Participation in the Formal Economic Sector
Legal incorporation, either as a cooperative or as a small business,
was a specified activity in the two-year work plans of many of the
projects. In the case of the Limon ice cream factory, the umbrella
women's organization (the OML) was incorporated, ensuring that through
it the factory would be eligible for credit and government benefits.
The Honduras poultry farm was incorporated as the first legally-constituted
women's cooperative in Honduran history. As such it is subject to
all of the laws governing cooperatives and eligible for all programs
aimed at the sizeable Honduran reform sector. This participation in
the formal economic sector may be crucial to the long-term financial
viability of these enterprises. It makes them eligible for credit--
whether from government programs or from banks--as well as for any
government technical assistance programs aimed at the cooperative or
small business sector. Their legal status also allows the transfer
of ownership of the equipment and other resources to the women's group.
From the women's perspective, the difference between participation
in the formal and informal economic sectors is both symbolic and pragmatic.
The work available to women in the informal sector in these particular
project communities is considered demeaning and humiliating.4 Ownership
and self-management in the formal sector brings autonomy and prestige.
Women's participation in the informal sector does not necessarily entail
a change in social or gender relations; work in the formal sector does.
Work in the informal sector leads families to draw upon children's
economic productivity and hence contributes to an increase in fertility.
The incorporation of the projects into the formal sector was thus
highly motivating to the women in the projects. Their feelings about
the humiliation of street vending were so strong that they resisted
4This is certainly not universal but may be generalized to much of Latin
America and the Caribbean.
selling their ice cream, crafts, bread, and wrought-iron goods in the
streets, where they could have made much-needed increases in sales.
Emphasis on Self-Sufficiency
Self-sufficiency was a basic principle of the WID/PED Program.
Because the history of women's income-generating projects is littered
with examples of small enterprises that degenerated into welfare projects,5
a conscious effort was made in the Program's design to generate successful
models for self-sufficiency. As of the last month of their third year
(December 1984), the Program's five enterprises are operating independently
of outside funding.
Many of the agencies interested in implementing women's development
projects are not skilled in financial planning. In practice, this
meant that the marketing and feasibility studies in the project design
were often inadequate and ineffective. This deficiency was partly
overcome in the Program through a special workshop for project directors,
in which the financial position of each of the five enterprises was
analyzed. Technical assistance from consultants was built into project
design as well to provide a clear picture of the financial status of
the enterprises to both the agencies and the women. Emphasis on training
the women in management skills; use of paid technicians for skills
training; and the use of technical assistance in finances, marketing,
and accounting were all factors that increased the projects' chances
of financial self-sufficiency. In late 1984, the identification and
use of local technical assistance was a problem for most of the projects
after the withdrawal of the implementing agency. Local sources of
follow-up technical assistance should be identified and contacted during
the project design stage.
Another important factor in achieving self-sufficiency is flexibility
on the part of the funding agency. Pathfinder made small amounts of
follow-up funding available to two projects that had not achieved financial
or managerial self-sufficiency at the end of their two years.
As part of the programmatic emphasis on achieving financial self-
sufficiency, there was a Program-wide policy that all projects would
receive start-up capital in the form of equipment, buildings, and initial
supplies as a grant. As a result, none of the projects owed any significant
Usually the term welfare project refers to those that dispense food
and clothing such as CARITAS. Mayra Buvinic, however, is referring
to income-generating projects that are unable to become self-sufficient,
remaining dependent upon the implementing agency for financial and
managerial assistance and subsidies. (Projects for Women in the Third
World: Explaining Their Misbehavior, International Center for Research
on Women, Washington, D.C., 1984) These projects are threatened when
outside help is withdrawn.
debts at the end of the funding period. Because access to credit will
be crucial for the future survival of the enterprises, most of the
projects incorporated either as a cooperative or as a small enterprise
during the funding period. It is too soon to tell whether the lack
of indebtedness and the legal eligibility for credit will translate
in the future into actual access.
Technical Assistance and Skills Training
Because the goal of the Program was to create self-sustaining
enterprises rather than to improve temporarily existing conditions
through subsidies, the Program was willing to invest what was required
for training and technical assistance6 to insure productivity and the
women' s control over the productive process. Consequently, the implementing
agencies faced a much more complex task than that which is involved
in traditional women's projects. Complex technical questions had to
be answered, such as how to prevent diseases in chickens, how to solder
aluminum instead of iron because it was more marketable, how to install
adequate equipment that would produce ice cream efficiently. The specific
time at which that technical assistance was needed had to be identified.
Poultry hygiene and preventive medicine had to be taught when the chicks
were in their first three weeks and when problems arose in the barns;
changes in metal-working training had to be made when changes occurred
in the market; and so forth. Appropriate technical assistance had
to be located and negotiated at a reasonable cost. For example, engineers
had to be contracted in San Jose because adequate technical assistance
was unavailable in Limon. Without these efforts, the projects were
placed at risk.
The most basic argument for the use of skilled, paid technicians
in skills training (as opposed to unpaid, and often unskilled and unre-
liable, volunteers) is the greater probability that the women will
learn to produce high-quality goods that are ideally more marketable
and therefore more profitable. Money should be allocated during project
design for salaries for skilled technicians, even if the project staff
states that community volunteers are available.
Adequate training by skilled technicians increased the women's
status in relation to that of men because women found their skills
to be marketable elsewhere. Three metal-workers were invited to work
in a community metal-working shop even before their training was complete.
Unfortunately for the bakery, a number of women took the baking skills
that they learned on the project and began baking independently. The
same thing occurred in Jamaica. In some cases during the skills
6Skills training is defined as basic training in production and management
skills by salaried (or Peace Corps) staff. Technical assistance is
short-term intervention on the part of a trained professional to carry
out a specific task or solve a particular problem that the project
staff is not qualified to handle.
training, the project staff had to spot and eliminate ineffectual trainers.
In one case in Brazil, the non-traditional nature of the skill caused
one instructor to do all the "heavy" work because he felt that it wasn't
"suitable for women"; this attitude prevented the women from learning
basic skills in metalworking until he was replaced.
Ideally, technical assistance (that is, a one-time consulting
job) would also include training; in practice, this rarely happens.
Project design in this Program allotted extra time and money for technical
assistance so that training could be incorporated into the assistance.
Proper planning for technical assistance and training can cut future
expenses for repairs and consultants to a minimum, thus increasing
the enterprise's chances of achieving self-sufficiency.
The Use of Adequate Modern Equipment
In four of the projects, pride in the women's enterprises was
expressed by the women's husbands and others in the community because
of the technology that the enterprises used, especially as they began
contributing to community development.7
Cutting corners to reduce costs lowers the short-term expenses
of projects but makes it harder for projects to be self-sustaining
in the long-term and greatly reduces their long-term benefits. The
co-director of the poultry cooperative in Sorata, Honduras, had worked
with a much lower cost men's poultry project in Bajo San Juan where
the barns were poorly made and no water tank was built. As a result,
the chickens were sick, the laying rates remained low, and the barns
began falling apart after three years. This sort of corner-cutting
has an even greater negative impact when used on women's projects,
where bias exists against women's capabilities and failure can be inter-
preted as due to gender inadequacy. In women's projects, the elevated
status of the women that resulted from the use of modern equipment
and from the success of the enterprise as a whole is a critical component
of long-term social change and a general rise in status of women.
Comprehensive Marketing and Feasibility Studies
Because many women's projects have not been taken seriously as
businesses in the planning stage, the most elementary facts needed
to determine whether a given product can be profitably produced are
often not considered by either the local agency or the funding institution.
7The one exception is the Charguita bakery, where modern equipment is
not used in the production process. The cooperative here still faces
some opposition from the community, which all the other projects have
long since overcome. This suggests that the prestige generated by
the use of modern equipment on the other projects helped the women
to overcome resistance to their work.
However, marketing and feasibility studies were built into the
design of most of these five women's projects, although experience
proved that only one implementing agency knew how to carry them out.
A marketing study should examine market needs in order to identify
potential products. Ideally, a feasibility study for the selection
of the products is done by someone trained in business and finance
who knows how to draw up a business plan and how to determine whether
production is feasible and likely to be profitable. The study should
determine the cost and availability of distribution channels, current
prices, and unmet demand for the proposed products. The study should
also analyze what infrastructure (buildings, roads, and utilities)
is needed and check its cost and availability, as well as the cost
and availability of raw materials, equipment, parts, and local technical
The feasibility study done by the implementing agency in Costa
Rica exemplified the variety of factors that should be examined and
incorporated the women in the decision-making at this stage. Their
study examined twenty-three alternatives and recommended four possibilities,
which were evaluated by the participants. Once ice cream production
was chosen, a budget for equipment, training, and start-up capital
was drawn up. In general, this was an exemplary procedure, marred
only by the researcher's lack of experience in ice cream production,
the result of which was that several key areas were not examined.8
Pathfinder's experience with the other implementing agencies suggests
that a funding organization would be wise to discuss in detail the
elements of a marketing and feasibility study with the grantee and,
if necessary, to help them find appropriate technical assistance while
the project is still in the design stage. The implementing agency
must also make sure that technical and marketing assistance will be
available locally after the agency's withdrawal upon completion of
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER THROUGH TRAINING
Participatory and Analytic Training
Participatory and analytic training is an on-the-job training
methodology used to help participants gain managerial self-sufficiency.
All other skills training took place under this umbrella. This kind
of training is an on-going procedure that helps participants identify,
understand, and analyze problems and arrive at solutions. Its format
8Many of the retail outlets, for example, have no freezers because of
frequent electricity outages in Limon. Some equipment could not be
repaired locally because stainless steel welding is only done in San Jose.
is open dialogue between trainees and facilitators9 and among the trainees
themselves. In these projects, its specific function was to teach
the women how to confront the difficulties of management by dealing
with problems as they arose and how to manage this process without
the need for outside help. Its purposes were to help the women:
analyze problems confronting the group;
understand the problems faced by individuals in the group;
identify and analyze possible actions;
select and agree upon a course of action;
reach an understanding that helps them live with a problem that
cannot be solved.
Extended time was needed for this procedure to work because of
the absence of experience, the lack of education beyond a few years
of primary school, and the lack of personal independence of the women,
whose entire experiences had been limited to the roles of client to
patron, employee to boss, and subordinate wife or daughter to head
of household. They knew how to take orders well, but as owners and
managers of these enterprises they had to change that entire mode of
behavior. This is a significant factor that differentiates women's
training needs from those of men, who are at least accustomed to some
authority as heads of households.
The participatory and analytic training approach assumes that
learning is maximized by participation and by analysis of the participation
itself. It further assumes that problem-solving ability is a prerequisite
to both managerial and financial self-sufficiency. Regardless of how
competent or accomplished women may become in productive skills, self-
sufficiency also requires that they be able to critically analyze unforeseen
situations, such as when equipment breaks down, when markets change,
when competition appears, when internal problems disrupt social relations
between members, when diversification becomes desirable, or when any
impediments to production and sales arise. Self-sufficiency also requires
that the women be able to locate and contract for technical assistance.
Because none of the women had experience in management, accounting,
or marketing, they had to learn the parameters of these domains as
well as the necessary skills. Most of the women had lived in traditional
spheres in which decision-making itself had been monopolized by others,
so the elementary process of self-assertion--of articulating a problem
and conceptualizing a solution--had to be addressed. Finally, the
women had to learn how to make decisions as a group.
The term facilitators refers to the non-authoritative role that these
trainers or project directors played to educate and motivate the women
to make decisions and take initiatives. The facilitator encouraged,
but did not dictate, dialogue, reflection, or action by and among the
Where participatory and analytic training was fully employed,
skills transfer was linked with three training characteristics. First
all elements of skills training were participatory, not theoretical.
These projects involved varying degrees of trial and error in order
for the women to learn as much as possible from their own mistakes
rather than from authority. Second, participatory skills training
took place during production so that education was not limited to artificial
conditions. The women were therefore exposed to the vagaries that
can plague enterprises, but which decisions must be made around. Third,
a facilitator was employed to channel the women into continual confrontation
and group discussion as problems arose within the project. The duty
of the facilitator was to remind the women of their long-term goals
and their own resources as they implemented the production, administration,
and management skills that they were learning. This facilitation was
long-term and strove to exclude direct decision-making by the facilitator
Participatory and analytic training was fully employed in the
Brazilian metalworking enterprise, the Costa Rican ice cream factory,
and the Sorata poultry cooperative and was partially employed at the
Charguita bakery. At the metalworking enterprise, facilitation took
the form of evaluations at the end of every day. Initially, these
young women, many of whom still lived in their natal households, were
asked what they had done during the day and how they felt about it.
In this process interpersonal tensions were brought out; the women
learned how to deal with them, and group cohesion was enhanced. Then
they were required to plan for the following days or week, which forced
them to evaluate their resources and to structure their time. As technical
problems arose, the facilitator related the problems to community resources
and to the women's abilities to tap them. This constant self-reflection
and reevaluation stimulated the development of critical abilities that
are necessary for managerial and financial self-sufficiency. This
process provided prestige, demanded responsibility and commitment,
and acted as a major motivation during difficult times. One early
product of this process in Brazil was a commitment by the majority
of the young women to remain in school to complete at least their primary
education in order to be prepared to work in the metalworking enterprise
that would become theirs in a year.
The potency of this training for solving problems and overcoming
obstacles was evident during the training period in Brazil. The women
learned coping behaviors for handling sex discrimination in the workplace
and at home. Though the women received impressive support from their
10This approach to education of Third World semi-literate and illiterate
adults has its counterpart in health care. The Carroll Behrhorst health
promoter program in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, has a long history of
training the illiterate in an array of primary health care skills that
in this country are permitted only by nurse practitioners. The program
was able to do so by relying on clinical, hands-on training.
mothers to participate in a non-traditional activity--in this case
metalworking--they faced considerable opposition and humiliation from
the men in the home and from young men in the community. Some women
dropped out in the early phase of the training course because of comments
ranging from "women are incapable of doing heavy work" to "women are
dangerous to have on a shop floor because they distract the workers."
The women were reluctant to believe in their own capabilities when
asked by the project to be pioneers--the first women metalworkers in
Brazil--and this hesitancy had to be confronted because it impeded
the effective transfer of skills. The training staff found that the
participatory and analytic training sessions were a highly effective
means of addressing their reluctance, so that at the end of two years,
the women had clearly developed the ability to recognize sex discrimination
when it occurred, understand the impediments it creates, and, not least,
to do something about it.
At the beginning of the project, the women shared a shop with
some young men who were also receiving a course in metalworking. Whenever
possible, the men would create noise to distract the "girls." Some
of these advances were amorous; others were aimed at humiliation.
The facilitator used this situation to help the women recognize sex
discrimination and devise strategies to deal with it.
The first shop teacher determined that women shouldn't "have to
do" such difficult work. He called the women "young ladies":
He did not know why women should take the course and want
to become metalworkers--it was not the type of work for women.
"Forging and metalworking is heavy work. It is for men,
not for women."
As a result, this teacher did little training. He himself did much
of what he considered to be the heavy work, especially the forging.
(He was later replaced.) The trainees got the message: If he, the
expert, had no confidence in their ability, why should they?
Several women felt particularly stung by comments from men that
"the girls are pretending to be metalworkers." As they discussed their
feelings of discouragement and humiliation in participatory and analytic
training sessions, the facilitator pointed out to the women their capabil-
ities in the shop and helped them analyze the difficult situations
they encountered and decide what they themselves could do about it.
The emphasis was always placed on self-reliance.
A full year later, when the enterprise was being implemented in
a cultural center, the women contracted for technical assistance with
the help of the CESUN staff. The technician was "delighted" to be
working for a women's metalworking enterprise and spent much time making
amorous advances and little time teaching. The women complained that
they knew more metalworking than he did, were learning nothing, and
therefore wasting project funds! "He was much more interested in talking
beautifully than in upgrading our skills," they said. The women replaced
Participatory and analytic training facilitated access to resources
in other ways besides enabling the women to overcome discrimination.
Evaluation and recognition of their capabilities took place in the
participatory and analytic training sessions. The analytical abilities
that they developed enabled them to think through and act appropriately
and effectively in a variety of situations. For example, at the end
of the first year, the women were divided into three groups and sent
to three different locations for a month's internship. One of these
was the vocational school at the federal university where equipment
was adequate and resources plentiful. The other two were metalworking
shops within the community where conditions were difficult, resources
scarce, equipment old and in high demand by the workers--in other words,
shops that approximated the conditions of an average metalworking shop.
Through sharing in the participatory and analytic "evaluation" sessions
at the end of each week, all three groups benefited from individual
experiences. When the three interns at the vocational school so impressed
the teacher that he recommended them for hire to a community shop,
the women who had interned at community shops were able to prepare
them for the very different experience from the school that they were
For approximately nine months after the end of the training period,
the implementation of the enterprise and the start of production were
postponed by a change in government. During that time, the growing
economic crisis, the lack of project income, and the uncertainty of
the delay threatened the enterprise. The project director increased
the frequency of training sessions to alleviate anxieties. The difficulties
facing the enterprise, the economic situation in Brazil, and other
problems that they were encountering were all analyzed. Finally, they
developed plans for coping. They took temporary jobs, some full-time,
and they set up a networking system by which information could flow
and solidarity could be maintained. The group could mobilize itself
and return to the enterprise when production was ready to begin. Without
the ability to analyze their situation and without the responsibility
and commitment that this training method helped cultivate, this flexi-
bility would have been impossible. The project would have disintegrated.
A recent example from the Sorata poultry cooperative demonstrates
the enormous difference that participatory and analytic training had
on these semi-literate women who had no previous experience outside
the village. One feature of the training was to link the women to
regional organizations. Honduran law requires that the books of legalized
cooperatives be certified; an expert must be contracted to perform
this service on a regular monthly basis. The project's implementing
agency offered to perform this service for a fee after the project
had been entirely handed over to the women. Besides the fee, however,
the women would also have to make the trip to Tegucigalpa monthly or
pay transportation and per diem wages to someone else to do so. Instead,
the women contracted with an expert in the nearby town who agreed to
a smaller fee. The women identified this expert by inquiring in the
town and consulting with two national organizations with which they
had established a relationship as part of the training process.
The history of training in the Costa Rican factory illustrates
the negative consequences of withdrawing the facilitator before the
women are ready. For eighteen months, the project faced a series of
obstacles that the facilitator made the focus of weekly discussions.
These problems included inadequate equipment, delays in equipment repair,
and faulty repairs. Consequently, production remained far below the
break-even point. These factors in turn were complicated by tensions
between two ethnic groups. Through participatory and analytic training
the women accomplished three things. First, they were consistently
able to contain these difficulties and transform them into educational
experiences. Second, they came to understand that they could increase
production, in spite of faulty equipment, by reorganizing their work
schedule. This insight alone had a major impact on the women's realization
that they themselves could change the project without being entirely
dependent on the implementing agency.
Third, with participatory and analytic training the women confronted
ethnic tensions. The facilitator, or in this case the on-site project
director, brought attention to pertinent comments or gestures. Soft-
spoken and non-accusatory, she continually demonstrated that the character-
istics of one individual cannot be generalized to a whole ethnic group
and that all actions are understandable (though not necessarily condon-
able). This training was critical in maintaining the enterprise's
bi-ethnic membership. The tensions at the ice cream factory reflected
the ethnic tensions in the larger community, and resolution of these
tensions was a difficult struggle.
When technical problems arose, the women at first observed and
later participated in evaluating the problem, formulating solutions,
negotiating and contracting for technical assistance. When the women
were able to rely on the facilitator for guidance, they drew up an
emergency plan that they presented to the implementing agency, thereby
taking the initiative for management of technical difficulties. The
members' response to an equipment breakdown at the ice cream factory
midway through the second year (when they did use participatory and
analytic training) contrasted sharply with the difficulties that these
same women faced six months later when they did not. At that time,
the on-site director or participatory and analytic trainer had to leave
the ice cream factory before the women were sufficiently skilled in
self-management, and no one could be found to replace her. Coinciden-
tally, production and the generation of income also became a problem
at that time.
11Though formal sessions were weekly, the facilitator was constantly
near the production site and frequently intervened whenever a problem
The equipment had been repaired inadequately for the third time,
and the women feared the prospect of inadequate income. Tensions produced
by these difficulties took on an ethnic dimension because one group
was more vulnerable to a number of pressures than the other. The situation
of the women of this group was financially more precarious and they
received less support and more 'active opposition from their husbands.
The factory was charged with anxiety and lacked a facilitator, and
the women mistook these greater difficulties for ethnic characteristics,
and inter-ethnic conflict reached a new high. As a result, all the
members of one ethnic group quit.12 They could not resolve an issue
that they had already resolved many times before with a facilitator
present. The documentor estimates that facilitated participatory and
analytic training sessions for two-and-a-half to three full years would
have been sufficient to enable the women to overcome this ethnic problem
themselves. As it is, however, the remaining women have been able
to manage and operate the factory adequately in other respects.
Three other projects, all rural or semi-rural, have had no access
to a facilitator since the end of the Program. The last intervention
by the implementing agency in Sorata placed responsibility for major
decisions in the hands of an elected executive committee who received
extra training in managerial and administrative skills and were expected
to pass on those skills to other women over time. Their ability to do
so has been tested and demonstrated. (See the project history, page
133.) A recent change in this structure to rotate key responsibilities
was voted on by the cooperative members, demonstrating their ability
to solve the cooperative's internal difficulties.
The Jamaican project never employed participatory and analytic
training. Management and administration are in the hands of a few
specially-trained individuals, and the majority of women are not expected
to take over decision-making positions. The enterprise will always
remain under the umbrella of the Church.
The Charguita bakery has had a chronic need for participatory
and analytic training throughout the life of the project but only received
it in the second year. It has otherwise resolved its difficulties
by permitting a high turnover of members and maintaining the bakery
under the umbrella of a national women's peasant union. The link between
both the Charguita and Jamaican enterprises and their umbrella organizations
was established to serve many of those functions that participatory
and analytic training taught the women to do themselves in the other
three projects, especially those functions pertaining to the projects'
relations in the national sphere. Both umbrella organizations can
be called upon to solve internal disputes. This link is working very
12At a later date most of these women attempted to return, but none stayed.
However, two new members of this ethnic group later joined. The group
is again somewhat integrated, but the ethnic problem remains.
well in Jamaica; the Honduran case is a problem currently because of
a dispute over a loan from the umbrella organization.
It is recommended that participatory and analytic training last
throughout the life of the training project and that outside facilitators
be available to the self-sufficient enterprise until disuse indicates
that they are no longer needed; This requires a commitment from the
implementing organization. Extensive training of this kind is not
necessary when decision-making is limited to a few members of the
group with the capability, facilities, and internal rules to pass on
their decision-making skills to other women or when an umbrella organization
is always available as an integral part of the project to intervene
when difficulties are beyond the women's skills. So accustomed are
all these women, however, to thinking of themselves as clients or as
employees and so new are ownership and self-management to them that
occasionally, and quite understandably, the women forget that they
are their own bosses. To counterbalance this tendency, participatory
and analytic training is highly beneficial for as long as it is possible
to maintain it.
Intervention and Managerial Self-Sufficiency
The women did not resolve all their problems nor make all decisions
without intervention from the implementing agency on any of the projects.
What participatory and analytic training permits, however, is negotiation
between the women and the implementing agency about the degree to which
the latter will intervene. This became a major issue with three of
the five training projects at the point of transference to self-sufficiency,
when the women thought of the enterprises as theirs but did not yet
have enough experience to make the best of all possible decisions.
The nature of that negotiation was less of a dispute over who got to
make the ultimate decisions as it was a part of the weaning process:
reluctance of the women to let go of the implementing agency in spite
of their desire to take control; reluctance of the organization to
let them go; and the knowledge of both that they must.
This weaning process was rendered more difficult because the women
didn't always make decisions that the implementing organization judged
to be the best. Furthermore, at that juncture where management of
the cooperative was being transferred to the women, anxieties of both
parties were at their peak. At the stage of transference where partici-
patory and analytic training was available (Salvador, Charguita), the
implementing organization intervened less in decisions than where it
was not (Limon, Sorata). Participatory and analytic training facilitated
the transfer of management. However, at this point all the implementing
organizations intervened to some extent in major decisions, and they
did so with a heavier hand than they used at any other time during
the training project, as this was most likely the last time that they
would be able to do so at all.
Additional Training: Math, Accounting, and Literacy
Production skills training was provided by teachers or technicians.
On-the-job training was a mechanism by which the need for additional
training or support was identified. Training in accounting and basic
math was needed for long periods on all projects except in Jamaica,
where the accounting and administration were done by an experienced
bookkeeper. In the Charguita bakery, the need for technical assistance
and intensive training in accounting and bookkeeping was highlighted
by the theft of project income by the group's president. This led
the implementing agency to turn to a Peace Corps volunteer, who lived
in the community for nine months and worked side-by-side with the bakery
women doing participatory and analytic training in all aspects of work,
with a focus on math skills and bookkeeping. In Salvador, math courses
were given several times with skills supervised by the training facili-
tator. At both the ice cream factory and the poultry cooperative,
training in accounting and administration was augmented by intensive
training of two selected or elected members in the last year. This
intensive training in math, bookkeeping, accounting, and administration
was a critical element in all the projects. It required focused support,
including access to supervision until the women felt confident in this
The next most common need identified was literacy or improved
literacy skills. In Salvador, the facilitator organized classes in
remedial reading. In the Sorata poultry project, however, the women
themselves approached the facilitator and told her of their desire
to spread literacy skills from a few members to the entire membership.
In this rural community where resources like literacy classes were
inaccessible, the implementing agency provided literacy-training manuals
to several literate women who in turn gave classes to other women.
As literacy is a legal requirement for assumption of an executive office
within an Honduran cooperative, older women who were illiterate but
more experienced and wiser in management and administration than the
younger, literate members were motivated to learn.
Participatory and analytic training and literacy and math training
were employed to insure productivity. Consciousness-raising isolated
from production was not part of any training project design except
the metalworking project in Brazil, the results of which led the staff
to conclude that consciousness-raising alone was not a valuable tool.
The on-site director of the Costa Rican ice cream factory training
project, who had employed consciousness-raising in previous projects,
determined that participatory training piggy-backed onto production
skills training and that adequate technical assistance could achieve
what the previous projects she had worked on could not: dramatic increases
in self-confidence, assertiveness, and decision-making skills among
the participants, as well as effective access to the financial potential
of their enterprise through exercise of management skills.
The Brazilian experience in dealing with sex discrimination points
out the importance of a characteristic of all five projects--that the
training took place in women-only environments. Their discussions
of sex discrimination and the analysis of their reactions to it could
not have taken place, or would have been much less effective, if men
were present. Their experiences with male trainees sharing the same
room exemplifies one of the pitfalls of coed environments when women
are being trained in a non-traditional skill. The women needed a safe
environment in which to practice the skills that others were telling
them that they couldn't learn.
The need for women-only training environments is not limited to
cases in which women are learning non-traditional production skills.
Experience in other projects provides ample evidence that in mixed
male/female situations, men assume the leadership and the highly-paid,
more highly-skilled positions. In order to practice management and
decision-making, it was imperative in all five projects that the women
be in environments in which cultural mores would not force them into
familiar passive roles. The profound change in self-image, self-confidence,
and assertiveness that the training process brought about will enable
the women to function effectively in male/female environments. The
experience of some of the trainees in the Brazil project bears witness
to this possibility.
It is this Program's recommendation that women who are learning
management and non-traditional skills be trained in women-only production
projects. This experience will give them the strength and self-confidence
that they need to use these skills elsewhere.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND FINDINGS FOR POLICYMAKERS
WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT
As the AID policy paper points out, in most countries
and within most ethnic groups, it is much more difficult for women
to own land; obtain credit; receive training and information; and obtain
new technologies. If these constraints are not overcome attempts
to raise overall output and to achieve national self-sufficiency will
be thwarted." The research plan, therefore, examined both facilitating
and obstructing factors in women's access to and control over resources.
Recommendation: Financial planning of women's income-generating projects
should be given greater weight than it has in the past. This will
avoid chronic problems in achieving financial self-sufficiency.
Discussion: "Projects aimed at directly increasing women's income
have typically been small in scale with little attention paid to effective
marketing or long-term viability. Such small-scale income generation
programs, which effectively stand outside the mainstream of development
planning, do little to address the long-term economic needs of low-
Comprehensive marketing and feasibility studies in the first stage
of development projects make it more likely that women's enterprises
will not require continual subsidies.
Finding: Women's involvement in group enterprises is an effective
vehicle for promoting participation in community and regional development.
Discussion: Participation in the projects gave women self-confidence,
resources, and skills that allowed them to become economically and
politically involved in their communities.
AID Women in Development Policy Paper, p. 5.
Vocational and Formal Education
Technical and Managerial Training
Recommendation: Group enterprises, owned and managed by employees,
should be used as training sites for teaching technical and managerial
skills to low-income women with low levels of education.
Discussion: The WID policy paper states that AID can support and fund
occupational training programs for women at two levels: (1) technical
and industrial skills programs preparing women for entry into profitable
employment sectors and (2) management skills programs for entry into
white collar occupations requiring knowledge of basic accounting and
administration. Qualitative data showed that the prospect of ownership
highly motivated the women to learn both technical and management skills.
Part of the management training was in teamwork skills. The women's
previous employment experience had been domestic, agricultural day
labor, and street vending, which require little or no cooperation with
others. This program provided training in the division of labor, the
settling of group conflicts, the separating of personal problems from
work-related ones, and other marketable and transferable social skills.
Recommendation: Small worker-owned enterprises should be considered
an effective programmatic vehicle for motivating both adolescent and
adult women to continue formal schooling.
Discussion: In many cases, improvement in basic reading, writing,
and math skills became so important to the women that they lobbied
the implementing agency to provide these classes as part of project
training. Many women chose to return to formal schooling. Their improved
skills will make them more employable, even if they leave the project.
Formal Sector Status
Recommendation: Program design should incorporate steps to secure
legal status for newly-formed enterprises, which will make them eligible
for credit and the benefits of sectoral government programs.
Discussion: The motivating power of participation in the formal economic
sector was evident on all five projects. In four of the projects,
women refused to sell their products by informal sector methods (that
is, on the street) even though this would have increased their sales
Separate Training for Women
Recommendation: Training for women in management and in non-traditional
productive skills should be provided in "women-only" environments,
at least until the women gain the confidence to exercise these skills
Discussion: The present AID Women in Development policy clearly advocates
integrating women as participants and beneficiaries into AID's overall
programming. It also recognizes, however, that in certain circumstances
separate programs are appropriate (p. 1).
When men and women train together, cultural mores usually dictate
that men take the lead; therefore, women have difficulty in gaining
access to the full range of managerial roles and skilled positions.
Through training in women-only environments, women assume roles as
skilled laborers and managers. The Program's training included intensive
discussions which addressed family resistance and deep-seated feelings
of inferiority. These discussions could not have taken place in mixed
Non-traditional Occupations for Women
"Where systematic bias exists against females in the labor force,
or in certain segments of the labor force, AID will support efforts
to alleviate the bias, through policy reforms and/or experimental programs
which demonstrate ways in which women can enter non-traditional work."
(AID Policy Paper, p. 1.)
Finding: The high status of these occupations helps mitigate resistance
to the women's involvement.
Recommendation: Adequate support and follow-up should be provided
to women in non-traditional occupations to enable them to deal with
lack of self-confidence in new areas and with family or community resistance
to their participation.
Discussion: Program experience demonstrates that, with extra support,
women can attain increasingly lucrative and challenging positions in
non-traditional occupations. The Program now provides data on the
obstacles women confront and examples of successful problem-solving
on the programmatic level. For instance, in the metal-working cooperative,
the facilitator held daily or weekly discussions to help women deal
with sexist attitudes on the part of a metal-working instructor who
was eventually fired. The high status of these occupations and the
social and political benefits this status brought the women's families
in the community, mitigated or dissolved resistance to women's involvement
in non-traditional work.
Demonstration Effect of the Projects
Finding: Women-owned cooperatives, when well-designed, have a demonstration
effect that encourages the incorporation of women into development
throughout the region.
Discussion: There were those among the considerable stream of visitors
who were inspired to form similar cooperatives and seek funding for
other projects. Follow-up projects were also designed by some of the
implementing agencies that incorporated the lessons learned during
"Demographers agree that four direct biological factors determine
fertility patterns: breastfeeding and lactation patterns, age at which
sexual activity is initiated, contraceptive utilization, and induced
abortion. A wide range of social, economic and cultural factors
in turn influence fertility through one of these four 'direct' determi-
nants. Perhaps the most significant of these socio-economic or 'indirect'
determinants are health, female education, employment/income and urbani-
zation." (AID Population Policy Paper, p. 3)
"Of the factors bearing on women's reproductive behavior, their
education and their access to and control over resources and income
are particularly significant." (AID Women in Development Policy Paper,
There is renewed interest in the effect that emphasis on economic
development can have on lowering fertility. The WID/PED data clearly
show that in the three projects in which contraceptive use was low
at the beginning and in which most of the participants were of fertile
age, women's participation in these cooperatively-owned enterprises
increased both their interest in sex education and their motivation
to use contraception. It is important to point out, however, that
the logical progression from increased interest in contraception to
increased use of contraception cannot take place if there are no services
available or easily accessible.
The effect of women's participation on factors directly related
to fertility was most marked in the Brazil project, where the participants
were mostly adolescents and where a sex education course was offered.
The participants spontaneously requested more information about contra-
ception, initiated discussions within their families about delaying
marriage, made decisions independently of the wishes of fathers or
lovers, and increased their use of contraception. Data on adolescents
from Brazil and from the Honduras poultry farm show that this kind
of project strongly points adolescents in a positive direction at a
crucial time in their lives and creates an alternative to early marriage.
The Program collected data pertinent to two of the indirect deter-
minants of fertility: female education and employment/income. These
two factors are closely interrelated in the projects; that is, the
rise in educational level was mainly achieved through on-the-job training
and practice of job-related skills.
Alternatives to Formal Education
Finding: Participation in self-managed and -owned cooperatives has
an impact on low-income women's attitudes and employability that is
at least comparable to completing the primary grades in school.
Discussion: The AID policy paper emphasizes that, with some exceptions,
the crucial turning point for women in the correlation between female
education and fertility is the completion of primary school.
The study shows that job-related, informal education is an accessible
alternative to formal classrooms. Entrance into the wage economy with
some control over earnings, combined with changes in family and community
roles, led the women to a predisposition to accept new ideas. This
is roughly equivalent to the cited benefits of formal schooling, with
the advantage that many women are more attracted to income-generating
projects than to formal schooling.
Increased Interest in Formal Schooling
Finding: Participation in this type of project stimulates increased
interest and attendance in formal schooling, especially among adolescents.
Discussion: Adolescents were motivated to attend night school to finish
their primary education. Other women asked for literacy courses to
supplement their training. Most of them saw further schooling as a
tool to achieve competence on the job and as a prerequisite to assuming
positions of management.
Employment and Income
Changes in Attitudes and Gender Relations
Finding: Decision making, management skills, and ownership of the
enterprises improved women's self-confidence, status, gender relations,
and decision-making power in the home.
Discussion: Such radical changes in self-image, assertiveness, and
power within the family have not generally been found among women in
more traditional occupations. The promise of ownership of the cooperatives
was seen as an investment in the future, an incentive that promoted
job commitment. In the literature, this promise of ownership is related
to lower fertility.
Role of Income
Finding: Income, or the probability of eventually receiving income,
is absolutely necessary for women's participation.
Discussion: Without income or the probability of receiving it eventually,
many women would have had to accept other employment or quit because
of opposition from their families. Many of the fertility-related changes
in attitudes and behavior, however, took place before any significant
income was received as a result of the training.
The WID/PED Program represents a different model from other known
small enterprise programs2 in several ways: (1) it created small-to-
medium-scale enterprises3 from scratch, as opposed to improving the
profitability of existing small or micro-enterprises; (2) it transferred
ownership of these small enterprises to a group of women who were trained
to work cooperatively and who were mostly unemployed in either the
formal or informal sector, as opposed to working with individual women
or families who already run or own micro-enterprises in the informal
sector; (3) it provided grants, and not credit, for capital equipment,
training, and start-up production costs, whereas many small enterprise
programs work mainly through the provision of credit, subsidizing only
the training costs; (4) it placed the enterprises clearly in the formal
sector of the economy by locating production outside the home in a
fixed site and by securing the appropriate licenses and legal status.
It was outside the scope of the Program, and of this report, to
analyze the comparative advantages and disadvantages of this model
of small enterprise development. A future evaluation could tell whether
the elements of group ownership, lack of indebtedness, and eligibility
for credit create more expansion and sustainability in the long run
than other existing models.
2For example, the PISCES Program run by Accion International, Cambridge,
3In this report, the projects are characterized as "small-scale" enterprises
or industries as opposed to "micro-enterprises." They employ an average
of twenty people, and start-up capital costs ranged from $10,000 to
Recommendation: Programs setting up group-owned enterprises for low-income
women should cluster projects geographically in order to reduce admin-
istrative and training costs.
Discussion: In this program the size of the venture limited the number
of people who could profitably be employed. Participatory management
training demanded daily or weekly involvement of a facilitator. The
least costly way to replicate the Program would be to cluster several
similar projects geographically and to use the same implementing agency,
facilitator, and management training staff for all of them. Thus,
the only staff specific to individual projects would be the technicians
giving assistance and training in production skills.
Recommendation: Eventual ownership of the enterprise by beneficiaries
should be an essential part of project design.
Discussion: In the Program, promise of eventual ownership motivated
participants to make financial sacrifices during periods when income
was low. Many businesses fail because workers do not bring to them
the same loyalty that they would to a family business. The motivation
that participants will have a future in the business, in the same way
that they would if it were a family business, increases the commitment
to the business and lessens the risk that it will fail.
Recommendation: Adequate funds for training and equipment should be
allocated in program design; short-term savings at the expense of quality
may only lead to failure in the long term.
Discussion: The training of women on a low educational level in management
skills takes at least two to three years, including follow-up technical
assistance. In this Program, part of the cost was borne by the grantee
and, in two cases, part was subsidized by the Peace Corps. The budget
should also include funds for adequate equipment. One project is still
suffering the consequences of purchasing faulty, second-hand equipment
and has such high equipment and maintenance expenses that its survival
Development of Managerial and Entrepreneurial Skills
Finding: Involvement in group-owned enterprises can provide managerial
and entrepreneurial skills to low-income women.
Discussion: The AID policy paper on private enterprise development
cites lack of managerial and entrepreneurial skills as one obstacle
to growth (p. 4). Most programs addressing this need are aimed at
those with a relatively high educational level. In this program, even
women with only a third-grade education developed transferable management
skills. This means that they will be employable in similar enterprises
in the future.
Recommendation: Policymakers should provide start-up capital and training
to groups of low-income women who are forming small, self-sufficient
Discussion: Many private enterprise grants benefit low-income women
only by the creation of low-wage, low-status jobs. This program model
provides another alternative that creates new jobs in which women become
entrepreneurs, managers, and skilled laborers.
Grants vs. Loans
Recommendation: Policymakers should consider providing start-up capital
and training costs through grants instead of loans when inexperienced
low-income beneficiaries in enterprise are being encouraged to start
Discussion: AID policy on private enterprise development recommends
that "all investments should, where possible, avoid the use of subsidies
except where economically justified (p. 9). In most developing
countries, the failure rate of new small businesses operating through
loans is in the range of eighty to ninety percent. Under certain circum-
stances, grants would increase the chances for new enterprises to become
For one-woman enterprises, very small loans are manageable, but
start-up costs for most of the cooperatives in this program ranged
from $10,000 to $40,000. Repayment of loans of this size would be
almost impossible for low-income families or communities in economic
distress because they have no financial cushion when income from the
business falls or when they make mistakes due to lack of experience.
Women's lack of access to resources remains one of the most problematic
areas for development planners and policymakers. The data from the
WID/PED Program have provided valuable lessons for those wishing to
incorporate women into development programs. The lessons pertain to
the capabilities of low-income women as owners and managers, the tremendous
positive impact for women of acting in those roles, and the self-sufficiency
of the new group enterprises.
RECOMMEnDATIONS FOR PROGRAM MANAGERS
Recommendation: Small enterprise project design should provide for
comprehensive training of all participants in management, administration,
and marketing skills.
Discussion: The positive impact of such training on the women, their
families, and sometimes the community is remarkable. This training
also contributes to the goal of self-sufficiency because the enterprise
cannot be self-sustaining unless a majority of the participants have
mastered the necessary skills.
Recommendation: This training can be best provided through a methodology
called "participatory and analytic training," which facilitates intensive
on-the-job practice in decision-making and taking initiative in production
Discussion: This hands-on training is effective because it permits trial
and error and is closely supervised by facilitators and professional
instructors. It is highly motivating because it is linked to production.
Classes on these subjects that were not linked to actual work situations
were not helpful. A major goal of this training is to enable the women
to deal with unanticipated situations.
Recommendation: It is often necessary for a paid technician to be hired
to teach necessary technical skills, and money for this must be included
in the budget.
Discussion: Because community volunteers are often unskilled or unreliable,
each candidate must be evaluated individually.1
Recommendation: Identification of appropriate technical assistance
in marketing should take place early in the project design stage.
Discussion: In many countries in this region, marketing consultants
who are oriented to small grass-roots enterprises are hard to find.
Often there are no courses in marketing at the local universities,
and those trained in marketing at foreign universities work in the
corporate sector and charge accordingly for their services.
1Peace Corps "volunteers" are not actually volunteers; they served as
facilitators or trainers on two projects.
Choosing an Implementing Organization
Recommendation: One of the many criteria in selecting an agency to
implement a project should be the desirability of a relationship between
the agency and the enterprise after the project ends.
Discussion: Some agencies have a demonstrated ability to maintain
some consulting relationship with projects when the financial basis
for it no longer exists. This continuing relationship is more often
feasible for urban projects. Where this relationship is not feasible,
women should be trained to contract for the necessary technical assistance.
Recommendation: When management skills are being taught, adequate
training time--one to three years--is necessary. The time needed depends
on the complexity of the enterprise and the level of education or experience
of the participants. Time spent on production skills varies according
to the skill taught and the level of technology.
Discussion: Women should be prepared to pay for necessary technical
assistance when they encounter situations that they cannot handle alone.
Recommendation: The incorporation of sex education into the management
training program is beneficial, especially for adolescent women.
Discussion: Sex education provides women with additional control over
their reproduction so that their participation will not be interrupted
by pregnancy if they do not wish it. In this project, sex education
had the most marked positive effect when provided to adolescent women.
Recommendation: Project staff should be prepared to deal with sexism
and paternalism on the part of instructors, especially those who teach
non-traditional skills. Staff must be willing to replace instructors
who are impeding the women's access to skills.
Recommendation: Equipment budgets should be sufficient to avoid high
repair and maintenance expenses.
Discussion: Short-term savings on equipment often hurts the enterprise
in the long because of higher maintenance expenses. Having faulty
equipment also perpetuates the myth that women are unable to succeed
in non-traditional activities.
Recommendation: Resources to train the women in repair and maintenance
of equipment should be incorporated into the project. If this is not
practical, women should be trained to identify and contract for the
necessary maintenance and repair assistance.
LEGAL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES
Recommendation: Whenever possible, appropriate legal status should be
obtained for the enterprise or cooperative during the life of the project.
Discussion: Legal status will ensure that the enterprise has access to
credit in the future and to government programs targeted at cooperatives
or small businesses. Legal status also enables the implementing agency
to transfer ownership of capital equipment to the women's group once
funding has ended.
Recommendation: The women's group should establish internal by-laws
during the training period.
Discussion: The process of forming these by-laws and revising them as
necessary made a significant contribution to the women's ability to work
as a group and make joint decisions. The one project that didn't form
by-laws--the bakery--learned by trial and error at the cost of a high
Recommendation: Marketing and feasibility studies on a variety of
production alternatives should be the first stage of such projects.
The participants then can choose among the most promising alternatives.
Discussion: Marketing and feasibility studies examine the market needs to
identify potential products, and then investigate selling prices, channels
of distribution, and level of demand. They look at availability and cost
of raw materials and of the equipment and infrastructure (utilities, build-
ings, transportation, etc.). Other relevant criteria, such as the educa-
tional level required and the availability of technical assistance, are
also examined. From this information, income and expenses can be projected.
Recommendation: Marketing and feasibility studies for women's projects
must take into account women's willingness to participate in specific
Discussion: Women's concepts of status and their reception of appropriate
roles may cause them to reject marketing methods such as street vending
or driving carts.
Recommendation: A project should be permitted to reduce its membership
to a financially viable number by not replacing drop-outs.
Discussion: While this seems to contradict the goal of benefiting
the largest possible number, the level of income from a small enterprise
can provide sufficient gains for only a limited number of members or
employees. The full range of technical and managerial skills can be
given only to a certain number at a time. Thirty-five was found to
be the maximum in the Sorata poultry project, while ten seemed the
most manageable number on the metalworking project. The small numbers
are offset by the women's ability to teach some of their skills to
new members. As the enterprise becomes more established, expansion
may take place, but this should not be expected at the early stages.
OWNERSHIP AND SELF-MANAGEMENT
Recommendation: All women's income-generating projects should have
as their primary goal the transfer of ownership of the enterprise to
the women's group. The transfer of management responsibilities to
the women is necessary to make this possible, and the enterprise must
be capable of complete financial self-sufficiency.
Discussion: For the transfer of ownership and management to occur, funding
organizations must take all women's projects seriously as business ventures,
not as subsidized activities. In the Program, the attitude of taking
the project seriously increased the women's status within their families
and the community, and improved their self-image and self-confidence.
Ownership by group members also helps assure the continued existence
of the enterprise because it generates the commitment needed to carry
the enterprise through financial slumps.
Recommendation: Salaries should not be paid during the training period,
but schedules should be flexible enough to accommodate the women's
need to earn cash during this time.
Discussion: The payment of salaries, while the implementing agency
is still involved, encourages an "employee" mentality that hinders
the goal of transferring ownership and management to the women's group.
The sacrifices and hardships of those women who stayed in the group
during the training period increased their commitment and identification
with the enterprise. Reimbursement for expenses incurred (for
example, transportation) is appropriate.
Recommendation: Although the group's participation in decision-making
is the general rule to encourage self-management, the implementing
agency should be flexible enough to recognize when it is necessary
to impose decisions on the group.
Discussion: The experience from at least one project shows that when
the women are subjected to strong financial and social pressures during
the training period, they may make decisions that would jeopardize
the future of the whole project (for example, choosing to distribute
profits rather than making necessary reinvestments).
Recommendation: Allowance should be made in financial projections
for mistakes and delays due to on-the-job learning of management skills.
Discussion: Participants in self-managed enterprises must learn while
building their enterprise. Continuing ties with the implementing agency
on a consulting basis and preparations for access to technical assistance
can prevent disasters and accelerate learning during this initial period.
Recommendation: Implementors should help women make decisions about
the re-allocation of household resources as well as about child-care
Discussion: This measure will help to avoid overburdening the women with a
"double day" of work. Experience on these projects showed that once the
women were strongly committed to the project and had increased their
status and income, they were capable of marshalling many resources
in order to continue their involvement.
Recommendation: Implementors need to plan for the period during which
they will withdraw assistance from the project.
Discussion: This period is often fraught with tension and anxiety on
both sides. A clear and orderly process to transfer project responsibili-
ties should be agreed upon, written down, and discussed often early
in the training period. For the women, tensions often take the form
of fear and lack of self-confidence combined with a strong desire for
independence and control. For the implementing agency, anxiety usually
stems from doubt about the group's ability to manage the enterprise.
THE PATHFINDER FUND
Women in Development Projects, Evaluation, and
Documentation (WID/PED) Program
This Research Plan is designed to present a comprehensive picture of
the main questions being examined in the WID/PED Program and the methods
by which data are to be collected and analyzed on these questions.
The Women in Development Projects, Evaluation, and Documentation (WID/PED)
Program of The Pathfinder Fund is supporting a number of action projects
in order to generate data on selected issues and problems related to
women and income generation. Specifically, five two-year income-generating
projects for women, located in four countries of Latin America and
the Caribbean, have been selected as the data base for study. Projects
were selected on the basis of their capacity to provide comparable
data on central unresolved questions about the impact of income-generating
projects on women. Results of this documentation effort should provide
project staff and policy-makers with some elements to assess the success
or failure, as well as the potential impact, of such projects.
Research focuses on: (1) the factors that contribute to the success
and failure of an income-generating activity; (2) the impact of projects
on participants' lives; (3) how women gain and maintain access to and
control over income-generating activities; (4) the institutional development
that contributes to the projects; and (5) the projects' relation or
contribution to overall aims of government development efforts. In
addition, information on (6) the context in which the projects are
operating will be collected and examined--for example, characteristics
of the project participants and their communities.
Research data will be collected by Project Directors as well as by
process documenters. Process documenters are local social scientists,
hired specifically for each project, who collect and report data and
observations to The Pathfinder Fund on a quarterly basis. Project
Directors also report to Pathfinder quarterly, providing systematic
data on the operation and performance of the project on specifically
designed forms. The next section of this Research Plan describes the
priority questions being considered and the methods by which data are
III. RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND DATA COLLECTION
A. Summary of priority research questions
Five priority questions are to be addressed in the course of project
documentation. Specifically, data will be collected in order to examine
the following issues:
1. Is the project successful as an income-generating activity?
2. What has been the impact of the project on the participants' lives?
3. How does the group of local women participating in the project
gain access to and control over productive resources?
4. What is the relationship between the organizational status of the
local group and the sustainability and replicability of project
5. What is the relationship between these projects and national or
local development policies and programs?
A sixth area for documentation is the context in which the projects
are operating; that is, how the groups and individuals participating
in the project compare to other groups and individuals in the community.
B. Summary of data collection methods
Complementary data will be collected by the projects' staff members
and the process documenters in such a way that a complete account of
the issues at several levels of analysis will result when available
information is drawn together and analyzed. Specifically, program
data will be collected using the following personnel and methods:
1. Data collection and quarterly reports by Project Directors
a. Performance evaluation forms designed by Pathfinder are completed
each quarter by the Project Director and/or her staff. These forms
report primarily on quantitative aspects of the project such as the
number of women trained, the amount of product sold and income generated,
and so forth. Special assistance is being provided to Project Directors
in the area of record-keeping on the economic aspects of these projects.
These forms have been specifically adapted to cover questions of interest
to the project; for example, the amount of marketing and management
b. Narrative reports are also submitted by the Project Director to
Pathfinder each quarter. In addition to standard questions for each
Project Director to address each quarter (such as problems encountered
or solved during the quarter), specific requests for information are
sometimes made by Pathfinder during the quarter and then are answered
in this report. Such requests may be project-specific or may be made
of two or more of the five projects. Information from project records
may be requested if particular questions for which it would be useful
arise in the course of data analysis.
c. Financial report forms are completed by the Project Director each
quarter. As with the other reports, they are carefully examined, and
any resulting comments or questions are relayed in writing to the Project
Director for response or amplification.
2. Data collection and quarterly reports by process documenters
Process documenters are hired as consultants to The Pathfinder Fund
for a period of forty days per year (ten days per quarter). Each process
documenter will visit the project to which she is assigned for a total
of six to eight days per quarter, evenly spaced throughout the three-
month period. She will keep complete field notes of her observations,
interviews, reflections and insights. Quarterly reports to Pathfinder
will be prepared; however, these reports are not to be considered the
end of the process documenter's responsibility. The process documenter
may be asked to provide additional information if further questions
arise in the course of the data analysis. No process documenter will
be asked for copies of the field notes themselves. Rather, conversations
or correspondence between Pathfinder and the process documenter (supple-
menting the quarterly or final reports) may be required.
The process documenter is not an evaluator of the project but an observer.
Her main objective is to collect data on the research questions of
the WID/PED Program, using a work plan based on a common set of guidelines
prepared by the WID/PED Advisory Panel. Her data collection will make
use of the established techniques and methods of qualitative research
.in the social sciences: (1) recurrent observation of project participants
and project activities and (2) unstructured and semi-structured interviews
of all project participants, key project staff, and selected community
Project participants will be interviewed individually as well as in
groups. A data collection guide for background information on participants
has been designed by Pathfinder. Each process documenter will be respon-
sible for designing her own semi-structured interview instruments,
of which Pathfinder will receive copies. At least one meeting of all
process documenters and project directors will be held; the first meeting
is. to clarify roles, share techniques and/or results, and resolve any
unforeseen difficulties that may have arisen in the early stages of
the projects and their documentation.
3. Other means of data collection
Trip reports and field notes prepared by Pathfinder staff members who
visit the projects are an important additional source of data and infor-
Other means and personnel for collecting data may be needed during
the course of the WID/PED Program. The human resources described above
may not be sufficient (in terms of skills, available time, or both)
to accomplish the ambitious data collection objectives described in
the next section. If it appears necessary to add data collection resources,
a number of options may be considered: adding to the time spent in
the field by current process documenters, finding field assistance
for documenters (either on a regular basis within the country or on
a short-term basis by a consultant who visits one or more projects
for certain purposes), having background research done in the United
States, and so forth.
C. Data collection for detailed research questions
The six questions summarized in Section A (above) identify key areas
for research. This section is designed to provide further detail on
what each of the questions covers and how they can be interpreted and
to illustrate methods by which Project Directors and/or process documenters
are to gather data.
It is important to make repeated observations on the same topics over
time--that is, over the course of the project's operation.
QUESTION 1: Factors in the success or failure of women's income-generating
One purpose of all of the projects is to provide economic benefits
to participants. A judgment of success or failure must thus include
an objective assessment of how much real income is earned and the reasons
for that amount of income being as high or as low as it is. The WID/PED
Program has taken a broad definition of success or failure, recognizing
that project benefits may not be limited to income generation. Thus
this section also includes an investigation of attitudes about the
projects and the reasons for those attitudes. Specific areas for investi-
gation and documentation include the following detailed questions.
1.a. Amount of income earned and reasons
i. How much real income (that is, take-home pay) is generated
for project participants? What level of income is projected
after the project becomes self-sustaining?
ii. Which factors involved in making money are adequate and
which are limiting the amount of income generated? Examples:
Markets (or marketing strategies), product quality, training
of the participants, time available to participants, and
so forth, may be adequate or insufficient (either at the
present level of production or in the case that expansion
iii. What can be determined about the opportunity costs of the
project participants' time? That is, did any of them give
up other income-earning opportunities to join the project?
If so, were they earning more or less than in this project?
This question is meant to cover both formal employment and,
to the extent it is possible to determine, informal ways
of earning or saving money (growing vegetables for sale,
consumption, or barter; caring for other families' children;
and so forth).
l.b. Attitudes toward the project
Success or failure of the project may be influenced by attitudes
about the project held by the project participants themselves,
their families, the rest of the local community, government officials,
project staff, and so forth.
Specific questions to be examined in this area include:
i. How do the participating women view the project? Are they
involved primarily because of the economic benefits they
expect to receive or do they feel that other needs (companion-
ship, self-confidence, and so forth) are equally important?
ii. How do the families of the participants and other members
of the community (men and women) feel about the project?
Is there support, enthusiams, jealousy, indifference? Do
these attitudes seem to change over time as the project
Collecting quantitative data on Question l.a.i (real income earned)
will be the responsibility of the Project Director. Question
l.a.ii (factors involved in making money) should be covered both
in the Project Director's narrative reports and in the process
documenter's reports. Question l.a.iii is the responsibility
of the process documented.
Questions l.b.i and l.b.ii (concerning attitudes about the project)
are the responsibility of the process documenter. Direct responses
about attitudes should be recorded, as well as process documenters'
own observations of behavior and systematically collected data
QUESTION 2: What has been the impact of the project on the participants'
This is a broad category, with a large number of direct and indirect
changes--both concrete and intangible--possible as a focus for investi-
gation. It is difficult to identify one particular intervention, such
as participation in the Pathfinder-funded project, as the sole cause
of changes in attitudes or level of living. Also, the fact that projects
have both economic and social benefits complicates the issues. Given
the limited research resources available, we are mainly interested
in a very important finding, which is the women's own assessment and
evaluation of the impact of their participation. Listed below are
some of the detailed questions of interest to the WID/PED Program's
eventual audience; the feasibility and methods of collecting data on
these questions will be discussed at the August 1982 meeting in Costa
2.a. Income Use
Where income is generated, how is the money used--for community,
family, or personal needs; for investment in expansion of the
income-producing activity; and so forth? (Project Directors:
refer to the reporting requirements on your quarterly report
2.b. Time Use
The question of time use is an important but difficult one.
Given the limits of time budget methodologies and the limited
research resources of the WID/PED program, it cannot be investigated
as fully as might be desired. Observing and recording participants'
perceptions of the following time use questions is one possible
strategy to be discussed at the Costa Rica meeting.
How do participants budget and manage their time differently
from before their participation in the project? How much time
is involved and what adjustments need to be made in household
work or other responsibilities? Has child care been a problem
and how has it been resolved? Have older daughters had to take
on additional household tasks, and if so, what effect has this
had on their lives?
2.c. Attitudes about Women's Life Options and Roles
What changes in attitude about roles or life options for themselves,
and for women in general, have taken place among project partici-
pants? How do the participants compare their generation to the
next and previous generations? (Process documenters: refer
to the life cycle comparison question number 2 in the "Guidelines
for Process Documenters.")
QUESTION 3: How does the group of local women participating in the
project gain access to and control over productive sources?
This question looks at whether, when, and how the women participating
in the project obtain control of their project; Question 4 below asks
whether they can keep control of it over time. These questions are
extremely important because one of the explicit and unique aims of
the WID/PED Program is to fully incorporate women into all aspects
of the enterprise and to give them the training required for managing
the project on a continuing basis. Our research plan is designed to
discover possible methods by which women can both gain and maintain
control over resources, because women's loss of control over resources
has been a continuing problem for such projects in the past.
The specific points of interest under Question 3 (to be investigated
by both Project Directors and process documenters) focus primarily
on the obstacles to women's successful direction and to their control
of the project's operations.
3.a. Transfer of skills and responsibilities to project participants
i. Have participants received appropriate and adequate training
in all aspects of the undertaking? What difficulties have
been encountered in the training?
ii. What characteristics of the group or of individuals involved
in the project have influenced the training efforts and
transfer of skills? For example, have such factors as leadership
or the lack thereof, the educational level of participants,
the women's traditional or non-traditional attitudes towards
their role as women, the women's feelings of inferiority
or of self-confidence, the level of experience in teamwork,
and so forth, affected the transfer of skills and respon-
3.b. Obstacles to participants gaining control
i. Is there a lack of needed services that prevents women from
assuming or expanding participation in the enterprise?
For example, are services available such as child care,
health and family planning, labor saving devices to free
up time, and so forth? If so, are they used? If not, would
they be likely to make it easier for women to participate
ii. Is there a lack of needed resources that prevents women
from gaining full control of the project? For example,
is their level of control constrained by lack of access
to transportation to markets, lack of technical assistance
of some kind, education/literacy, and so forth?
iii. What strategies have been used to overcome whatever obstacles
exist, and how successful have they been?
QUESTION 4: What is the relationship between the organizational status
of the local group and the sustainability and replicability
of project activities?
This question looks at two related topics: whether the project reaches
self-sufficiency with full control by women maintained and what effect
the status of the local group has on project results.
4.a. Sustained project results
i. Is the project reaching the level of financial self-sufficiency?
Can it continue without outside economic assistance? What
factors have contributed most to the achievement of financial
self-sufficiency or to the failure to achieve it?
ii. Is the project reaching the level of managerial self-suffi-
ciency? Can the women in the group maintain control without
outside technical assistance? What factors have contributed
most to the achievement of managerial self-sufficiency or
to the failure to achieve it?
4.b. Effect of organizational status of the local group
i. What effect have the history, composition, and leadership
of the local group had, if any, on the project? Is the
local group part of a larger organization (national women's
organization, church group, etc.)? What type of links exist
to the larger network, and what effect, if any, have those
links had on the project?
ii. How does the group of women respond to changing needs and
redefine its goals over time? What capacity does the group
have to evaluate its situation and to reorient itself through
QUESTION 5: What is the relationship between these projects and national
or local development policies and programs?
The success of an income-generating project for women may be affected
by the existence of common development priorities shared by the project
and by local or national policy makers. This study also examines the
ways in which these projects can influence the plans and programs of
host country policy makers. To this end, as part of the proposal develop-
ment, grantees were required to establish and maintain contact with
an appropriate government agency, where the lessons from the data would
be most relevant.
5.a. Links between the project and government agencies
i. Is there an overlap of priorities?
ii. Has there been a link established with the staff of one
or more government agencies? What interest have they shown?
5.b. Impact of the project on development agencies
i. How can the project, or the documentation of it, best have
an impact on national or international development agencies?
ii. Are there specific plans for effectively communicating the
lessons learned from the project to policy makers? Do these
plans change depending on the stage of the project (start-up,
full operation)? How did these plans work in practice?
How do the groups and individuals participating in the project
compare to other groups and individuals in the community
or the country?
To answer this question, data must be gathered on both the characteristics
of project participants and those of the rest of the community. This
question must be discussed, and methods that are realistic and appropriate
for gathering data must be identified.
GLOSSARY OF ORGANIZATIONS
AID (USAID), United States Agency for International Development
AID/PPC/PDPR/HR, Human Resources'section, Policy Development and Program
Review, Program and Policy Coordination, Agency for International
Development (now called the Institutional Policy Division)
CARITAS, a Catholic relief organization
CESUN, Centro de Estudos Supletivos de Narandiba, Brazil
COF, Centro de Orientacion Familiar, Costa Rica
FEHMUC, Federacion Hondurena de Mujeres Campesinas, Honduras
IAF, The InterAmerican Foundation, Washington, D.C.
ICRW, International Center for Research on Women, Washington, D.C.
IFC, Instituto de Investigacion y Formacion Cooperativista, Honduras
IISE, Instituto de Investigaciones Socioeconomicos, Honduras
INA, Instituto Nacional Agrario, Honduras
IPAC, Instituto de Patrimonio Artistico e Cultural, Salvador, Brazil
OML, Organizacion de Mujeres Limonenses, Costa Rica
Pueblo to People, Honduras
PVO, private voluntary organization