Front Cover
 List of AID publications
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 About the author
 Current evaluations of women in...
 Assessing the impact of development...
 Methodological issues in compiling...
 Back Cover

Group Title: A.I.D. program evaluation discussion paper ;, no. 8
Title: Assessing the impact of development projects on women
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080526/00001
 Material Information
Title: Assessing the impact of development projects on women
Series Title: A.I.D. program evaluation discussion paper
Physical Description: iii, 105 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Dixon-Mueller, Ruth
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of Women in Development
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of Evaluation
Publisher: Office of Women in Development and Office of Evaluation, Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination, U.S. Agency for International Development
Place of Publication: Washington D.C.?
Publication Date: [1980]
Subject: Women -- Employment -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Women -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Women in rural development   ( lcsh )
Rural development   ( lcsh )
Rural women -- Employment   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-105).
Statement of Responsibility: by Ruth B. Dixon.
General Note: "May 1980."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080526
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 003681769
oclc - 08016766

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    List of AID publications
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    List of Tables
        List of Tables
        Page i
        Page ii
    About the author
        Page iii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Current evaluations of women in development projects: A review and analysis
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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    Assessing the impact of development projects on women: An analytical framework
        Page 52
        Page 53
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        Page 56
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        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Methodological issues in compiling comparative data
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
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    Back Cover
        Page 106
Full Text

A.I.D. Program Evaluation Discussion Piper No. 8
Assessing the Impact of Development
Projects onWomen

Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination
Agency for International Development

Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination
Agency for International Development a



No. 1: Reaching the Rural Poor: Indigenous Health Practitioners Are
There Already (March 1979)
No. 2: New Directions Rural Roads (March 1979)
No. 3: Rural Electrification: Linkages and Justifications CApril 1979)
No. 4t Policy Directions for Rural Water Supply in Developing Countries
(April 1979)
No. 5: Study of Family Planning Program Effectiveness (April 1979)
No. 6: The Sociology of Pastoralism and African Livestock Development
(May 1979)
No. 7: Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Low-Volume Rural
Roads-A Review of the Literature (February 1980)
No. 8: Assessing the Impact of Development Projects on Women (May 1980)



No. 1: Family Planning Program Effectiveness: Report of a Workshop
(December 1979)
No. 2: A.I.D.'s Role in Indonesian Family Planning: A Case Study
With General Lessons for Foreign Assistance (December 1979)
No. 3: Third Evaluation of the Thailand National Family Planning
Program (February 1980)
No. 4: The Workshop on Pastoralism and African Livestock Development
(May 1980)


No. 1: Colombia: Small Farmer Market Access (December 1979)
No. 2: Kitale Maize: The Limits of Success (December 1979)
No. 3: The Potable Water Project in Rural Thailand (Forthcoming)
No. 4: Philippine Small Scale Irrigation (Forthcoming)
No. 5: Kenya Rural Water Supply: Program, Progress, Prospects
(May 1980)


No. 1: Afghanistan Basic Village Health (Forthcoming)


Manager's Guide to Data Collection (November 1979)



Ruth B. Dixon

A.I.D. Program Evaluation
Discussion Paper No. 8

Office of Women in Development
Office of Evaluation
Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination
U.S. Agency for International Development

May 1980

The views and interpretations in this publication are those of the author
and should not be attributed to the Agency for International Development.


Preface i

About the Author iii



Participation of Women in Project Decision Making 19

Access of Women to Project Benefits 28

Effects on the Status of Women 41


Indicators of Physical Wellbeing 57

Indicators of Economic Wellbeing 64

Indicators of Social Wellbeing 71


Sources of Data on the Participation of Women in Project
Decision Making, Access to Project Benefits, and
Immediate or Long-term Consequences 81

A Comparative Approach for Evaluating the Effectiveness
of Different Project Strategies 90


List of Tables


Table 1. Women in Development Projects, Classified by
Purpose and Sector 7

Table 2. Women in Development Projects, with Intended
Beneficiaries, Major Inputs, and Participation
of Women 11

Table 3. Framework for Evaluating the Distribution of
Project Benefits 55

Table 4. Actual and Alternative Designs for an
Integrated Rural Development Project 80

Table 5. Major Project Characteristics Affecting
Inducement and Ability to Participate 93

Table 6. Basic Sets of Factors in Task Environment
Affecting Participation in Rural Development
Projects 96


This is one of a series of papers presented to encourage discussion on

the evaluation of important development issues. The A.I.D. Program Evaluation

Discussion series reviews findings from evaluation and proposes issues for

evaluation of current and future development activities. The series is coordi-

nated by A.I.D.'s Office of Evaluation.

We are particularly pleased to present this paper to a worldwide develop-

ment audience. Since 1974 A.I.D. has attempted to enhance the role of women

in development (WID). With the recent emphasis within A.I.D. on knowing the

impacts of development assistance, particularly the benefit incidence of

projects and programs, we believe it important to look at the impacts of assisted

activities on poor women, the sub-group of the poor which has been the Agency's

most clearly selected target for help. Directing the fruits of development to

the poor is difficult and we have no illusions about the difficulty of directing

positive impacts to a sub-group of the poor. A.I.D. has been aware that the

U. S. legislative policy regarding women in development is intended to apply to

as much of the program as possible.

Last year we commissioned a data collection effort on evaluations involving

"women's projects" (Elliott and Sorsby, 1979).* The authors of that study

charged that the evaluations they identified appeared scanty and could not

clearly tell impacts. We pursued this by commissioning the present paper to

analyze, in depth, evaluations on women in development projects and to recommend

lessons learned and ways of better evaluating such projects.

This paper verifies the charge. It puts forth a considerable amount of

data on what is now known about bettering the effect of all development projects

on women. We are publishing this paper as a direct challenge to colleagues to

* Available in limited supply from the Office of Evaluation, A.I.D.

- ii -

take the impact of their projects on women more seriously. As an institution,

A.I.D. should be at the stage of learning fully from its "WID" projects and

should be well into the stage of making far larger investments to better the

condition of women.

Thankfully, Dr. Dixon has compiled an impressive array of information on

what is known about impacts of development activities on women. Her recommenda-

tions should give confidence to developers (planners, designers and evaluators)

to put more significant funding into activities intended directly or indirectly

to better the lives of women.

Comments on this report and contributions to the evaluation findings

regarding women in development will be welcome by A.I.D. and the author.

Arvonn raser Robert J. Berg
Coordinator Associate Assistant Administrator
Office of Women in Development Office of Evaluation

Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination

- iii -

About the author

Ruth B. Dixon is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University

of California at Davis. A social demographer, her research interests

center on the social aspects of reproductive behavior, the relation

between economic development and demographic change, and the role of

women in development. She is the author of Rural Women at Work:

Strategies for Development in South Asia (1978) which draws on field

investigations of women's economic activities in Bangladesh, India,

Pakistan, and Nepal. Professor Dixon has been a consultant to the

United Nations Branch for the Promotion of Women, to the Office of

Women in Development at AID, and to the World Food Programme, and is

currently on the Board of Directors of the Population Association of



This report was commissioned by the Office of Evaluation of the

Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination of USAID, in consultation

with the Office of Women in Development, to accomplish four objectives:

1. Examine current evaluations of Women in Development
projects in the Third World for the adequacies and
inadequacies of their measures of social impact, draw-
ing on evaluations of projects funded by AID and by other
donors classified in the report by Veronica Elliott and
Victoria Sorsby, "An Investigation into Evaluations of
Projects Designed to Benefit Women" (1979);

2. Identify, from these same documents, institutional and
substantive lessons learned regarding what works and
what does not in specific socioeconomic environments;

3. Propose a more comprehensive framework for measuring
the impact of development projects on women; and

4. Suggest a strategy for collecting additional information
from the field, and for coordinating evaluations with
other agencies for comparative purposes.

The report that follows differs in several ways from the original

intent. First, it quickly became apparent that the question of "what

works and what does not" in specific socioeconomic environments can be

answered only tentatively and partially from existing documents. Many

Women in Development projects are too new to have completed a formal

evaluation process, even though questions of potential impact on

women are addressed in a preliminary way in Project Papers or other

documents. Among those with completed evaluations, both the descrip-

tion of socioeconomic environment and the measures of social impact

are usually inadequate for these purposes. Identification of

institutional and substantive lessons learned beyond those few

included here, must await a more systematic series of project evalu-

ations based on a comparative methodological approach.

Second, the framework proposed here for measuring the impact of

development projects on women represents a general type of social

assessment that looks at the differential effects of projects on a

variety of social groups: females relative to males, landless

peasants compared with landowners, ethnic minorities compared with

the numerically or socially dominant ethnic group, and so on.

Although the examples in this paper refer to women, the approach is

essentially the same regardless of social category of interest.

Third, although the original objective was to look at evaluations

of Women in Development projects, I am proposing instead an approach to

evaluating the impact on women of any development project -- whether

or not women are.specifically cited as beneficiaries -- ranging from

small-scale local training projects to large-scale integrated land

settlement schemes. The identification in agency files of Women in

Development projects is undoubtedly helpful in assessing the extent

to which projects explicitly recognize women as intended clients and in

documenting the level of funding of such projects, although the

problems of classification are considerable.1/ But whether a project

is classified as "women-specific," "women's component," or general

(beneficiaries identified without regard to gender, such as "small

farmers," "out-of-school youth," "urban slum dwellers"), the methodolo-

gical issues are similar. We need a technique that will help us to

answer the question: under what conditions are women least likely

to be disadvantaged by development projects, both in absolute terms

1/ For discussions of this point, see Elliott and Sorsby (1979);
Staudt (1979); U.S. Agency for International Development (1978).

and relative to men?- Or, to put it more positively, how can we be

sure that women as well as men, girls as well as boys, take advantage

of new opportunities? How can we minimize the differential impact on

males and females of project benefits and costs, and, where sexual

inequalities prevail, ensure that females are able to catch up to males

in their access to material and social resources?

SThe negative wording of the question is intended as a reminder of the
uneven and sometimes disastrous consequences to women of a variety
of development projects and policies in the past. For an overall
perspective, see (among others) Boserup (1970); Chaney and Schmink (1976);
Tinker (1976); Van Allen (1974). Annotated bibliographies on Women in
development include Buvinic (1976), Nonformal Education Information
Center (1978), Rihani (1978).



The Elliott and Sorsby report includes profiles of 43 projects

funded by AID or by private voluntary organizations (PVOs) in which

women are specified as beneficiaries (in whole or in part) and, for AID

projects, that have been evaluated. A number of these do not comply

with the more restrictive definition proposed by AID's Office of Women

in Development, however, which identifies a WID project as one designed

for women only to help them "catch up" with men, or one with a strong

women's component as an integral part of a general project. AID's

definition, which emphasizes women's economic roles, excludes activities

such as maternal and child health or family planning that offer goods

and services in the absence of training or other assistance aimed at

increasing productivity or earnings. According to the Special Concerns

Code for classifying AID projects, the WID category should:

WID WOMEN IN Include activities which will help integrate
DEVELOPMENT women into the economy of their respective
countries, thereby both improving their status
as well as assisting the total development effort. (See Section
113 of the Foreign Assistance Act.) Programs and projects which
are in whole or part specifically designed to afford women the
opportunity to participate in the development process in a
significant way are to be included in this category. Not all
projects which include women as beneficiaries are to be included.
For instance, population projects in which women are merely
recipients of goods, such as contraceptives, or health projects
where mothers receive food and services for their children, are
to be excluded. However, where, in addition to the provision of
goods and services, women receive training or other assistance
designed to-increase their earning capacity or enhance their
economic productivity, include the relevant portion of the funding
for the women's component in this category. Where a specific
women's component is designed into an integrated project, include
the proportion of that component as a women in development effort.
(emphasis added).

Of the 43 projects included in the Elliott and Sorsby report, 32

are reviewed here. Of the 11 that were excluded, 6 are AID agency-wide

grants to U.S. institutions for training or research in which the
analysis of social impact on intended beneficiaries is not possible;-

one is an urban water project with no clear women's component; one is a
day-care center for nutritionally deprived children;- one is a grant
for the evaluation of an educational TV system;- and two are clear

women's projects for which documentation could not be obtained.7/

Evaluations were obtained from AID files and from the July 1978 and Janu-

ary 1979 Directory of Projects Involving Women compiled by the Secretariat

for Women in Development of the New TransCentury Foundation in Washington,

3/ Grants to Stanford University for the design of radio prototypes for
teaching elementary math in LDCs; to Stanford University for curriculum
development in low-cost communication; to Florida State University for
the development of educational technology useful for LDCs; to the Univer-
sity of Massachusetts for training in non-formal education; to Okla-
homa University for research in low-cost methods of water and waste
treatment in LDCs; and to the American Home Economics Association for
training third world home economists in family planning.

4 Taiz Water Rehabilitation in Yemen Arab Republic (AID/NE).

5/ Day care center for hardship children in Chile (AID/LAC),

6/ Evaluation of education TV projects in El Salvador (AID/LAC).

7/ Poultry development in Yemen Arab Republic (AID/NE); Caritas de
Honduras housewives clubs (Inter-American Foundation).

8 I am indebted to Debra DeWitt for collecting and summarizing these
documents. Additional compilations of Women in Development projects
can be found in Mickelwait, Riegelman, and Sweet (1976) and U.S. Agency
for International Development (1978), among others.

The remaining 32 Women in Development projects are listed in

Table 1 according to their purpose and sector. Purposes can be

classified according to a number of criteria. A recipient agency

-- a Ministry of Education, a marketing cooperative, a women's

association -- receives aid on the "promise" that it will provide

goods or services (directly or indirectly) to a targeted class of

beneficiaries within given parameters such as budget and time con-

straints and through designated procedures. These goods or services

are intended to achieve specific project purposes, e.g., "to increase

annual net cash farm incomes over 50% in a five-year period, by adopt-

ing modern sericulture practices." One useful approach is to dis-

tinguish between projects designed primarily to increase the

productivity of beneficiaries (classes of individuals, households, or

localities) and those designed to improve their welfare.-/

Projects defined as increasing productivity try to raise production,

employment, or incomes among the target group, either directly through

skills training (formal or nonformal), group mobilization, technical

assistance, credit, or job creation, or indirectly through the expansion

of physical infrastructures such as electricity, irrigation, and roads,

or through other means. They may focus on productivity in food and

agricultural production and distribution, on nonagricultural production

and services, or on some mix of these. Included in the agricultural

/ "Welfare," for lack of a better term, refers here to the fulfillment
of basic human needs. The distinction between productivity and welfare
is somewhat artificial, since material prosperity (deriving from produc-
tivity) is a basic element of human welfare, while health, education,
and organizational capacity can all increase productivity.




Projects a/



Food and
production &

production &





1. Palm oil purchasing/food marketing in Cameroon
2. Sericulture in northeast Thailand (17)
3. Pig raising in the Republic of Korea (47)
4. Land conservation in Lesotho (9)
5. Rural water systems in Kenya (8)

6. Commercial sewing & baking in Costa Rica (22)
7. Vocational skills training in El Salvador (24)
8. Sewing center in the Philippines (49)

9. Mohair, tie & dye, poultry in Lesotho (10)
10. Food production & processing in Upper Volta
11. Food processing, toy making, silk screen &
crafts in Kenya (44)
12. Income-generating schemes for rural women in
Bolivia (20)
13. Sewing, candy production, floriculture in
Paraguay (29)
14. Rural market women's co-ops in Nicaragua (28)
15. Tandicrafts, animal raising, food crops in
Dominican Republic (52)
16. Women's co-ops in Bangladesh (45)
17. Handicrafts and poultry raising in Fiji (46)
18. Income-generating projects in the Philippines

19. Secondary school for girls in Uganda (12)
20. Primary schools and teachers' hostels in
Afghanistan (31)

21. Literacy & community self help in Ethiopia (5)
22. Radio programs for highland Indians in
Guatemala (26)
23. Community development project in Sri Lanka (30)

24. Audio cassettes on health and nutrition in
Tanzania (11)


- ---,-- ~ --

TABLE 1 (continued)

Purpose Sector Project a/

Improve Community 25. Research on women in Ghanaian development
welfare organization (6)
(continued) 26. Leadership training for PVOs in Ghana (7)
27. Seminars on women in Upper Volta (13)
28. National Women's Development Academy
projects in Bangladesh (16)
29. Citizenship training for girls in Thailand
30. Leadership training for volunteers in
Latin America (9)
31. Leadership training for volunteers in
Costa Rica (23)

Promote All 32. Pespire Valley Integrated Development in
integrated sectors Honduras (27)

a/ Numbers
Sorsby (op.

in parentheses refer

to pages in Section III of Elliott and

sector in Table I are a palm oil purchasing and food marketing cooperative

for women in Cameroon, a sericulture project for farm families in north-

east Thailand, a pig raising project in the Republic of Korea, a land

conservation scheme in Lesotho, and a rural water systems project in

Kenya. The nonagricultural sector includes skills training and production

centers in commercial sewing and other activities in Costa Rica, El

Salvador, and the Philippines. Mixed income-generating projects -- the

most frequently occurring category -- include a variety of small-scale

agricultural and nonagricultural production schemes for low-income

rural and urban women such as handicrafts, poultry raising, and food

production and processing.

Projects defined as improving welfare include general education

in the formal or nonformal sectors (school construction or staffing in

Uganda and Afghanistan, functional literacy and self-help activities in

Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Sri Lanka); health programs (health and education

in Tanzania); and support for national or local organizations for

leadership training, research, program planning, community outreach, and

other activities intended to promote citizen participation. This latter

category, the second most frequent on the list, includes seven projects

in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Some projects overlap the boundaries because of the diversity of

their purposes or the phased sequence of activities. Several projects

in the community organization category, for example, have as their even-

tual goal the expansion of income-generating opportunities for women

although they are still in the formative stages of leadership training

or research. An integrated rural development scheme (listed separately)

will, by definition, try to reach all sectors. But the framework

provides a useful starting point for viewing the Women in Development

projects under discussion here.

Table 2 indicates for the 32 projects the intended beneficiaries

as stated in Project Papers and other documents, the major inputs or

means by which project purposes were to be achieved, and a summary of

the participation of women in project decision making, their access to

project benefits, and the major social and economic impact of the

project on women.

The column labelled intended beneficiaries describes the charac-

teristics of the intended project clientele, or target group. Twenty-two

of the 32 projects are women-specific, that is, are intended to serve an

exclusively female clientele (e.g. "all women of Bui division who want

to join Nso women's co-op" in Cameroon. "50 women from home improvement

clubs in 11 low-income villages" in the-Republic of Korea). The remain-

ing 10 include an assumed or explicit women's component (e.g. "1500

farm families in settlement areas of 8 provinces" in Thailand; "about

300,000 remote rural dwellers in Kenya, especially women."). Twenty of

the projects are based in rural areas, four urban, and eight mixed. The

focus on low-income people is clear, although the immediate beneficiaries

of several leadership training projects are primarily middle or upper-

middle-class women rather than the poor whom they are ultimately expected

to serve.

The size the the target group (where it can be determined) varies

enormously, ranging from the 50 women of home improvement clubs in a

PVO-sponsored pig-raising project in Korea to the 300,000 rural dwellers


0 0
Major a
inputs o r.

a/ Intended 4 S a I a
Project beneficiaries 10. o 0 0 El 0CO4_

i.Palm oil purchasing
food marketing in
Cameroon (4)

(AID grant to Nso
Co-op Union)

All women or Bui
Division who want
to join Nso
Women's Co-op

Participation of
women in project
decision making

Access of
women to
project benefits

Effects of
project on
status of women

_________________ I- t

High local partlc.
in initial

Some transfer of
d-m to male mgt.
of Nso Union

All members of 62
village co-ops
are women

Some poor women
cannot afford
to buy shares

Improved nutrition
at lower cost of
palm oil

Higher incomes
from food sales

Higher self-esteem

Some loss of social
contact at market

Source of

Report by
Inc. 1979
(Donald R.Jackson;

LSericulture in 1500 farm families Active in project 85 of farm Increases in net New TransCentury
northeast Thailand in settlement X X design at local participants family income January 1979
ilt) areas of 8 level; women will be female; average $150/year
(AID) provinces train other 50% of 210 trainees
women in 1978 were female

5Pig raising in 50 women from )( ) X X Village women All participants Increases in income, New TransCentury
Rep. of Korea 4f) home improvement decided on are women pigs bougistfor $35 January 1979
clubs in 11 activity most sold for $198 aver.
(Save the Children low-income donor staff male Poorest women
Federation, Inc.) villages participate less Initial lack of
confidence turns to
enthusiasm and skill

Land conservation 12,000 subsistence X A X ( Women "will be Women "play a Increases in income Project paper
for small farmers farmers of Thaba deeply involved predominant role not expected until
in Lesotho C) Bosiu area ...in the imple- in the field of 1982/83 Independent
mentation of agriculture" )/ evaluation
(AID/IBRD) this project Oct. 1975
(A!DIBR) _____________ -- ____________ ____________ _____________ ct.197

.Water systems for
rural communities
in Kenya (8)


about 300,000
remote rural
dwellers, esp.

Village women
participate in
org'n and mgt.
of self-help
community efforts

Project behind
scheduled wamen
will benefit

Reduction in women's
drudgery of water
collection S/

New TransCentury
June 1978

Evaluation 1976

SA pat C~ahegesj /
Numbersirefer to pages in Section III of

Elliott and Sorsby (op. cit.)

/Details on women's roles are reported in Annex 2 of IBRD Appraisal Report
-JEvaluation of impact on women's daily activities can be found in a CARE
and IBRD report, October 1977. Neither of these was obtained for
this review.

I~ ~ -


' _

TABLE 2 (continued)


6. Commercial sewing
and baking, crafts,
cosmetology in Costa
Rica (22)


7. Skills training
in El Salvador (24)
automechanics, weld-
ing, sewing, tailor-
ing, radiofTV repair,
cooking, cosmetology

8. San Marcos Sewing
Center in Philippines


f9 --1ohair, lnki~i rig,
tie & dye cloth, poul-
try raising in
Lesotho (10)

(US Embassy)

TU IFod prodiictfoh
& processing in Upper
Volta (14)


Major _


About 1,500 low-
income women from
barrios of San Jose

Approx. 1,000 poor
urban residents in
informal economic
sector; about 45%
are women

to W
) s-

-1 0

Participation of
women in project
decision making

Trainees play
major role in
problems, pro-
posing solutions

Access of
women to
project benefits

oroect benefits status of wen

All 181 trainees
are women

Req't of 6th grade
educ. dropped to
recruit poorer women

1 t + ,- ---+----4-. I

Not stated

2,400 trainees
include 1,700 grads
j female not stated

Courses are offered
for women

Poor rural women in 1 .u

Effects of
project on
atu-l-s nf women

Increased incomes in
industrial sewing

Improved housing

Higher aspirations/
exteem of husbands

Group efforts

Major empl't gains
in auto mechanics &
welding, least in
cooking & cosmetology

Province of Balucan

Foor men & women
ages 10-60 in 3 vil-
lages; pred. wives
of men working in
S. Africa mines

Rural women in-60-
villages with female
extension agents

Local women
initiate idea
for sewing center
to build on local
skills and need
for income

Village women
initiate activi-
ties, request tech-
nical assis. from
50-100 women

SAll 20 workers at
San Marcos are
women; 45 more to
I be added.

Presumably all

Village women All women
encouraged to de-
cide indiv. or group
activities (veg.
gardens, peanut oil
presses, grain mills)

Increased incomes
from sale of
children's clothing

Sense of pride &

Innovation of work-
ing outside home

Generated income

Eagerness of village
women to participate

Improved nutrifon of
children in nurseries

Too soon to tell
project is behind

Source of

Nov. 1978

April 1978;
Final report
uM 1 n

New TransCentury
June 1978

New TransCentury
January 1979

Carolyn Barnes,
Voltaic Women's
Roles in Dev't."
January 19781
New TransCentury
.Tnan 107A

.Te 17






1 1,

TABLF 2 (continued)


11. Food processing,
toy making, silk
screen, crafts in
Kenya (44)

12. Agricultural
production, animal
raising, sewing,
crafts, co-op stores
in Bolivia (20)

13. Sewing, candy
production, flori-
culture in Paraguay


__ __ I

14. Rural market
women's co-ops in
Nicaragua (28)


Credit & social ser-
vices in Dominican
Republic (52)
handicrafts, goat
raising, food crops

16. Women's co-ops
in Bangladesh (45)
rice, seeds, oil pro-
cessing, animals &
poultry, silkworms

Major o
inputs i'
-------------to 43
beneficiaries cr

Approx. 220 women
in 4 villages

k 0 O
1. E Ed
O.D iO 0
.0 h 0in

i,-t-I I

+ I I--

Poor Aymara & Quecha
spiking peasant women
18 years or older

1st year, 300 women
&160 men from Asun-
cion & poor rural
communities; 2nd
year double with
70% rural

rural market women
agric'l producers,
poultry, food proces-
sers, artisans (many
are women)

Rural women in the
Sur & Region Centrall
70 groups after 5


Rural women in 4
thanks, esp. wives
small landowners

Ix > :x

K( '~KIX


Participation of
women in project
decision making

Self-help projects
decided by rural
women's groups

Promoters are
peasant women
staff all women

Not stated, al-
though most staff
are female

Access of
women to
project benefits

All beneficiaries
are women

All beneficiaries
are women

192 prof'Is trained;
62 volunteers, 520
% female not stated

.Effects of
Project on
status of women

Income generated
by four groups

Growing self-con-
fidance; opportunity:
to work together

Increased incomes
but limited market

Women interested in
organizing co-ops

Not stated by sex

Participants income
increased in train-
ing; projects not
yet self-supporting


Source of

New TransCentury
January 1979

New TransCentury
June 1978

Project paper;
Nov. 1978


Women occupy 4-6- 55% women in 12 Not stated Project paper;
of 6 top position! credit unions with Project Annual
in each co-opl 1,400 members Review Dec. 1975
evaluation &
advisory team
all female

Village women
initiate projects
almost all staff
are female

Village women
initiate projects
mgt. by females

All beneficiaries
are women

All beneficiaries
are women

Improved access
to credit

Awareness of
social services

Increased incomes
within purdah

Group efforts

New TransCentury
January 1979

New TransCentury
January 1979

I I ---


TABLE 2 (continued)


17T. handicrafts &
poultry raising in
Fiji (46)


18. Food crops &
floriculture, co-op
stores in Philip-
pines (48)


19. Comprehensive
secondary girls'
school in Uganda
(12) (AID)

20. Construction of
170 rural elementary
schools & 40 teachers'
hostels in Afghanistan
(31) (AID)




S ^

85 girls in Metho-
dist andicraft &
Farming School

poor rural women in
32 villages in
Cavite Province


of highschool

Rural children and
teachers; 15% of
places in newly con-
structed schools re-
served for girls

i t -*------4 -4

21. Literacy & com- Adults aged 20-40
munity self-help in in selected urban X
Ethiopia (5) & rural areas i
majority female

22. Radio programs
for highland Indians
in Guatemala (26)


16,000 illiterate
highland Indians
engaged in subsis-
tence agriculture


Participation of
women in project
decision making

Girls perform all
functions of
school farm, which
is self-sustain-
ing. All female

Trained leaders
from villages
consult local
women about
project plans

Not stated

Not stated

Access of
women to
project benefits

All beneficiaries
are female

Village benefi-
ciaries are women;
also 76 leadership

540 students are
all female; % of
teachers female
not known

Quota of 15%
girls met in
Parwan but not in
southern zones; %
teachers female
not known

-- -- -4- -

Women involved in
self-help projects!
staff mostly male
(4 of 24 group
leaders female)

Role of women
not mentioned

80% of 148 partic.
in 6 communities
responding to
were female

% female not stated
among 246 promot-
ers, 9,000 recip-
ients of info.

Effects of
project on
status of women

Not stated

Increased incomes

Leadership skills

Attitude change
from indifference
to involvement

Increase in number
of female graduates
from secondary

Not stated

Not differentiated
by sex

Changing attitudes
toward women's roles
Improved health
practices & diet
Increased literacy,
community partic.,
food production

Not differentiated
by sex

Sane change in agri-
cultural knowledge,
attitudes, practice

Source of

New TransCentury
January 1979

New TransCentury
January 1979

Project paper
revision 1969;
Project Annual
Review 1971-72

Project Paper 1975;
Evaluation cable
May 1976

Internal evaluation
February 1977

New Transcentury
June 1978

John R. Davidson,
"The Basic Village
Education Project
in Guatemala," AID
Sept. 1976;
Project evaluation
summary Jan. 1979.




TABLE 2 (continued)


Project beneficiaries

-~~ I --I--

Girls from slum
areas of Colombo,
esp. school dropouts;
mothers and preschool

Rural women in 2

Nat'l Council on
Women & Developmenti
ultimately, urban &
rural poor women

23. Community devel-
opment in Sri Lanka


24. Audio cassettes
on health & nutrition
in Tanzania (11)


25. Research on
women in Ghanaian
Development (6)


26. Leadership train- Key members of women's
ing for PVOs in organizations in all 9
Ghana (7) regions, ultimately,
urban & rural poor
(AID) women

27. Seminars on women
in Upper Volta (13)


Fed'n of Voltaic Women
and other prof'l women
in Ouagadougou .ult-
imately, all Voltaic

Participation of Access of Effects of
women in project women to project on source of
decision making project benefits status of women information

Most staff
are female

selected group
leaders for project

Research conducted
by Nat'l Council on
Women & Development
women's orgs. get
grants for pilot

Workshops planned
by Ghana Associat-
ion of Women

Women organized 2
seminars on role
of women

Project planned by
Nat'l Women's Org.:
managed & staffed
by women

All beneficiaries
are female

are female

11 beneficiaries
will be women

Improved health of
children in day
care center

Some needlework
skills with pos-
sible income-
generating potential

Initiated self-help
activities in health
nutrition, gardening,

Self-awareness &
pride increased

Not evaluated

1- 1

Ill beneficiaries
will be women

All beneficiaries
will be women

11 beneficiaries
will be women

Some participants
organized local

Some cottage indus-
tries and handicraft

Not evaluated

154 women trained by
NWDA earn salaries
as motivators;
180 women placed in
jobs thru exchange;
About 10,000 rural
women received some

eew TransCentury
January 1979

Joyce Stanley with
Llisa Lundeen, "Audio
Cassette Listening
Forums" (AID, n.d.)

Project Paper

New TransCentury
January 1979

New TransCentury
June 1978

New TransCentury
J an. 1979;
Project Evaluation
Statement Jan. 1979;
Sallie Craig Huber,
"Personal impressions.
AID/Dacca Jan. 1979

28. National Women's 3600 village women X X X X
Development Academy trainees at NWDA
in Bangladesh (16) 16,000 rural women


Villa e women All b fi i


TABLE 2 (continued)

I I- -- -

P, ,n+

29. Citizenship
training for girls in
Thailand (51) (PVOs)

30. Leadership train-
ing for volunteers
in Latin America (19)

31. Leadership train-
ing for volunteers in
Costa Rica (23)

32. Pespire Valley
integrated develop-
ment in Honduras (27)




Girls aged 15-24
from law-income
rural & urban families

Middle & upper-class
women; ultimately,
low-income people

Middle & upper-class
citizens, mainly
women$ ultimately,
low-income people

Small scale, near
subsistence farmers
n 10 village clusters
in Pespire Valley


0 "-



Participation of
women in project
decision making

Access of women
to project

-dei- I .I b.. .

Planned by Girl
Guides Assoc. &
staffed by women

Training organ -
ized & managed by
League of Women'

Training organ-
ized & managed by
women's org. in
Costa Rica

Almost all girls;
some boys added by
local request

All beneficiaries
will be women

All beneficiaries
will be women

Effects of
project on
status of women

Not evaluated

More benefits to
middle class volun-
teers than to poor

consciousness &
political parti-

I I I I I ---I

Not clear:
women "will be"
about 50% of com-
munity council
members for local
decision making

Participation in
diverse activities
not specified by
sex, although
women assumed to

Increased incomes
for 19 women an-
ployed in mango
puree co-op, thog
future uncertain

Source of

New TransCentury
June 1978

End of Project
Evaluation d/

Evaluation memo
1978 d/

Project Evaluation
Summary d/

.4_ _ __ _ _

d/ These evaluations could not be obtained for this review information
drawn from these reports is summarized in the Elliott and Sorsby project


P Aect-

I 1 -





of the CARE/AID water project in Kenya. In general, however, the women-

specific projects are significantly smaller in scale than are the mixed

projects that have the potential, at least, of reaching larger numbers

of female beneficiaries.

The treatment of women's roles assummarized in Table 2 is analyzed

under three headings: the extent of women's participation in project

decision making, either as project staff or as members of the client

group; the extent of women's direct access to project benefits; and the

immediate and long-term effects of the project on women's social and

economic status.10

Participation in decision making refers to women's involvement in

project design, implementation, and evaluation. It is useful to distin-

guish here between the role of women as staff members in donor agencies

ard recipient institutions (service providers) that administer the project,

and the role of women as intended beneficiaries. First, to what extent

and in what capacity are women represented among staff members in donor

and recipient agencies responsible for decisions regarding project planning

and management? Second, does the decision-making process within donor

and recipient agencies reflect an institutionalized concern for the

interest of girls and women as beneficiaries? Third, to what extent

and in what capacitydo women from the class of intended beneficiaries

participate in decisions of what to do and how to do it? How are their

needs and priorities determined and reflected in project design and

-0/ For other approaches to measuring women's participation (or
"popular participation") in development projects, see (among others)
American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service (1975);
Cohen and Uphoff (1977), pp. 27-58; Dulansey (1977); Mickelwait, et al.
(1976); Palmer (1979).

implementation? To what extent do women from the client group participate

in project monitoring and evaluation?

Access to project benefits refers to the extent to which girls

and women are represented among direct recipients of goods and services

such as vocational training, agricultural credit, or membership in cooper-

ative societies. It is important to distinguish here between direct

access to project benefits, and indirect access in which it is assumed

that females benefit as members of families from activities in which

males participate. Numbers and proportions of females among benefici-

aries can generally be obtained from project records pertaining to

direct client contacts: farmers contacted by extension agents, children

enrolled in school, workers on a construction project, recipients of

bank loans, and so on. The identification of beneficiaries within this

context does not prejudge the question of whether they actually

benefited, however, nor does it assume that those without direct

access to project benefits did not gain (or lose) in some obvious or

subtle ways.

The effects of the project on the status of women refer to the

various ways in which women's position in the family and the community

may be affected by the projects, either in absolute terms or relative

to males. Some changes may be positive and others negative; some

intended and others unplanned. Immediate effects should be distinguished

from long-term impacts where possible, although most formal evaluations

are undertaken too soon to pick up long-term impacts.

In the discussion that follows, the Women in Development project

evaluations included in Table 2 are scrutinized for the adequacy of

their treatment of these three dimensions of female participation and

for the "lessons learned" regarding the achievement of their goals.

Participation of Women in Project Decision Making

The role of women staff and beneficiaries in design, implementa-

tion, and evaluation is easier to deduce from the New TransCentury

project profiles than from AID documents. In compiling its directory of

Women in Development projects, New TransCentury asked donor agencies
the following questions, among others:-

13. We would like information about the staff people involved
with this project. First, please list the title -- such as
Project Director, nutrition educator, secretary, etc. Then,
for each position you have listed, record the total number of
people who hold that position, how many of these people are
women, how many of these people are host country nationals,
and how many of these people are expatriates.

19. We are interested in learning how women were involved in
the planning, initiation and design of this project. (Please
describe in detail and distinguish between female staff and
female beneficiary involvement.)

20. We are interested in learning how women were involved in
the management and control of this project; that is, in
determining the direction of the project and in making the
decisions involved with implementing the project. (Again,
please distinguish between female staff and female beneficiary

As an example of the type of information elicited, the New Trans-

Century directory profile of an AID-funded project aimed at modernizing

sericulture practice and raising farm incomes among 1500 families in

settlement areas of northeast Thailand (#2 in Table 2) includes the


SDirectory of Projects Involving Women (Washington, D.C.: New
TransCentury Foundation, Secretariat for Women in Development, July
1978 and January 1979).

Target group involvement: In rural areas, besides the role of
hard-working agricultural laborers, women carry out most of
the principle tasks connected with sericulture. ... Females
participating in this project are playing a key role, first
as recipients of the training received and subsequently as
trainers in assisting in upgrading the skills of women
members of their village group ...

Female staff: Project design team included women officials from
the governmental Public Welfare Department and USAID woman
Assistant Project Officer with women mission/Women in Development
Coordinator active in project review. Efforts of female staff
include recommendations to bring women more fully into local
level project discussions, using women already in sericulture
training to persuade other women to take more action roles,
employing outstanding women to work in Settlement management
positions. Additionally, three out of ten on-site sericulture
supervisors in the project are women. Female staff go out to
the selected sites during the feasibility study.

Staff profile: All nationals except for AID Project Officer
(Male); 1 male Government of Thailand Assistant Project Director;
1 male Government of Thailand Project Manager; 2 Governmental
Project Coordinators (1 Female); 1 female AID Assistant Project
Officer; 10 Governmental Project Supervisors (3 Females); 70
Governmental Agricultural Extension Workers (1 Female) (New
TransCentury, Jan. 1979)

AID documents are less likely to include such detailed information,

at least in the summaries that are most accessible, because questions

regarding female participation are usually not asked.

The typical project model in Table 2, particularly the village

women's income-generating projects and nonformal education schemes,

tries to achieve a high degree of participation in decision making by

intended beneficiaries on a self-help basis. Women are encouraged --

in consultation with staff members who act as catalysts -- to identify

their needs and priorities in group discussions, to decide jointly on

activities that will address their most pressing problems, and to

request appropriate training, credit, technical assistance, or other

goods or services from the administrative agency.- Beneficiaries are

also frequently encouraged to participate in project evaluations.

Two projects providing physical infrastructures for agricultural pro-

duction (land conservation for small farmers in Lesotho #4, water

systems for rural communities in Kenya #5) involve female beneficiaries

in project implementation but not in identification or design. Projects

categorized as improving welfare through community organization (#25-31)

elicit very high levels of female participation throughout the project

cycle because they are planned and implemented by women's organizations.

Among the remaining projects, the role of women in decision making
cannot be ascertained.-

What can we learn about women's participation in project decision

making from a review of available documents? In the absence of a

systematic approach to the question in the various reports, and in

view of the small number of projects under review, the "lessons" must

remain tentative:

1. Female participation in decision making at both staff and

beneficiary levels is higher when projects are administered through

women's sections of government ministries or PVOs or through national

women's associations than through general PVOs or government agencies.

The village-based income-generating activities for peasant women in

Bolivia, for example (#12), are administered by the Rural Women's

12/ Project numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 21, 24
in Tables 1 and 2.

13/ Skills training in El Salvador #7, income-generating activities
in Paraguay #13, school construction in Uganda #19 and Afghanistan
#20, radio programs for farmers in Guatemala #22, integrated rural
development in Honduras #32.

Promotion Division of the Bolivian National Community Development Service.

"The Women's Division works to assure that women are active participants

in these projects at both the decision-making and action levels" (New

TransCentury, June 1978). The community organization project in

Bangladesh (#28), implemented by the National Women's Development

Academy, was "completely planned by the National Women's Organization

[Bangladesh Jatiyo Mahila Sangstha] which is all women, and approved by

the Bangladesh Government Women's Affairs Division (comprised of some

women) and the Planning Commission (comprised mostly of men)" (New Trans-

Century, Jan. 1979). Virtually all staff members are female in those

projects extending funding to women's organizations, many of which

rely extensively on volunteers.

In contrast, women are less fully represented among the paid

staff of some PVOs or government agencies without a specific focus on

women, even when women are the primary or sole beneficiaries. The

Ethiopian nonformal community education project (#21), with approximately

80 percent of beneficiaries female, had a largely male staff which

included only four women among 24 group leaders (New TransCentury,

June 1978). The Thailand sericulture project (#2), with a majority of

intended training recipients female, included only three women among 10

government sericulture supervisors and only one woman among 70 government

agricultural extension officers working with the project (New Trans-

14/ e.g., Lesotho National Council of Women #9, Mujeres en Desarrollo
Inc. in Dominican Republic #15, Sri Lanka Women's Conference #23,
Ghana Assembly of Women #26, Federation of Voltaic Women #27, Bangladesh
Jatiyo Mahila Sangstha #28, Girl Guides Association of Thailand #29.
The Lesotho project, in particular, relied extensively on volunteers
for training rural women in income-generating activities --.from 50
to 100 depending on their availability.

Century, Jan. 1979). A woman-specific income-generating scheme in

Kenya (#11) included only seven women among 20 consultants, even

though specific attempts were made to utilize women wherever possible;

the Korean women's pig-raising scheme (#3) included one female staff

member among six.

Although women's participation in project planning and imple-

mentation could in most cases be increased by channeling funds through

women's organizations or women's components of government ministries

or PVOs, this strategy bears a cost. As noted earlier, women-specific

projects tend, on the whole, to be smaller in scale than those aimed at

classes of beneficiaries such as farm families, out-of-school youth,

or other social categories not limited to females.

2. When women's programs are affiliated with larger male-domin-

ated institutions, decision making on major policy issues tends to be

transferred to men in the parent institution. The Women's Cooperative

for palm oil purchasing and food marketing in the Cameroon (#1), for

example, affiliated with the Nso Cooperative Union -- a secondary level

cooperative with sole marketing rights for cocoa and coffee (men's

cash crops) -- in order to obtain capital funds and technical assistance.

According to one evaluation,

The Cooperative Union auditors perform yearly audits for the
Women's Cooperative, and have also given it financial support,
in the form of three staff salaries. This relationship, plus
the cultural issue of strong male domination, has resulted in
what appears to be a transfer of a certain amount of decision-
making authority to the union management.

A particular example of this was the decision to purchase a
pickup truck for the transport of member produce from the
villages to the cooperative warehouse. The women were against
acquiring the vehicle because they had no experience with one and
felt renting these services would be cheaper. The men from the
union, however, were in favor of the purchase and talked the
women into buying it.(Jackson, 1979, p. 7).

A similar decision-making pattern can occur when the women's

component is formed from the top down by a male-dominated institution.

In Bolivia (#12), although the method used to integrate women in

Bolivia National Community Development Service projects was determined

and implemented by female staff at the local level, "Overall guidelines

in terms of cooperative projects and infrastructure [are] set by men at

[the] national level" (New TransCentury, June 1978). To combat this

tendency, special efforts will have to be made in all projects to

ensure that women play a major decision-making role in the parent

institution as well as in day-to-day project implementation.

3. The participation of female beneficiaries in project planning

and implementation is higher when projects are located in communities

with indigenous formal or informal women's associations, or with a

strong tradition of community self-help. Even given these precondi-

tions, however, women may be hesitant to express their concerns.

Although the Korean pig-raising project (#3) worked with women who were

already members of home improvement clubs engaged in a rice savings

scheme and other community ventures, "The women lacked confidence in

the early stages of the project" (New TransCentury, Jan. 1979). In

the audio-cassette listening forum project in Tanzania (#24) which

recruited leaders and participants from village meetings of national

women's association (Umoja wa Wanawake Tanzania), the first group dis-

cussions of women's priorities "...were stiff and formal, but as the

sessions continued each participant seemed to realize that the problems

she was identifying were also being heard and felt by others. The

atmosphere became increasingly open and informal" (Stanley, n.d., p. 29).

A local tradition of community cooperation (Harambee) enhanced the

participation of women in village committees of the Kenya rural water

project (#5) as well as legitimizing their contributions of cash and

labor. Women's opinions were also actively solicited in this project

as a component of the evaluation process. In general, then, working

through indigenous community groups in which women play an active role

offers an excellent means of mobilizing female decision making in

project design and implementation.

4. Within village women's associations or cooperatives, the

pattern of female decision making tends to reflect the male power

structure of the community. Although most evaluations do not address

this issue directly, a report on the Nso Women's Cooperative in

Cameroon states that "The wives of the chief and his elders were the

leaders of both village groups interviewed. These leaders are often

chosen on the basis of their respect within the community and their

ability to control a group of women" (Jackson, 1979, p. 6). (For an

additional discussion of this issue in another cultural context, see

Dixon, 1978, pp. 139-145.) This tendency may be useful in acquiring

support for the project from village elites, but dysfunctional from the

point of view of involving the poorest women in project decisions.

5. When rural or urban women from the target group of low-

income families play an active role in group discussions to set project

priorities, they are most likely to identify economic need as their

most pressing problem. In the Cameroon (#1), this concern focused on the

irregular supply and high cost of palm oil (a staple of local diets)

and on the uncertain market and low returns on marketing food crops. In

other projects, women requested assistance in finding jobs or in

undertaking individual or group income-generating (or saving)

Korea #3 (pig-raising): "The women's home improvement clubs
had expressed a great interest in increasing income in other
than the traditional areas of farming and seaweed raising and
processing" (New TransCentury, Jan. 1979)

Costa Rica #6 (vocational training in San Jose): "The women
in the Leon XIII program defined their most pressing need as
economic, and requested training which would lead to actual
employment" (PES Nov. 20, 1978, p. 7)

Philippines #8 (sewing center): "Target group initiated project
idea through expressed need for additional sources of income to
upgrade families' lives and recognition that skills in needle-
craft already existed among them" (New TransCentury, June 1978)

Lesotho #9 (mohair, tie & dye, poultry): "Because essentially
the majority of the able-bodied males are out of the country,
Lesotho women feel both an urgent need and a strong sense of
duty to ... sustain themselves economically" (New TransCentury,
Jan. 1979)

A second concern, expressed particularly strongly in several

African projects, is women's heavy domestic and agricultural burdens.

The Cameroon Nso Women's Palm Oil Cooperative (#1) originated in an

earlier experience with group purchasing of mechanical corn grinders to

solve the problem of extremely labor-intensive hand grinding methods.

In early meetings of the nonformal education groups in Tanzania (#24)

some women expressed particular anger at their heavy burdens compared

with men and their lack of control over money:

Women work just as hard as the men. Yet, when we return from
our work in the field, the men rest and we must care for the

5-/ See also Bolivia #12, Dominican Republic #15, Bangladesh #16,
among others.


children, wash the clothes and prepare the man's food.
Where is our time for resting?

The money is spent on drinking, not on us or on the
children. We share the work, or do more of it, but he
takes all the money telling us it's his -- that he earned
it. It is a joke. (Stanley. n.d., p. 30)

These consciousness-raising sessions resulted in concrete plans

for income-generating activities and community improvements that formed

a basis for a sophisticated nonformal educational program using audio-

cassettes in group sessions.

Access of Women to Project Benefits

The second dimension of female participation refers to the extent

to which girls and women have direct access to the goods and services

provided by the project. New TransCentury asked the following questions

in compiling its directory:

16. How is this project designed to benefit women? Rather,
what were the unique needs of women that this project was
designed to address?

17. Please describe the major functions or activities of
this project. That is, how is this project structured to carry
out your objectives?

18. With which of these project activities are women actually
involved? How?

Among the 22 women-specific projects in Table 2, women by defini-

tion have direct access to benefits. The question of access in these

cases relates both to constraints on the overall participation of

women as reflected in the numbers of clients, and to the selectivity of

those who do participate according to their socioeconomic characteristics.

For those projects with or without a specific women's component,

we need to know in addition what percentage of those who have direct

access to goods and services such as loans or training are female.

In three of the four projects for which the percentages can

be ascertained at least approximately, there appears to be some slippage

between the anticipated representation of females as defined in

project papers and their actual participation as measured in project

annual reviews or other documents. In the Thailand sericulture scheme

(#2), 85 percent of expected participants were reported in one document

to be female, whereas another reported actual enrollments in a 1978

sericulture training course of 103 men and 107 women.-- The Nicaragua

credit cooperatives for market women and agricultural producers, food

processors, and artisans included 55 percent women among their 1,400

members at the time of review -- a significant accomplishment, but

less than anticipated in a project titled "Rural Market Women's

Cooperatives." The primary school construction project in Afghanistan

(#20) was unable in some regions to fulfill its quota of 15 percent of

spaces in new schools reserved for girls. Only in the nonformal educa-

tion project in Ethiopia (#21) did the actual percentage of female

participants (80 percent of those responding to a questionnaire) appear

to meet or exceed expectations.

Six projects did not report percentages of female beneficiaries

in documents retrieved for this analysis. Two are large rural infra-

structure projects aimed at increasing agricultural productivity -- soil

conservation in Lesotho (#4) and rural water supply in Kenya (#5) --

for which figures on female participation may be available in World

Bank documents cited in Table 2 but are not reported in AID summaries.

Two are vocational training programs. In El Salvador (#7), although

women were 45 percent of the target group of marginal urban service

workers, data from the followup questionnaires of trainees showing their

current employment status and incomes are not disaggregated by sex.

Similarly, the Paraguay project (#13) included specific targets for

intended trainees (300 women and 160 men in the first year) but not

actual female participation rates in the Project Evaluation Summary

(Nov. 1978).

6- USAID, Thailand Sericulture/Settlements Project: Joint Mid-Term
Evaluation, Jan. 1979.

The final two projects are the agricultural radio programs for

peasant farmers in Guatemala (#22) and the integrated rural development

project of Pespire Valley in Honduras (#32). The Guatemala radio campaign

was aimed at two populations: illiterate highland Indians in subsis-

tence agriculture and Spanish-speaking Latinos in the southeast.

Symbolized by the radio messages called "Let's Talk, Mr. Farmer," the

complex experimental scheme to change agricultural knowledge, attitudes,

and practices did not once identify in a major summary document whether

women participated as farmers, radio listeners, forum discussants,

community change agents, or questionnaire respondents (Davidson, 1976).

Women's role as agricultural producers appears to be completely ignored.

The Pespire Valley scheme in Honduras included explicit references to a

women's component in the Project Paper (women were to make up 50

percent of community council members in the 10 village clusters, for

example), but according to the Elliott and Sorsby summary of the

evaluation, the major income-generating activity for women was a

cooperative mango puree plant employing 19 women during harvest, with

an uncertain future.17/

The tentative lessons that can be gleaned from the documents

regarding conditions that facilitate or impede women's direct access to

project activities include the following:

6. Women have more direct access to project benefits when

planners explicitly recognize the prevailing sexual division of labor

and design activities that build on women's work and enable them to

control their earnings. In the Cameroon, for example (#1), men

7- The Project Evaluation Summary cited in Elliott and Sorby p. III-27
could not be obtained for this review.

traditionally cultivated coffee and cocoa while women cultivated food

crops. Whereas an effective cooperative marketing system was available

for both coffee and cocoa, food crop marketing (mostly corn, beans, and

potatoes) was left to small itinerant traders (Jackson, 1979, p. 3).

It was to solve this problem of unreliable markets and low returns that

the members of the women's palm oil purchasing cooperative decided to

organize a marketing system of their own, selling food primarily to the

plantations from which they purchased palm oil and using the same

transport for both transactions. A plan for marketing food crops

through the male-dominated coffee or cocoa cooperatives would undoubted-

ly result in lower food crop production as women lost control over their

earnings. The Thailand sericulture project (#2) was explicitly designed

to reach girls and women who carried out most of the principle tasks

connected with traditional methods of sericulture. In the Philippines

sewing project (#8), women recognized that their needlecraft skills formed a

natural basis on which to build income-generating activities.

The strategy of building on women's work reduces the likelihood

that resources will be' co-opted by men, but the danger always remains

that once an enterprise becomes profitable, men will be interested in

taking it over. In the Gambia, for example, about 4,000 women were

successfully growing onions as a cash crop when male farmers decided

for the first time to ask the government for similar assistance

(Tinker, 1979, p. 13). Although their onion schemes were apparently not

successful (in part because their wives refused to work on them), the

importance of control over earnings as an incentive to production

remains central.

7. Project activities that fit with prevailing cultural norms

and the allocation of household responsibilities attract higher rates

of female participation by reducing resistance from the women themselves,

from their husbands or fathers, and from the community at large.

Although this approach is a conservative one, it appears to offer a

valuable means of providing larger numbers of girls and women with

direct access to benefits, while at the same time acting as a sort of

"wedge" with which to introduce more comprehensive changes in a phased

sequence. The Bolivian income-generating project for peasant women (#12)

is a good example:

Women are ... receptive to certain types of participation.
What we attempt to do is build upon those areas of participation
which are acceptable in order to generate others. Their hus-
bands tend to feel the same, in that they support activities
which don't detract from normal time usage, chores, etc. (New
TransCentury, June 1978).

Similar experiences are reported in Bangladesh, the Philippines,

and Costa Rica. In Bangladesh,

One of the problems of the rural woman in Bangladesh is that she
has no opportunity to earn an independent income and thus con-
tribute financially to the welfare of her family. Because of
the system of Purdah, she is often isolated in her compound with
little chance to learn income generating skills, gain educa-
tional qualifications or participate with other women in social
activities (New TransCentury, Jan. 1979).

In its organization of women's cooperatives, the Bangladesh project

(#16) worked within these restrictions by offering women new possibili-

ties for earning independent incomes in rice cultivation, seed distri-

bution, oil pressing, etc. while providing an acceptable mode of

association with other women. Women in the Philippines (#18) expressed

similar concerns:

Income-generating women's projects to be engaged in [poultry,
pig fattening, mushrooms, floriculture] are home-based and
small scale entrepreneurial pursuits since the majority of
rural Filippino women express a desire to combine their family-
household roles with new, compatible means of attaining higher
levels of living (New TransCentury, Jan. 1979).

In San Jose, Costa Rica (#6), women reported that "... their

husbands did not want them to leave the immediate area to seek employ-

ment or training because of family and household obligations" (Project

Evaluation Summary, Nov. 1978). Participants decided to locate an

industrial sewing facility and baking cooperative within their residen-

tial area; evaluators recommended that "An orientation of the project

be provided to husbands and fathers of participants."

Some constraints can be overcome simply by redesigning projects

to include child-care or dormitory facilities or by adapting the timing

or duration of training and employment to women's daily and seasonal

round of work. The Costa Rican women, identifying the complete lack

of child care as a major impediment to their participation in training

sessions, established a temporary facility with plans for a permanent

one. Village women in Bangladesh were able to attend training classes

in silkworm production when a dormitory for non-commuting students was

constructed. Evaluators of the El Salvador vocational training program

recommended that certain courses be offered in smaller communities by

mobile teams rather than in larger towns or cities requiring extended

absences from home. Policies such as these would certainly facilitate

women's access to services. In the long run, of course, efforts would

be directed toward distributing domestic responsibilities among all

household members to reduce the weight of women's double burden in the


8. Women's direct access to project goods and services is

frequently limited by customary or legal restrictions on their right to

resources such as land, credit, or schooling. Forming the core of a

complex system of social stratification based on age and sex (among other

attributes), these structural and cultural barriers can sometimes be

penetrated with the permission of higher status individuals or groups

if the latter can be mobilized to support the project.

Lack of independent land rights can be a severe impediment.

Women in the Cameroon cooperative, for instance, receive permission for

land use through their husbands who petition on the women's behalf to the

village chief. In the land conservation scheme for subsistence farmers

of Thaba Bosiu in Lesotho (#4), women's access to training in animal

husbandry or to decision-making positions on range management committees

is restricted by the traditional practice of granting grazing land at

the age of majority to every Basotho male. In Upper Volta (#10),

At the village level men must be consulted and support gained
if women are to participate [in new income-generating activi-
ties], because a male head of household usually has authority
over the allocation of time and labor of its female members.
Also, if the land is needed for an activity since males control
access rights to land their consent must be obtained. Further,
the involvement of men may be necessary to undertake activities,
such as construction of buildings and fences, since according
to social norms certain functions are performed by men
(Barnes, n.d., pp. 6-7).

Projects frequently require that credit be granted to males

even when production is based on women's work. In the Thailand seri-

culture project, for example, each family is entitled to a loan

through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to

get the project started. Although the available documents do not say

whether women can apply as individuals, the family unit is usually

represented in formal transactions by the male household head.

Even the basic right to receive certain kinds of training may

be denied to women.by local tradition. In the Upper Volta project,

female regional coordinators and national staff in the domestic economy

units are under the direct supervision of men; "hence, the consent of

these men is essential for project success. For instance, these

officers have to be willing to permit the female staff to participate

in training sessions" (Barnes, n.d., p. 7; emphasis added).

The most extreme example, however, comes from Afghanistan (#20),

where only 10 percent of primary school students in rural areas are

girls. Most rural parents refuse to send their daughters to a co-

educational school, yet two provinces have no village schools for girls

at all. According to the Project Paper, "... traditional Afghan values

dictate segregation of the sexes. ... Segregation is more strongly

enforced as children approach puberty, resulting in more female dropouts"

(Jan. 1975, p. 43).

In sum, tactics may be needed in many projects to persuade those

in power -- village leaders, employers, parents -- to "permit" girls or

women to transcend the traditional restrictions on their mobility, with

the long range goal of building an independent power base from which to

press for more basic cultural and structural transformations.

9. The poorest women in the community typically have less

access to project goods and services than those who are relatively

better off. Although this is not surprising in view of the findings

from most development projects, the situation is sometimes exacerbated

by setting unnecessary criteria for eligibility. Although the Costa

Rican vocational training project was aimed at women in low-income

families of San Jose, the original requirements were set at a 6th

grade education. Realizing that this excluded many poor women, organi-

zers subsequently dropped the requirement. In the Korean pig-raising

project, although women were selected from home improvement clubs on

the basis of their low income and their expressed interest in the

project, "Not enough of the very poor families in the communities were

involved. The initial groups participating tended to be a little

better off and more highly motivated" (New TransCentury, Jan. 1979).

By working through formal women's groups, organizers were able to capi-

talize on the women's decision-making skills but bypassed the poorest,

most isolated women who remained outside the structure of community

associations. The poorest village women in the Cameroon were also

largely excluded from the palm oil and food marketing cooperatives, in

part apparently because some could not buy a share or the membership

fee (Jackson, 1979, p. 9). Reaching the poorest of the poor may require

bypassing traditional community associations or informational networks,

an approach that raises additional difficulties of recruitment and


10. Shortages of volunteers and of trained female staff pose

major obstacles to the recruitment of more women as beneficiaries.

Although such shortages are likely to pervade most typesof development

projects, women-specific projects are particularly hard hit because they

tend to rely more heavily on volunteers due to funding limitations. In

addition, women working in the field as volunteers or as paid project

staff members face special problems.

The first issue is the heavy reliance of some projects on volun-

teers. Although several evaluations report high levels of enthusiasm

among volunteers, others hint at their lower incentive to work (e.g.,

Lesotho #9). In either case, the capacity of projects to reach large

numbers of beneficiaries is constrained by the number of volunteers.

The Costa Rican vocational training program, for example, "Currently

has more requests for training from government agencies than it can

provide, and thus the possibility of reaching the desired number of

women exists, but is limited by the current number of available

volunteer trainers (9) and research aides(3)" (Project Evaluation

Summary, No. 1978, p. 2).

Although the use of volunteers permits women's projects to

operate on a larger scale than would be possible if all staff positions

were paid, the practice raises serious questions regarding the motiva-

tion of governments or donor agencies to provide serious funding for

women's projects. It is doubtful that a large-scale project aimed at

training men in agricultural techniques or industrial skills would

expect male staff members to contribute their labor. The funding of

staff positions on women's projects would also permit more active

recruitment of women trainees from the target population of beneficiaries,

rather than relying on volunteers from a different social stratum.

Grants to PVOs for leadership training of volunteers (e.g., Ghana #25

and #26, Upper Volta #27, Latin America #30, Costa Rica #31) tend to

support middle and upper-class women who may or may not translate their

training into genuine advocacy for the poor.

The second issue relates to the working conditions of paid

female staff, especially those working as promoters in rural areas. The

model of training rural women to teach other rural women, clearly

a cost-effective approach to community development, is followed by a

number of the projects in Table 2. In Bolivia (#12), promoters are

peasant women trained by the National Community Development Service

and assigned to communities based on the type of project solicited.

The promoters are all literate although the female community leaders

may not be. One of the major problems with the program, according to

one evaluation, is that the personnel live under difficult, isolated

conditions with low salaries.

The social isolation of outsiders in villages is often acute.

In Afghanistan, for example,

Qualified teachers have been reluctant to work in remote rural
areas where motivation is difficult to maintain and urban
incentives are non-existent. ... There have been no houses
for rural teachers. Social isolation from the community and
local politics, and reinforcement of social distance between
villages and teacher, has been commonplace (Project Paper,
Jan. 1975, p. 4).

Women teachers in Afghanistan, who are more likely to come from towns

or from Kabul than from rural backgrounds, are especially reluctant

to seek rural jobs. "Women are unlikely to be allowed, nor would

they voluntarily seek to live alone without relatives to protect them,

and thereby diminish the possibility of marriage." Women's reluctance

to teac- in rural areas increases the reluctance of parents to send

their daughters to school, for most parents outside Kabul will not send

their girls to school unless they are taught by a woman.

Even when workers are selected for training by women within

their own village and return there to work, conditions are often

difficult. Although promoters in a community organization project in

Bangladesh (#28) were trained at district centers near their homes,

Lack of appointment letters for field workers and irregular
receipt of salaries is shattering the morale of the workers.
Perhaps this is one cause of the resignations of field workers
who are seeking more job security in other development
programs (Huber, 1978, p. 1)

Lack of communication of field workers with central offices is

an additional source of frustration for many. Whereas the Bangladesh

income-generating cooperative project (#16) cites as one basis of its

success the close supervision and contact with beneficiaries deriving

from the location of field offices in the same geographic areas, other

evaluations refer to the low levels of communication between central

offices and rural areas (e.g., Dominican Republic #15, Bolivia #12) which

result in a lack of "fit" between centrally made policy decisions and

local needs, as well as in the sense of isolation of field workers.

In many cultures, women field workers face additional restrictions on

their ability to travel freely either betweenvillages or to urban


In addition, female extension agents are often expected to

perform too many diffuse functions with inadequate training in any of

them. Domestic economy workers in Upper Volta, for example (#10), are

supposed to promote and supervise both agricultural and nonagricultural

production activities for women, as well as home economics, hygiene,

health, literacy, and other functions. Village promoters in Bangladesh

(#28) learn nutrition, family planning, home management, cooperative

principles, leadership skills, and'adult literacy in the district

training centers. Combined with a general negligence of followup

training, the lack of a sharp focus to the promoter's role appears

to contribute to feelings of inadequacy. In many cases, these problems

could be overcome by promoting improved working conditions such as


higher salaries (at least equivalent to what male workers earn in

similar capacities), more followup training permitting workers to dis-

cuss their experiences and problems with one another and with their

supervisors, and safe transportation and housing facilities for women

workers. All of these could be built into the project design.

Effects on the Status of Women

This dimension refers to the immediate and long-term consequences

of the project -- both positive and negative -- to women in the project

area, whether or not they are (or were) direct participants. Both

absolute changes in the status of women, and changes in their position

relative to men in the family or household and the community, are key

issues here.

Adequate answers to these questions depend of course on the

completion of systematic evaluations. Although the Elliott and Sorsby

report intended to include those Women in Development projects that

have been evaluated, it is clear both from their project profiles and

from further examination of the documents that many "evaluations" are

drawn from sources outlining expected benefits. In the case of AID,

these are sometimes End of Project Status (EOPS) statements in Project

Papers; in the case of PVOs, these are sometimes informal observations

in which the method of review or substantiating evidence is not described.

In its questionnaire regarding project impacts on women, New

TransCentury asks:

21. Has any project evaluation been done to date? If so,
what results did you expect? What results were achieved?
How did you go about measuring this?

22. In order to participate or benefit from the project,
what sacrifices or accommodations did the women beneficiaries
have to make? What tasks did not get done? Was their rou-
tine complicated by additional tasks?

23. In retrospect, so far, what parts of this project have
been especially successful? What has worked out best?

For 13 of the 33 projects listed in Table 2, evaluations had

either not yet been conducted or were not cited in available

summaries,- although one did include plans for doing so (#15). Most

of these summaries nevertheless refer in a general way to project

effects such as increased earnings or a growing sense of enthusiasm

and self-confidence among participants.

Among the rest, almost all of the evaluation documents examined

are inadequate for our purposes in two respects. First, they tend to

concentrate overwhelmingly on measuring project outputs in relation to

purposes -- the number of persons enrolled in a training program, the

number of members of a cooperative, the number of households connected

to water supplies -- while ignoring the larger issue of how the project

affects the everyday lives of beneficiaries. As such, they really

measure participation rather than impact. Second, among those projects

that are not women-specific, data on participation or on impact are

rarely disaggregated by sex. Thus we have little idea of the conse-

quences to females either in absolute terms or relative to males.

Several vocational skills and nonformal education projects offer

good examples of these approaches. The vocational skills program for

low-income people in Paraguay (#13) provides data on the number of coor-

dinators, promoters, course participants, and income-generating projects

started, without reference either to numbers of men and women or to the

impact of these activities on their lives (Project Evaluation Summary,

Nov. 1978). Three projects with sophisticated evaluation techniques that

include baseline data and followup measures do not disaggregate their

data by sex. El Salvador (#7) reports the employment and income status

of 60 percent of over 1,000 graduates from vocational training classes

18/ Project numbers 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29.

a year later according to subject matter, but not by sex; Ethiopia (#21)

includes indicators of changes in attitudes and behavior in literacy,

nutrition, health, family planning, etc. without reference to gender;

and Guatemala (#22) includes a wide range of logistical data on numbers

of promoters trained and communities reached by radio programs, inclu-

ding measures of changes in agricultural knowledge and practices of

farmers in experimental and control villages, but without specifying

differences between men and women.

Two women-specific projects do include interesting information

on project impacts. Costa Rica (#6) reports "a measurable increase" in

the economic level of women trained in industrial sewing, an improvement

of housing conditions, increased access to social services, and impor-

tant social effects:

Participants in the motivation/adaptation training repeatedly
expressed that they now have higher aspirations, more self-
awareness, a better self image; are able to identify problems
and work on solutions; enjoy working in a group; and that
there is a definite change of attitude on the part of their
husbands (PES Nov. 1978, p. 9).

(Conclusions are not substantiated by quantitative data, however, which

were to be obtained from followup questionnaires). The Tanzania audio-

cassette nonformal education project (#24) includes both pre- and post-

tests of women in participating and control villages which, combined with

evaluation seminars and unstructured observations, provides information

on changes in a variety of attitudes and behaviors (Stanley, n.d.)

Others are more general in their discussion of project impacts,

at least in their report summaries. An evaluation of the comprehensive

Lesotho soil conservation scheme (#4), noting among other things that

"Experience thus far has shown no indication of any groups either

resisting or being harmed by the project," adds that "With the possible

exception of profits to some villages from fish ponds, it has not yet

caused any increase in rural income and with the exception of a few

households, will not bring about any appreciable increase during the

projected six-year life of the Project" (Evaluation Report, Oct. 1975,

Annex V). The CARE-assisted Kenya rural water project evaluation (#5)

focuses primarily on the administrative and managerial problems of

meeting the target numbers of water beneficiaries, pointing in addition

to the general absence of a significant self-help component in most

community efforts. Although the EOPS of the Project Paper anticipates

major benefits to women (less time spent fetching water, more time for

child care, family betterment, agricultural production), the evaluators

conclude that "CARE's overweening preoccupation with the benefits of

these projects upon women and ... upon agricultural productivity and

health is unjustified," in part because the assumption that women will

use the time productively is untested, and in part because additional

technical inputs would be required to achieve these purposes that are
not forthcoming (Biggs and Schott, 1976:32).19

Given the uneven quality and quantity of impact data, the task

of gleaning lessons from evaluation summaries becomes even more pre-

carious. Nevertheless, the following generalizations are offered on

the basis of the evidence available for these 32 projects:

11. The social impact of projects is magnified when women are

organized for group action, particularly when they were previously

19/ A report by CARE (Oct. 1977) on project impacts on women was not
available for this review.

confined to their households or were unused to collective activity.

The process of getting together appears to have stimulated considerable

enthusiasm among women across the range of projects under consideration

here. Seven evaluations referred specifically to the group process as

a vital ingredient of project success, while one referred to the loss

of social contact as a project "cost" (women in Cameroon selling food

crops to cooperative buyers rather than in the marketplace, as before),

and one mentioned the lack of social cohesiveness as an obstacle to

achieving project goals (community development in the slums of Colombo,

Sri Lanka).

Group activities tend to engender feelings of pride, self-confidence,

and skill (6 projects), of eagerness and enthusiasm (2 projects), of

awareness of leadership skills (2 projects), and of higher aspirations

(1 project). When limited to women only, the group may offer the only

culturally acceptable means for participants to leave their homes for

collective action (e.g. for purdah-observing women in Bangladesh). The

San Marcos sewing center in the Philippines, for example, is described

as having the following impact on the women who participated:

Women have achieved an ongoing additional source of income
from an idea they originated, thus not only are the results
tangible in the growing business but intangible as well in
their well deserved sense of pride and competence at their

The fact that the project started within its own building
provided women with the opportunity to literally "go to work."
The women responded enthusiastically to this innovation in
their lives. (New TransCentury, June 1978)

12. More lasting effects may be experienced when women unfamiliar

with organized cooperative efforts begin with a single activity that

carries clear and immediate benefits, then move into other activities

as their skills and confidence increase. The Cameroon women's coopera-

tive provides a good example of a phased sequence of events. In the

first stages, women mobilized for the purchase of corn mills to reduce

the daily drudgery of grinding corn at home: subsequently, and after

a considerable time lapse, they organized a palm oil purchasing scheme,

then a food marketing scheme, with future plans for fertilizers and

consumer stores. The project description concludes with a clear

lesson: "Starting slowly and answering one problem or issue at a time

has allowed the leaders to grow at their own pace and ability"

(Jackson, 1979, p. 9).

13. The achievement of concrete economic benefits is a key

motivating factor responsible for maintaining group activities. Fifteen

projects cited higher incomes (or savings) as indicators of success,

e.g. additional net incomes per family of $150 a year for the Thai

farm families engaged in sericulture (#2), and profits from the pig

fattening project of a women's group in the Republic of Korea (#3).

Evaluators of the Kenya project for women (#11) report that "The income-

generating part of the project has been the most successful area of

endeavor," while those of the Ethiopian nonformal education project

(#21) recommend greater emphasis on income-generating projects and

areas of community development. The absence of clear economic benefits

may reduce the motivation for some women to participate. Although the

linkage is not explicit, evaluators of the Sri Lanka project consisting

(among other activities) of lectures on nutrition, sanitation, and home

gardening for mothers reported that "The program for the mothers had

a limited success as the attendance was sometimes below expectation"

(New TransCentury), Jan. 1979).

Evaluations of the Lesotho land conservation scheme doubted that rural

households would willingly alter their patterns of production in the

desired direction (controlled livestock grazing, etc.) unless yields

could be increased by at least 50 percent or even doubled.

14. Marketing proves to be one of the most difficult obstacles

to creating viable economic enterprises based on the small-scale

production of most rural women's projects. Not only do female

beneficiaries frequently lack the skills needed to establish regular

markets, but they face additional problems such as cultural disapproval

or personal reluctance to carry goods to market (Bolivia #12), lack of

access to transport (Fiji #17), and difficulties of competing with

established enterprises. Profits from the palm oil sales of the

Cameroon women's cooperative, for example, helped subsidize the marketing

of food crops:

The cooperative structure is a constraint to making food marketing
profitable -- particularly when competing with private dealers,
who havelower transportation costs, sophisticated marketing
contacts. In addition, members do not view the cooperative as
their own but rather as an outside force with unlimited
finances. This often results in members demanding unreasonable
prices for their produce at the institutional level (Jackson,
1979, p. 8).

Project designs should pay explicit attention to marketing

requirements to ensure that income-generating schemes for women can

become genuinely self-supporting, rather than being maintained as

"charitable" enterprises based on a welfare mentality. By the same

token, of course, vocational training projects should be based on a

thorough analysis of local labor market conditions to ensure that

trainees can find employment at least at prevailing wages. Although

the El Salvador vocational training courses (#7) reduced the overall

level of unemployment of trainees from 68 to 48 percent, students

graduating from the cooking and cosmetology classes (presumably almost

all female) maintained the highest levels of subsequent unemployment

(over 60 percent), while those graduating from automechanics and welding

classes (presumably male) had the lowest rates(13 and 36 percent,

respectively) (Final Report/Evaluation, May 1978, p. 7). Evaluators

recommended revising the types and locations of courses offered in

order to assure that they respond to real needs for skills training

applicable to local labor market conditions.

15. If girls and women are not specifically identified in

project papers as intended beneficiaries, they are likely to remain

invisible in planning and evaluation documents. This general observation

relates to two processes. First, when clients are defined as "poor,

unskilled, urban and rural students," "poor children ages 6-14 and

their families," or "small scale, near subsistence farmers," the

evaluator is not reminded to look at the distribution of project benefits

among male and female unskilled students, or male and female poor

children, or men and women within farm families.

Second, in the absence of a clear identification of females

among clients, project administrators are less likely to consider women's

needs and priorities during design and implementation, and less likely

to train female workers to serve a female clientele (e.g., the women of

farm families who would benefit from direct assistance in agricultural

production and marketing of their own crops).

This shortcoming derives from the role of social soundness

analysis in project design. Rather than forming the basis for deciding

what types of interventions are best suited to particular socioeconomic

situations -- that is, rather than actively shaping decisions about

project type, location, and design -- most social analysis appears as

an afterthought, a justification (required for AID project approval) of

decisions based on other criteria. Yet, as Heli Perrett points out

in her perceptive report,

Such design stage social analysis prepares the way for social
analysis during and following implementation through identifying
critical assumptions about the process of development and flow
of benefits which can be monitored; identifying possible
negative consequences and distributional questions which should
be looked at during project evaluation; identifying longer term
social changes which might come about as a result of the
project and the early signs which precede them (Perrett, 1978,
p. 10).

Perrett's comments are particularly relevant to the question of

women. AID Country Development Strategy Statements rarely pay specific

attention to women's social and economic roles, and more rarely link

these to planning strategies.-/ Critical assumptions appearing in

the Logical Framework rarely refer to social issues such as the distri-

bution of benefits within the household. Although the project development

process outlined in Handbook 3 requires specification in Project

Identification Documents and Project Papers of identities of intended

beneficiaries and the extent of their proposed participation, few
explicitly refer to women.- The lack of attention to the differential

impact of projects on males and females during project monitoring and

evaluation is consequently not surprising.

- Memo from Patrick Fleuret, PPC/PDPR/HR, "The treatment of development-
linked male/female roles in 46 current CDSSs" (March 26, 1979) and response
from Kathleen A. Staudt, PPC/WID, "Women in development: the CDSSs"
(May 18, 1979).
1- The situation should be improved considerably with the adoption of
Handbook 3 revisions that pay special attention throughout to the roles
of women. See memo from Kathleen A. Staudt, PPC/WID, "Recommended
additions for revision of Handbook 3" (February 28, 1979).

Preliminary social soundness analysis plays at least two key

roles.22/ One is to protect people from harmful consequences. As

William Siffin points out,

The basic aim is negative -- to minimize the likelihood of error --
the kind of error that has too often diverted project benefits
from intended recipients, that has produced success at the cost
of non-replicability, that has damaged those who were intended
to be helped. Social soundness analysis is protective, aiming
to avoid certain kinds of outcomes as well as foster certain
general values (Siffin, n.d., p. 6).

This protective role relates directly to the question raised in the

introduction: under what conditions are women least likely to be

disadvantaged by development projects, either in absolute terms or

relative to men?

A second role of social analysis is to prevent expensive

failures that demoralize AID donors and recipients alike. A prelim-

inary analysis that leads to (among other things) the "discovery" of

women's often hidden social and economic roles will improve the chances

of meeting project purposes and goals. In the absence of baseline

information on the sexual division of labor in the production of goods

and services for domestic consumption and for sale or exchange, on

the sexual distribution of rewards, and on the participation of women

and men in household and community decision making, assistance may be

misdirected. A program aimed at increasing agricultural production by

organizing marketing cooperatives for (mostly male) household heads, for

example, is likely to fail if the crop was traditionally grown and

22/ Guidelines for conducting social soundness analysis are outlined in
USAID Handbook 3, Part III, Annex F, and in Ingersoll (1977) and Siffin

marketed by women. As men gain control over the economic returns to

their wive's labor, the women lose their incentive to produce, and
output falls.23

The first step in designing an evaluation system with an institu-

tionalized concern for the interests of girls and women as beneficiaries,

then, is to make sure that questions regarding their participation are

raised throughout the entire cycle of project identification, design,

implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, leaving room for corrective

action at every stage. The second step is to develop a procedure for

evaluating the differential impact of projects of all types on males

and females so that the "lessons learned" can be compiled and compared

in a systematic fashion. Some suggestions for doing so are outlined in

Sections III and IV.

- A number of examples of unintended negative effects are presented in
the discussion of project impacts in Section III.



The discussion in Section II focused on three dimensions of

female participation: their role in project decision making, their

direct access to benefits, and the effects of the project on their

position in the family and the community. Information on decision

making and on access to benefits is far easier to collect from project

records and interviews with personnel at various levels than is

information on the immediate or long-term effects of the project on

the status of girls and women. Evaluation documents, on the whole,

are addressed primarily to the logistical questions of whether the

project is "on time" and functioning as planned rather than to social

impacts. Although this preoccupation with institutional support and

technical transfers (the means of development) is understandable, it

obscures the more important questions of the wellbeing of recipients

(the ends of development). What happened to trainees and their families

after they completed their courses? Did they find jobs? Where? Did

cooperative members become more productive, use the credit for intended

purposes, participate in community decision making? Who were the primary

beneficiaries of large-scale rural water supply systems, and how did

their lives change? How were benefits distributed between males and

females? Who gained, and who lost? In what ways?

This section describes an approach to performing both mid-stream

evaluations of the immediate social effects of ongoing projects, and

ex-post evaluations of long-term impacts following project termination.

By choosing projects rather than sector-level or country-level analysis,

more qualitative as well as quantitative methods of assessing changes

within and among households can be considered. Questions raised in

the evaluation framework regarding differential effects on males and

females can shape the inquiry of the preliminary social soundness

analysis and baseline data collection. Such questions can also form a

basis for project monitoring, especially if formal evaluations are

scheduled too late for major revisions of project policies and practices

affecting women.

Whether the project is a women-specific vocational training program

("low-income women from barrios of San Jose"), a poultry development

scheme with a women's component ("small farmers in the Yemen Arab

Republic of whom women are expected to assume a major role"), or a

radio education program aimed at a general population ("16,000

illiterate highland Indians engaged in subsistence agriculture"), the

process of assessing its social impact on women and men, in both

absolute and relative-terms, would address two major questions.

First, what are the direct effects on primary beneficiaries

(male and female), i.e., now has their access to important resources

changed in absolute terms as a result of the project? This target

population may be defined as classes of individuals such as malnourished

children or unemployed youth; classes of households such as tenant farm

families or members of an agricultural cooperative; or whole locali-

ties such as villages or districts within integrated development schemes.

Second, what are the distributional effects of projects across

different categories of persons both within and outside the targeted

population? Of particular importance to the analysis of women's

situation is the allocation of resources within households. How has

the project altered the division of labor within the household, or

the distribution of resources such as food or schooling, on the basis of

the sex, age, or relationship to household head of family members? When

families or households rather than classes of individuals are defined

as the primary beneficiary unit, do benefits accrue to all household

members or is the domestic balance of resources significantly altered

depending on who has direct access to project goods and services?

We are also interested in analyzing distributional effects of

projects across households, both within and between the targeted and

non-targeted populations. Are women-head households bypassed when

titles are granted in land distribution schemes, for example? Do

benefits from membership in a women's marketing cooperative accrue

disproportionately to those from better-off households or from

dominant racial, religious, or ethnic groups? Does a project that

introduces new technology in agricultural or nonagricultural produc-

tion to one class of persons (say, men employed in modern fish

freezing facilities) result in the displacement of another (e.g.,

women engaged in traditional fish drying and marketing activities)?

Table 3 summarizes the framework for evaluating the absolute and

relative effects of projects on people's access to a wide range of

resources that determine their physical, economic, and social wellbeing --

that is, their position in the household and community social structure.

In the following discussion, some examples are given of how projects

can affect males and females differently, in some cases narrowing the

gap between them in their access to important resources, and in other



Direct effects Distributional effects
Resources that on primary within across
determine beneficiaries-- households households

Physical wellbeing
1. food, water, fuel
2. housing
3. environmental quality
4. medical care
5. personal safety
6. rest and leisure

Economic wellbeing

7. income/cost of living
8. credit
9. land and water
10. technology
11. other assets/debts

Social wellbeing
12. knowledge
13. power
14. prestige

a/ Primary beneficiaries or target populations may be defined as classes
of individuals, of households, or of localities.

cases widening it. Sometimes, of course, improved access to one type

of resource may impede access to another. Full-time wage employment for

women, while offering badly needed cash incomes, can result in the

elimination of home garden production with severe nutritional disadvan-

tages for the entire family, the early cessation of infant breast

feeding, and a critical shortage of agricultural labor during periods of

peak demand, among other consequences.

The likelihood of mixed results poses a major dilemma to policy

makers who must decide just what economic or social costs recipients

may be expected to bear in order to achieve some other (presumably more

valuable) economic or social benefit. The question of "what works and

what does not in specific socioeconomic environments" is thus compli-

cated by the fact that a project can work in one way but not another.

Purposes may even be contradictory: for instance, a project might

increase agricultural production more rapidly -- at least in the short

run -- through authoritarian leadership that contradicts the goal of

consciousness raising and participatory decision making.

The framework summarized in Table 3 and elaborated below includes

a number of resources that determine people's physical, economic, and

social wellbeing. Implied in the framework is a definition of develop-

ment that includes "(1) a general improvement in levels of living,

together with (2) decreasing inequalities of income distribution, and

(3) the capacity to sustain continuous improvements over time" (Kocher,

1973, p. 5). This latter element, which derives in large part from the

acquisition of important social resources such as knowledge, power, and

prestige, is of particular relevance to the analysis of women's situation.

Indicators of Physical Wellbeing

1. Access to food, water, and fuel. How has the project affected

the overall quantity, quality, and security (e.g., severity of seasonal

shortages) of food, water, and fuel consumed by primary beneficiaries?

What are the distributional effects within and across households?

A project designed to increase food production that does not take

into account the sexual division of labor in agriculture, for example,

can have the unintended consequences of reducing household food

consumption. In the MWEA land settlement scheme of Kenya, women who

worked long hours with their husbands (or in their husbands' extended

absence) in the new irrigated rice fields had less time than before

to grow traditional foods on their own garden plots, which were too

small in any case to provide for the family's subsistence. While rice

production increased and total incomes among participating households

rose, nutritional levels fell (Hanger and Moris, 1973). If the

importance of women's food production had been recognized, provision

could have been made for agricultural inputs such as credit, fertilizers,

and seeds for the garden plots as well as the rice plots, perhaps with

some experiments in labor-saving collective production and marketing

of traditional foodstuffs.

Similarly, even a project that increases total household food

consumption can worsen the nutritional status of certain household

members. In many cultures, women and children eat only when the men

have finished, and male children are given preference over female

children when food is scarce. Although family food rations paid to

male laborers on food-for-work construction schemes in Bangladesh are

intended for six persons, the heavy labor increases men's caloric

requirements and leaves women and children in some families with less

to eat than before.2/

Some projects attempt to alter the pattern of food allocation

within the family directly. Feeding programs for children in primary

schools, for example, benefit children over adults (assuming that

children's home rations are not reduced by an amount equivalent to

that consumed at school) and also boys over-girls, to the extent that

daughters are kept out of school more than sons. Feeding programs for

pregnant and nursing mothers attempt a similar reallocation in favor of

nutritionally vulnerable women, assuming that beneficiaries actually

consume the full portions meant for them rather than sharing with

other family members (Singer, 1978). It is clear that project planners

must understand fully the role of girls and women in food production,

processing, distribution, and consumption if overall targets are to be

met in a manner that distributes benefits equitably.23/

2. Housing. How has the quality of beneficiaries' housing changed

since the project began, as measured by the adequacy of protection against

the elements, the amount of space per person, household amenities, and

other indicators such as cultural acceptability? Do home improvements

(e.g., the acquisition of electricity) benefit one sex more than the

other, or one type of household more than another? Are there negative

22/ Interview with Penny Satterthwaite, United Nations Fund for Popula-
tion Activities, Dacca, Bangladesh, Feb. 1976; see also Chen and
Ghuznavi (1977) on women in food-for-work schemes.
3/ See, for example, the two volumes of Proceedings and Papers of the
International Conference on Women and Food (1978).

aspects that might affect females more than males, such as increased

crowding due to immigration to an employment scheme, or insufficient

temporary shelter for migrant workers on construction projects?

Some projects specifically designed to improve the housing supply

might unintentionally bypass certain classes of households. A community

development project, for example, offers low-cost loans for building

material in a self-help housing scheme dependent on volunteer labor

from participating households. Women-headed households, i.e., those

without adult males present, are less likely to qualify because they

cannot provide the necessary labor (or are not included in the relevant

training programs) and are too poor to pay back the loans. Or a

resettlement scheme may construct housing without consultation with

future residents, with the result that the design and location of

units are inappropriate to women's needs. Given that in most societies

women spend more hours per day on average in the home than men do, any

positive or negative change in housing quality is likely to affect them

more intensely.

3. Environmental quality. This component of physical wellbeing

is measured by the existence of sanitary facilities, the adequacy of

drainage, the degree of air and water contamination, and the prevalence

of environmentally based diseases, among other indicators, as measured

in the home, the workplace, and the community at large.

The relationship of persons to their physical environment is

determined in part by the sexual division of labor and by cultural norms

determining the nature and location of various patterns of daily or

seasonal activity. Because males and females within any cultural setting

interact somewhat differently with their physical environment, projects

that have a strong environmental impact (either positive or negative),

or that alter significantly the sexual division of labor, may affect

the health of males and females differently. In villages where women

rarely leave their household compounds, for example, the provision of

latrines or of bathing facilities near the home will carry greater bene-

fits to females than males, who work in the fields and bathe in the

rivers. At the same time, a program to eradicate water-borne

diseases such as schistosomiasis would benefit disproportionately

those in most contact with the water, i.e., boys and men. Certain

shifts in the sexual division of labor may also carry unintended

negative consequences for women. Successful agricultural projects

that increase yields and household incomes in traditional purdah-

observing societies may lead to the withdrawal of girls and women from

the agricultural labor force to the more highly valued (and now affordable)

practice of female seclusion. With darkness and inactivity, the incidence

of vitamin D deficiency and associated diseases (sometimes including

obesity) increases significantly.

4. Medical care. How has the project affected the accessibility

of the target population to preventative and curative health care and to

family planning information and services? As for food, access to

medical resources is likely to be distributed unevenly within the house-

hold as well as across households, with preference given to certain

members of the family such as highly valued male children or the adult

male breadwinner. In addition, women's access to medical care is

constrained in some societies by cultural restrictions on contact

between males and females. A project designed to deliver health services

will require in almost all settings a clear women's component, with

special efforts to train female medical practitioners to reach a female

clientele in an environment sensitive to their concerns. Failure to

do so can result in outright rejection of the program, or in unnecessary

suffering for women who are desperate to seek help.

5. Personal safety. This aspect of physical wellbeing is rarely

discussed in the evaluation literature, yet it can be central to the

concerns of project participants: the degree of exposure to, and

protection from, personal violence or accident and injury. Have risks

of certain types increased since the project began? For whom? Projects

may unwittingly expose girls and women to personal dangers that they

either must endure, if there is no choice, or that contribute to

project failure. The protection of girls of marriageable age, in

particular, is a matter of extreme concern in societies placing a

high value on female chastity as a symbol of the honor of the kin group.

A training program that requires young women to walk long distances

from their villages to the training center, thus exposing them to the

risk of sexual harassment, leads to the termination of the program by

administrators who mistakenly decide that the high incidence of dropouts

represents a lack of interest among participants. The provision of

safe transport for trainees (or safe places to stay overnight, where

necessary) would solve this problem.

In another example, the spread of more lucrative coffee and cocoa

plantations outward from a village in Cameroon forced women off the

cleared land to more distant fields for their food crops:

Food fields are anywhere from one to ten kilometers from the
village with three to six kilometers most often cited. This
distance implies a one-half to one and one-half hour walk to
the food fields over rough forest paths, often with slippery

stream and marsh crossings. The worst aspect of the trek
comes during the return -- a woman is often carrying the daily
food supply of cassava, plantain, and corn, plus firewood, and
often her baby as well. The weight is anywhere from 30 to 80
pounds. Injuries from falls or scrapes are common, and much
spontaneous abortion and persistent backache is blamed on this
aspect of women's work (Henn, 1976, quoted in Tinker, 1979,
p. 14).

Again, careful attention needs to be paid to measures that will increase

the safety of working conditions for women, such as more accessible

locations and access to means of transport that men currently control.

6. Rest and leisure. This component is measured by the intensity

(energy) and extensiveness (time) of labor required for production for

household consumption or for sale or exchange, and by the number of

hours available to household members for rest, leisure, and sleep.

Daily, weekly, and seasonal fluctuations are important. Studies of time

allocation within and across households in different settings reveal

differences not only by household composition, landholding status, occu-

pation, and seasonality, but by age and sex. When production for

household consumption is considered in combination with production for

sale or exchange, women are frequently shown to have less time for rest

and leisure than men. Often they are the first to rise in the morning

and the last to sleep at night.

How does a project affect the intensity and extensiveness of female

labor, both in absolute terms, and relative to men and other classes of

women? This depends heavily on the current division of labor by class,

age, and sex, and on the nature of the project. If it is aimed at

increasing agricultural production, for example, are the new expanded

crops or activities primarily women's work or men's work? Do new techno-

logies reduce the time male farmers spend ploughing the fields, but

not the time women farmers spend in weeding and harvesting? Do changes

in cropping patterns require heavier seasonal labor commitments from

women that detract from their ability to care for older children or

breastfeed their infants? In an evaluation of the effect on women's

workload of a hypothetical land settlement scheme based on a composite

of several actual projects, Palmer (1979, p. 50) summarizes:

Given the traditional sex-typing of agricultural tasks, the
effect of new labor requirements has been the continued year-
round work of landed women accompanied by greater intensity of
daily work schedules at seasonal periods. For men, the effect
has been more days of the year worked, through double-cropping,
but no greater intensity of work than previously ...

Women face conflicts between work on the subsistence and rice
crops, and between child care and productive work at seasonal
peak periods. Women are unable to use exchange or hired labor
to ease their burden (except for planting) because they have
insufficient influence on either the organization of labor or the
use of the profits from rice. Women in polygamous households
and landless women probably do not work as hard as other women,
but even landless women have a greater work load than men when
household and child care responsibilities are taken into account.

Although this aspect of the project reflects a significant cost to

women (increased agricultural workload) with little compensating gain in

independent access to resources such as cash returns from rice, other

aspects of the project reduced the drudgery of women's work. Time

spent fetching water was reduced from an average of 1-1/2 hours per day

to a half hour with access points now as close as the irrigation streams

(Palmer, 1979, pp. 54-55). Fuel, too, which used to be gathered from

nearby forests or prepared from cattle dung cakes, was now more likely to

be purchased in the form of firewood or coal. Although this new

development reduced women's burdens, it created new pressures for cash

to buy fuel. A careful social soundness analysis during the preliminary

stages of project design that takes into account the intensity and

extensiveness of labor inputs of all household members could help to

ensure that female workloads are reduced, if they are now excessive, or

that they are increased only in exchange for some other valued resource

and with appropriate social supports.

Indicators of Economic Wellbeing

7. Income in cash, kind, or trade in relation to cost of living.

Household income can be measured by its amount, its security (extent

of seasonal fluctuations, short-term unemployment, long-term prospects,

etc.) and its source; economic wellbeing depends in part on the relation

between income and those expenses required to maintain an adequate

standard of living.

Not only the level of household income, but the question of who

earns the income and in what proportion to the total, is crucial to

understanding the domestic economy. Although the household is often

considered the basic unit of production and consumption, in some societies

the household economy is highly segmented. Women in many African socie-

ties, for example, are expected to provide for their own and their

children's subsistence, while men's earnings go for larger cash outlays

(land, cattle, marriage exchanges) and for their personal needs.

Which household members earn direct economic returns to their labor

(surplus production for sale or exchange), and which members engage in

unpaid labor (production for family consumption)? Do women whose labor

contributes to surplus production have direct access to (and control

over) earnings, or are their husbands paid for women's labor? Who pays

for what household expenses? Does a project increase women's unpaid

labor but not their paid labor?

A review of the literature reveals a number of cases in which

development efforts have altered the distribution of incomes within the

family in such a way as to leave women absolutely or relatively worse

off than before. In some cases this loss results in the failure of the

project to meet its production targets. A classic example comes from

the reorganization of a marketing cooperative in the pyrethrum industry

in Kenya. Whereas women had been growing the crop and selling the dried

flowers directly, the new cooperative returned payments only to formal

members, who were mostly men. The women became discouraged by the loss

of personal incomes which they had formerly controlled; "rationally and

realistically in the circumstances, their output fell" (Apthorpe, 1971,

p. 73). The expansion of sugarcane cash cropping in northern Belize

offered new employment opportunities for men but reduced local cultiva-

tion of corn, upon which the women had depended not only for food for the

family and for exchange, but for chicken and pig feed. Pigs were the

main independent source of income for women; the decline in pig production

thus represented a significant loss of women's economic independence as

well as a nutritional loss to the family (Stavrakis and Marshall, 1978).

Even where women's personal incomes are increased by access to new

employment opportunities within or outside agriculture, the gains can

be counteracted by increasing financial obligations. Kikuyu women in a

coffee-growing region of Kenya who earned independent incomes in agricul-

tural labor lamented the increasing tendency of their husbands to spend

money on imported beer and hotel food, while failing to provide clothes

and school fees for the children (Stamp, 1975-76, p. 28) Under some

conditions, men may decide to work less hard as their women work more.

Project planners clearly have little control over this aspect of

household decision making, but it is crucial that they understand the

current pattern of control over earnings and expenditures within bene-

ficiary households before introducing activities that may undermine

women's position and perhaps subvert the project.

8. Access to credit. How has the project affected the supply and

cost of credit or loans available to households in the target group?

Are female as well as male family members eligible for loans? Are

women-headed households eligible? Most projects designed to provide

new sources of credit consider the household as a unit and the male as

its head. Women are consequently denied independent access to credit

that could increase their own productivity in agriculture, handicrafts,

or other activities. In a rice project in Senegal, women were the main

paddy growers but only men could obtain credit for agricultural inputs

from the project. Because husbands were reluctant to go into debt on

their wive's behalf, the project had to be redesigned to reach women

with credit directly before it could achieve its production goals (World

Bank, 1978, pp. 26,28). In addition, new banking institutions -- even

those for low-income rural populations -- may set collateral requirements

that women are unable to meet. The People's Bank of Indonesia, for

example, with branches throughout the country, makes low-interest loans

to farmers against collateral such as land or cash crops (rice, maize,

soybeans, sugar, cotton) but not fruit or vegetable crops or household

equipment which are typically women's assets (Milone, 1978, pp. 107-112).

Evidence from some projects suggests that innovative methods could be

designed to reach this traditionally ineligible group of borrowers, with

important productive consequences (Buvinic, Sebstad and Zeidenstein,


9. Land and water. This component of economic wellbeing is

measured by the amount and quality (productivity) of land legally owned;

by the amount and quality of land available for use (leasing, share-

cropping, tenancy, etc.); and by the security of land and water use


Most projects involving land redistribution, such as new settlement

schemes, are concerned with creating a more equitable distribution of

resources between the landless or near landless and the landed classes.

Less attention is paid to the distribution of land rights within the

household, as well as between male-headed and female-headed households.

Does the project expand or contract women's legal or traditional rights

to the ownership or use of land? Does a scheme designed to secure

tenants' rights, for example, address the question of what happens to

women of tenant families when the husband dies? Do land resettlement

schemes provide women with their own plots, or legally recognize their

joint ownership or use rights with their husbands? Or are titles granted

to the male household head, undermining women's current access and

inheritance rights? Does a project reduce landlessness among

male-headed households but not among female-headed households?

A resettlement scheme in Nigeria, for example, distributed five-

hectare plots to families for soybean, corn, and bean production, but

did not provide for kitchen gardens in which women traditionally raised

vegetables for family consumption and for the local market (Dulansey,

1977). And although some settlement schemes will allot land to women-

headed families (in the Rahad area of the Sudan, about 7 percent of

resettled land to be farmed with cotton and groundnuts was allotted to

women who were heads of formerly nomadic families), it appears that in

most voluntary resettlement schemes, women without husbands are usually


10. Technology and technical assistance. Access to these resources

increases productivity and the potential for higher economic returns,

depending on their quality, appropriateness to local conditions, and

frequency of use.

Which household members, and what classes of households, have

the greatest access to labor-saving technology permitting them to

reduce time or energy inputs and/or increase outputs? What are the

distributional effects of the introduction of new technology? Who

benefits, who is bypassed? Do planners consider the development of

appropriate technology for domestic consumption as important as techno-

logy for the production of surplus in agriculture or industry?

The history of development efforts frequently points to negative

impacts on women of technologies that widen rather than narrow the

productivity and earnings gap between the sexes. A typical example is

the introduction in many regions of the world of community milling

machines. Although increasing the speed and reducing the cost of

grain processing, they do not benefit poor landless women who earn

their living by traditional hand-pounding methods. Not only are the

new machines usually operated by men, but the women can no longer

compete and their earnings fall. Similarly, new technologies are

frequently applied to large-scale cash cropping but not to small-scale

1- For recommendations on the role of women from the World Conference
on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, see Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations (1979).

food cropping, and to the work men do in the crop cycle (ploughing,

perhaps harvesting) but not to women's work (planting, weeding).

The provision of technical assistance to beneficiaries may also

bypass women unless specific steps are taken to ensure that they are

reached. Does the project being evaluated attempt to contact women

directly with technical assistance in agriculture or small industry,

for example, or is most assistance extended to the male household head

who is expected to pass on his knowledge to other household members?

Does the assistance narrow or widen the gap in productivity across diff-

erent classes of households?

Women's access to technical assistance is constrained by at least

two factors: as workers they are concentrated in sectors of the economy

such as subsistence agriculture, handicrafts, or small-scale marketing

that are bypassed by most technical assistance programs; and as women

they tend to be less "visible" within these sectors than are men. As a

consequence, their productivity suffers from constraints on access to

good quality raw materials, marketing assistance, advice on more

effective methods of organizing production, knowledge about credit

sources, management and bookkeeping assistance, and so on.

In many countries, agricultural extension programs have no female

agents in some or all of the districts they serve. Male agents deliver

services only to male farmers, ignoring women's contributions within

these households as well as women farmers who head their own households.

For instance, in an area of small-scale farming in Western Kenya in

which 40 percent of a sample of farm managers (as distinct from owners)

were women alone rather than women managing jointly with men, female-

managed farms were significantly less likely to have been visited by

government extension agents, to include a household member who had

visited a demonstration plot, to include a household member trained

in short specialized programs of crops or farm technology, or to have

applied for or received a loan (Staudt, 1978, p. 443; see also Staudt,

1975-76). Although the effect of lower service on agricultural producti-

vity was mediated by a number of other factors, including a strong

informal network of information exchange among women farmers, the

benefits of technical assistance clearly accrued disproportionately to

farm families with an adult male present. As a first step to correct

these inequities, women must be trained in all aspects of technical

assistance in order to reach women producers with appropriate information

and services.

11. Other assets in relation to debts. These can be measured by

the ownership or use rights of buildings and other capital goods

(e.g., household goods, animals); amount of savings; amount of debts.

How are assets distributed within the household? Who owns or uses

them, and who has the right to sell or trade them, give them away, or

bequeath them? In particular, what independent assets do women control?

Does the project improve women's ability to accumulate assets, or

undermine it?

As with land, women's legal and traditional rights to assets are

usually constricted; they may be positively or adversely affected by

development efforts. Frequently a woman's only personal assets are

moveable property such as jewelry, a few household items, and perhaps

some small animals, all obtained through inheritance or dowry. Yet,

small as they may be, these assets are of critical importance in deter-

mining women's sense of independence and self worth. Among the Tuareg

and Fulani herders of the Sahel, for example,

It is the obligation of the bride's family to send her to her
new home with a dowry consisting of household goods and animals
usually 5 or 6 donkeys and 10 to 40 goats. Sometime after
marriage it is customary for a husband to give his wife a gift
of animals according to his means -- a few goats, one or two
camels (Cloud, 1978, p. 74).

Following the Sahelian drought, the lack of understanding among program
administrators of the sexual division of control/resources seriously

damaged the nomadic women's economic and social positions:

... (among) both Fulani and Tuareg herders, one of the major
concerns expressed was that the government's program to recon-
stitute herds lost in the drought was replacing cattle only
for the men. Women's stock was not being replaced. This was
crippling their social system -- animals were unavailable for
dowry and bridewealth payments, women had lost their indepen-
dent property. This was apparently the unintentional result
of the government program that issued a card to the head of
each family, and replaced animals only to the family head

In this case, a fairly simple shift in project policies and procedures

would have corrected the distortion in the distribution of benefits and

long-term social impacts.

Indicators of Social Wellbeing

12. Knowledge. This component includes skills specific to the

performance of certain tasks, as well as more general knowledge about

the world at large. It can be measured along several dimensions:

literacy and numeracy; vocational skills; and a broader level of under-

standing of the interplay of socioeconomic and political forces in the

household, the community, and the larger society.

How are literacy skills distributed within the household and across

households of different classes? Are females able to take advantage of

formal or informal educational programs to the same extent as males?

Failure to design incentives to ensure that girls as well as boys are

able to attend school can severely undermine a project goal of expanding

primary education, as in the Afghanistan project in which the quota of

15 percent of new school places reserved for girls could not be met

"where it is not accepted culturally." The expansion of women's workload,

whether in unpaid agricultural labor or in paid employment, sometimes

results in daughters being kept home from school to help in the fields

or at home. Project administrators should be prepared to counteract

this tendency with alternative plans for labor allocation. With the

altered rice cropping patterns of a land resettlement scheme, for example,

... girls are now performing more weeding and assist their
mothers in preparing meals for the exchange labor. They can
also be seen working on the subsistence plots. Boys, on the
other hand, are now freer of labor commitments than previously.
This has a recognized effect on the relative attendance of
boys and girls in the schools (Palmer, 1979, p. 54).

The benefits of vocational skills training can also be unequally

distributed within and acrosshouseholds. Has the project opened up

new opportunities for women as well as men, extending their vocational

skills into areas formerly closed to them? Is the skills training

likely to result in paid employment? How can constraints against female

participation be overcome? Many training programs funded by international

agencies perpetuate sexual stereotypes. Typically, community extension

programs train local women in tasks related to home maintenance and child

care, or in handicrafts, failing to prepare them for employment in

modernized agriculture, industry, services, sales, or clerical/

administrative and technical/professional occupations. Thus women's

skills are largely lost to these sectors and the benefits of training

accrue disproportionately to males.

One could also consider the impact of the project on women's general

knowledge, or world view. In societies placing severe restrictions

on women's physical mobility, the limits of their social world are

likely to be narrow and their social and political dependence on men is

intensified. How does a project affect their access to knowledge and

experience of the outside world ? Are there deliberate efforts at

"conscientization" among beneficiaries, that is, of stimulating a critical

understanding of the dynamics of household and community social structures

and of possible strategies for change? Do these reach women as well as


13. Power. The capacity of directing one's own and others'

behavior can be considered as the sum of separate elements: autonomy,

as measured by the degree of self-reliance, belief in the efficacy of

one's actions, freedom from coercion by others, and freedom of physical

movement; participation in household and community decision making,

including an ability to produce desired outcomes; and mobilization for

group action, measured by the number and strength of linkages among

individuals and groups, the degree of shared self-interest or group

consciousness, and the capacity for effective group action.

Women's autonomy in the household and the community differs widely

across and within societies according to social class, ethnic or tribal

background, age, and other social factors. The question here is

whether development projects expand or constrict women's capacity for

autonomous action in either absolute terms or relative to men. An

income-generating program can increase women's social and economic

independence, while another type of program may undermine it. A family

planning project that requires the husband's consent for his wife's

sterilization or abortion, for instance, greatly reduces her capacity

for autonomous action. Depending on the type

could select appropriate questions from among

How does the project affect the pattern

the household about important choices such as

births, the education of children, the timing

and the choice of a mate, what to produce for

market it, when to plant and harvest, whether

so on? Similarly, what role do women play in

decision-making processes in the community at

are they found in formal governing bodies, and

social class do they represent?

of project, investigators

the following possibilities:

of decision making within

the timing and number of

of children's marriages

sale or exchange, how to

to buy or sell land, and

the formal and informal

large? In what proportions

with what effect? What

Knowledge of women's role in household and community decision

making should form a central ingredient of development planning (see

Mickelwait, Riegelman, and Sweet, 1976), both at the point of baseline

data collection to determine project design, and at the point of social

impact assessment. Projects can undermine women's current role in

decision making, or fail to take advantage of structural opportunities

to expand it. In the large Amul Dairy Cooperative in India, for instance,

the majority of shareholders are low-income male household heads (owners

of one or two milch animals, usually buffalo) who attend meetings, form

the board of directors of village societies, and receive the shares of

yearly profits (Dixon, 1978, pp. 50-56). Women, who typically care

for and milk the animals, do receive daily cash payments when they take

the milk to village collection centers. Although this is a valuable

source of independence and prestige, women are denied the opportunity

for cooperative leadership roles that serve as a training ground for

higher level political office in the community and district. Changes

in membership rules requiring each household to enroll a female as

well as male member, and a quota of half the places on boards of

directors reserved for women, could help to correct this inequity.

The third dimension of power refers to the mobilization of groups

for collective action. How do males and females in the household differ

in their access to informal and formal social networks based on kinship,

landholding status, occupation, residential location, caste or ethnic or

tribal identity, religious affiliation, personal friendship, and other

bases of identity and loyalty? How does membership in such groups

differ across social classes and other categories? To what extent does

the development project facilitate or impede the capacity of women to

organize formal or informal groups engaged in collective action?

At the most basic level, failure of planners to recognize the

importance of indigenous patterns of group activity can prevent the

completion of a project. Women in one Indian community subverted a

scheme for piping water into each housing compound because it would deny

them their only legitimate opportunity for visiting together around the

village well. In Nepal, failure to organize workers into a viable pro-

ducers cooperative doomed some women who had gone through a training

program in machine sewing to non-competitive hand sewing or inactivity

because they could not individually afford to buy sewing machines

(Dixon, 1978, pp. 155-6).

Even assistance directed specifically to the support of women's

organizations can have adverse distributional effects. The evaluation

of one program to train middle- and upper-class women volunteers in

leadership skills and organizational development concluded that "there

are more benefits to volunteers than to poor people," thus widening the

resource gap between the classes. Project designers will need to pay

special attention to the means by which women denied access to most

material and social resources can be mobilized to form an independent

power base for articulating their needs and working toward collective


14. Prestige. Prestige refers to the honor or esteem accruing to

persons as individuals or groups members, of which both subjective and

objective aspects are important. Self-esteem can be measured by the

person's subjective belief in his or her own value as a person; the

esteem of others is measured by the degree to which a person or group

is "objectively" valued by other household or community members.

Who within the household, and in the community, appears to have

the highest levels of self-esteem? Do women value their own contribu-

tions as highly as men, or do they tend to be self-deprecating?

Preliminary talks with poor women by one community organizer elicited

a typical response: "We have no special skills; nothing we do is
worth selling.-/ How does the project affect women's feelings about


Although most development efforts are likely to increase women's

pride and self-esteem, especially if women are defined as primary

beneficiaries of training or income-generating projects, situations

such as the failure of a handicraft center to find a steady market for

SInterview with Sister Michael of Holy Cross, Dacca, Bangladesh, Feb.

its goods, or the arrogance of some extension workers, can have the

opposite effect. Young girls in a newly opened school who are told

repeatedly by the male teacher that they are not as smart as boys quickly

become discouraged from learning and drop out, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The loss of self-esteem can act as a major impediment to future risk-

taking behavior.

Apart from women's feelings about themselves, do other members of

the household and community value their contributions more highly? Of

course the two are closely interrelated, since self-esteem is so

dependent on the esteem of others. Vocational training and income-

generating projects for women should -- at least in the long run --

visibly raise their status within the household and community. But

some jobs are viewed as "status-depressing" rather than "status-enhancing"

even if they provide badly needed cash incomes, especially when the jobs

expose women to possibly dishonoring contact with men. In one project

in Bangladesh, although the young women themselves were extremely proud

of their skills and ability to earn money as government agents visiting

women's cooperatives throughout the district, conservative residents

disparaged them loudly for their immorality in breaking purdah restric-

tions (Dixon, 1978, pp. 47, 162-3). In the absence of strong program

efforts to counter such criticism, female workers and their families

were under considerable personal strain. Other families, fearing their

daughters would be unmarriageable if they engaged in such work, refused

to permit them employment.

The shift in northern Belize from corn production to sugarcane

has had some interesting implications not only in nutritional standards

and women's ability to earn independent incomes from raising chickens

and pigs (as discussed previously), but also in the sources of prestige:

Because food production has always been woven socially and
ideologically into the culture, the change in production
patterns has ramifications throughout society. One of the
most significant has been the removal of the source of male
prestige from the domestic household activities of producing
good food and good children and the creation of a new "public"
sphere of activity which is western and modern in structure,
characterized by material goods.

The women's activities are relegated almost totally to [the]
domestic sphere, whereas, the acquisition of prestige and
status, once accessible to both men and women, is now largely
relegated to the public sphere where women cannot compete.
... The women were left with domestic activities of devalued
social status and responsibility (Stavrakis and Marshall, 1978,
pp. 162-3).

This case clearly cries out for some strong programming to create new

income-generating opportunities for women that will increase their social

value and prestige as well as their economic contribution.

Although this discussion of the differential effects of projects

on males and females may appear to have dwelled unnecessarily on the

negative, it illustrates how even the best intentioned projects can

have unanticipated deleterious consequences if women's social and

economic roles in the household and community are not fully understood.

The more positive side is that projects can almost always be designed

to achieve their goals -- expanded agricultural output, for instance,

-- in a way that maximizes women's access to resources such as control

over the economic returns to their labor, technical assistance to

increase their productivity, or active participation in community deci-

sion-making bodies, while minimizing the costs. Palmer's analysis of a

land resettlement scheme suggests an alternative design for meeting

production goals and satisfying basic human needs of the entire settlement

population that allocates productive resources between men and women

more equitably at the outset, resulting in a cumulative sequence of

more beneficial consequences (Palmer, 1979, pp. 78-80). The actual and

alternative strategies she outlines, which are presented in Table 4, are

applicable in principle to a wide range of integrated development

projects where such comprehensive decisions are made.

Some tradeoffs are probably inevitable in any development project;

one cannot usually move effectively on all fronts at once. The major

issue here is to ensure that the costs are.not paid disproportionally

by those least able to pay them.



male ownership of rice land and
membership in Farmers' Associatior
women in charge of loaned subsis-
tence crop land with no access to

ineffective channels of
ccmunication for wcme.
to demand correction

Ehvironxent: irrigated black soil good for rice growing,
subsistence crops possible on both red
and black soils.
Traditional sexual division of labor: women work subsis-
tence crops, women and men work rice crop.
Traditional land inheritance: daughters inherit one-half
as much as sons.

Source: Palmer (1979), p. xi.


separate women's and men's owner-
ship of rice land, or Joint owner-
ship; with waren continuing trail-
tional role in oned subsistence
crop land; both sexes have direct
mam rhip of Farmers' Association

equal control more

of higher prainent
cash income role of
frcm rice wamen in

more ratial legal and
sexual division social status
of labor of women

Imo wage
children, laborers,
especially especially
girls, treed landless
for school- women, em-
Ing played
better incane
between landed
and landless

*-- I------ I ----

uneven gains in the satisfaction of
basic human needs at the family level,
no incentives to limit family size,
no Improvement and possibly sane
decline in women's roles between

enhanced ability to meet basic human
needs at the family level, Incentives
to limit family size to consolidate
economic gains transferable to the
next generation, maintenance and
possibly sane enhancement of women's
roles and status


If an evaluation is to assess the degree of absolute and relative

change in people's access to material and social resources, baseline

data should reveal their access to resources before the project began.

Such information should have been collected or reviewed in the project

identification and design stages, but, as we have seen, preliminary

social soundness analyses are frequently based on inadequate data and

attempted only after major project decisions have been made.

These inadequacies should not subvert the entire process of social

impact assessment, however, for evaluations of change can be made in

the absence of good baseline data if we are willing to rely on people's

statements of how their lives differ now from the way things were

before the project began, and especially if we can interview people in

"experimental" and "control" settings (see Staudt, 1978, for example).

Since most mid-stream evaluations take place within two or three years

of the project's inception, memory loss should not be great. Although

people's perceptions of change may well differ from whatever objective

indicators one could collect, and may be colored by a variety of

intervening events, one could argue that it is the perceptions of

participants more than the objective indicators that are likely to

determine the ultimate social success or failure of the project.

Sources of Data on the Participation of Women
in Project Decision Making, Access Project to Benefits,
and Immediate or Long-term Consequences

General baseline information on access to many of the resources

discussed in Section III, particularly those relating to physical and

economic wellbeing, is available from a variety of sources. National

population censuses and more detailed socioeconomic surveys will

usually permit broad regional breakdowns with aggregate data on housing

conditions, employment status, individual income, household income,

household size, land ownership and use, literacy, completed years of

schooling of adults, current school enrollment rates of school-age youth,

and other variables, although they are frequently not disaggregated by

sex, nor by other relevant social categories such as age, marital

status, race, and ethnic or tribal identity that would permit an

assessment of distributional effects.2/

Special interest surveys conducted in the region can offer

additional data on such factors as nutritional status or the prevalence

of particular diseases, reproductive behavior, labor conditions and wage

rates, and other items of interest to the evaluator. Many will permit

differentiation by sex, as will most public records such as vital sta-

tistics, school attendance registers, hospital or clinic records,

membership lists of cooperatives, or bank loan statements. Ethnographic

studies are also a rich source of insights even if not conducted in

the precise area of project location.

For mid-stream evaluations of the sexual distribution of project

benefits, however, we need additional sources. The methods of data

collection suggested below are primarily informal and qualitative, even

impressionistic, on the assumption that outside evaluators of most

projects can spend only a few days or weeks in the area. (If project

- On the collection of aggregate data on women in development, see
Biocentric (1978).

personnel and representatives of client groups continuously monitor

the dispersal of goods and services to ensure that females have direct

access with males, then much of the evaluator's work will have already

been done.) The assumption thus precludes the use of large, systematic

random samples of households with standardized questionnaires requiring

extensive coding and computer analysis. It suggests, instead, more
flexible techniques of rapid appraisal.-

Interviews with project workers, personnel in related institutions, and

community leaders.

In interviewing women and men at all levels of project administra-

tion, evaluators should pay special attention to those involved in the

direct delivery of services to clients on a face-to-face basis (agricul-

tural extension agents, village "motivators," vocational teachers,

construction supervisors, etc.). Are they actually reaching women and in

what capacity? A special meeting of project workers could be called to

address collectively questions of how the project is working, who are

its primary beneficiaries, what are the major constraints to women's

participation, and how these might be overcome. Key women and men in

related local institutions (schools, cooperatives, and marketplace,

other service institutions) as well as community leaders can provide,

individually or in group meetings, contrasting political perspectives on

the project as a whole and the role of women. Although their reactions

may be exaggerated in either a positive or negative direction because

SA workshop on Rapid Rural Appraisal held at the Institute of
Development Studies in Sussex, England, included several papers that
were particularly helpful; see Jackson, Mandal, and Carruthers (1978);
Richards (1978); Wood (1978).

of personal stakes in the outcome, their opinions as influential

community members are crucial to the success of the project.

Direct observation of project operations and settings

Direct observation of training sessions for project personnel,

cooperative meetings, health clinics, village literacy classes, handi-

craft production centers, and other activities can reveal important

information about the number and identity of clients (including the

proportions female), the nature of interaction between clients and

project personnel and among one another, adequacy of the facilities, and

other items that may not be revealed in project documents. At a commu-

nity meeting, for example, even though women are present, they may

rarely if ever speak out, or their opinions may be ignored. This

information is helpful in understanding the extent of women's actual

rather than reported participation in project decision making. The

outside observer may be struck by other visual discrepancies that documents

cannot reveal: that few women are actually attending adult literacy

classes, for example, even if they are formally enrolled; that women

working on construction sites must carry their infants on their backs

and leave other children unattended; that girls who should be in school

can be seen carrying water and collecting fuel throughout the day.

Group discussions

Visits to the site of service delivery (farms, small industries,

health clinics, etc.) offer a natural setting for interviewing clients.

The limits of this approach are obvious: not only is the on-site

"availability" sample frequently unrepresentative of all beneficiaries,

but it excludes those who are not direct beneficiaries, including

other members of clients' households.

But the advantages are also compelling. People are engaged in

activities related to project purposes, which adds a concreteness and

timeliness to the questions. An interested observer can usually stimu-

late lively debate about what is good and bad about the project and how

the everyday lives of clients and their families have changed, allowing

plenty of room for participants to air their grievances and tell stories
in their own terms.-

Although the more vocal members are likely to dominate the discus-

sion, a skilled interviewer should be able to get some idea of the

degree of consensus or disagreement. Organizers of the audio-cassette

listening forum project in Tanzania trained leaders to survey respon-

dents in group discussions, finding the method preferable to individual

questionnaires that elicited conflicting information:

If the ... meetings are conducted according to the methodology
developed in the training sessions, it is very difficult to
receive unreliable information. With an open climate for
discussion, untrue information is corrected by the participants.
A number of lively discussions centering around differing
opinions about the village practices took place and the discus-
sions and consensus conclusions verified the belief in the
information that was finally recorded. The use of group
discussions for collecting information also permits any out-
siders to question immediately what they might see as discre-
pancies in the given information (Stanley, n.d., p. 31).

Perhaps most important, the group setting can allay suspicion

about the motives of the interviewer, permitting those who wish to say

nothing to remain quiet, yet paving the way for later interviews with

SNote, for example, Perdita Huston's interviews with village women in
many developing countries (Huston, 1979) and Kusum Nair's observations
of village communities in India (Nair, 1961).

individual participants and their families. This is relevant not only

to mid-stream evaluations but to the preliminary project identification

and design stages as well, especially when the topic is a sensitive


Gathering a group of farmers together at the start of an
enquiry to ask them collectively to explain, e.g., the
ways in which men can get land, to give local terms for
land quality/soil etc. can be very productive and is fast.
This is not a threat to anyone particular individual because
one is asking the collectivity. To ask X about land quality
immediately raises the suspicion "Is he going to take away
my land" which does not occur directly with a group gathering
together as men who are knowledgeable about farming (Jackson,
Mandal, and Carruthers, 1978).

The group interviews need not (should not) be limited to on-site

samples. It would be extremely helpful to interview groups of people

representing different sectors of the community, such as persons in

the target group who have not participated in the project (non-members

of agricultural marketing cooperatives, for example) and persons assumed

to be indirect beneficiaries (women in families whose male heads are

members). Frequently they can be interviewed collectively in their

places of work, gathering in the village square or at the well, or in

their neighborhoods. A female interviewer will of course have far

easier access to groups of women in their homes, especially in areas

practicing female seclusion. These group discussions with persons who

are not direct beneficiaries can elicit information about their aware-

ness of project goals, the spread of project benefits, and the ways

in which project participants are viewed by others in the community.


Selecting two or three key informants from female project personnel

who work directly with clients and from women in the client group is one

short-cut, along with the group discussions, to collecting information on

women's access to project benefits. The researcher can work with infor-

mants throughout the evaluation, checking back for clarification of

issues, requesting additional information that is inaccessible to the

outsider. Knowledgeable informants can describe typical patterns of

food and fuel consumption, treatment of illnesses, access to land,

group affiliation, the sexual division of labor, time use according to

season, and even patterns of household decision making. These findings

can be used as a basis for additional questioning of samples of

participants and nonparticipants that would focus on exceptions to the

rule, rather than on repetitive and detailed questioning of everyone

on the same topic.

Interviews with samples of households

Ultimately, the evaluator of a large project will need a systematic

sample of participants and nonparticipants to interview on the absolute

iand relative changes in their access to resources. Sample size and design

Depend on a number of factors such as the type of project, its scope,

and the time available. In almost all cases, it will be necessary to

forego large-scale random sampling procedures and standardized ques-

tionnaires that permit greater statistical elegance in favor of

small-scale, less random samples with more flexible interviewing tech-


If an entire locality is defined as the target area, e.g., in a

!rural roads project, then a stratified sample of households within the

project area is preferable. In the likely absence of an adequate

sampling frame, selection may have to rely heavily or directly observable

traits such as housing conditions and more visible socioeconomic

characteristics of residents, and on the advice of informants. Special

efforts should be made to include women-headed households. Although

the non-randomness of the sample will cause some problems in interpre-

tation, we are interested essentially in subjectively perceived matters

of process and change rather than in establishing firm parameters of

population characteristics.

If classes of individuals or households are defined as beneficiaries,

a stratified sample of participant households should be approximately

matched with a sample of nonparticipants of similar socioeconomic status.

Women in each household should be interviewed regardless of whether they

are defined as primary beneficiaries: ideally, a male adult (preferably

the husband) should be interviewed as well.

An interviewer could not possibly ask all of the questions stated

or implied in the discussion of access to resources in Section III. The

approach will have to be flexible. Wives can answer questions about

changes in their husbands' access to resources, investments in children,

food consumption, literacy skills and vocational training, the sexual

division of labor, and household decision making, that do not also

need to be asked of men. Some information on typical behavior gained

from group discussions and from informants can be passed over, or

briefly clarified. Specific questions relating to the direct access

of beneficiaries to project services, however (visits by agricultural

extension agents, etc.) will have to be asked of everyone.

Questions considered controversial or sensitive can usually be

dropped with little loss of information by asking them of informants

instead, or by making educated guesses. Detailed information on

household income and expenses, on time use, and on other complex issues

could be collected from a small subsample of households rather than

from the entire sample. In any case, the value of household interviews

is to promote discussion as well as collect facts, so that respondents

have a chance to raise new points and to challenge the assumptions of

the researcher.

Although ideally the interviews should be conducted in private,

this practice often gives rise to suspicion or is simply not feasible.

Most often the interviews will include not only'all members of the

household but inquisitive neighbors as well. This means that more

articulate (more powerful) members are likely to dominate the discussions.

If women do not speak out, the interviewer should return at another time

when the men are absent so that women -- individually or in groups --

have a chance to tell their story.

As in any project evaluation, the general approach described in

this section is vulnerable to serious methodological problems. First,

is the project responsible for changes, or are they due to other factors?

In the real world of development it is hardly ever possible to set up

a classic research design with experimental and control groups. Even

if we could match households or communities on key variables, there is

always too much else going on socially, economically, and politically

even to approach the conditions of ceterus paribus. Participants may

attribute changes in their lives to the effects of the project when

the two are related only coincidentally. It is the task of the

evaluator, then, to try to sort out the causal sequence of events and

to suggest changes in implementation procedures in the absence of clear

guidelines for doing so.

Second, evaluating a project within a year or two of its

inception -- although valuable if it is early enough to permit correc-

tive feedback -- may be too soon to pick up genuine change in important

attributes such as people's capacity to organize for collective action.

Or, early evaluations may pick up indicators of change that appear

promising -- increases in household income as a result of particular

inputs -- that are not maintained in the long run. The researcher must

be aware of the implications of short-term vs. long-term effects, and

of the possibility that the timing of the evaluation can affect the

outcome in fundamental ways. This caveat is especially relevant to the

assessment of new development projects for women.

A Comparative Approach for Evaluating the Effectiveness of
Different Project Strategies

In order to answer the question of "what works and what does not

in specific socioeconomic environments," we need a method of classifying

projects according to their purposes (what works in facilitating access

of low-income urban residents to employment, for example); a method

of classifying the organizational strategy by which the recipient

agency, or service provider, hopes to achieve its objectives; and a

method of classifying the socioeconomic environment in which it functions.

To these, we add an additional specification: "What works in reaching

women? What strategies appear to be most effective in, at the least,

protecting women from further disadvantage, and, at the most, offering

genuine improvement in their physical, economic and social wellbeing?

With projects classified along these different dimensions, we can begin

to work out an approach to comparing different types for their impact

on women.

What are the project purposes?

In Table 1 we proposed a classification of projects according to

purposes into three large categories: those designed to increase

production, employment, or incomes within the sectors of food and

agricultural production and distribution, nonagricultural production

and services, and mixed activities; those designed to improve welfare

within the sectors of formal or nonformal education, health, or community

organization; and integrated development programs incorporating all

sectors. This preliminary classification suggests at least two questions

regarding what works. First, do broader, integrated programs or more

concentrated sector-specific programs appear to be most effective in

bringing about concrete changes in women's lives? Second, which sectors

have the greatest spin-off effects? Critics have challenged the practice,

common in the past, of subsuming most women's programming under the

rubric of "family welfare" while ignoring their roles as producers

(e.g., Germaine, 1976-77). Will expanding women's earning capacity

directly, for example, have more pronounced long-term effects than

subsidizing food, medical care, family planning, education, or housing,

by creating an effective demand for these? What are women's own

priorities? "Most rural women express economic needs before others,"

argues one critic. "Why not build on identified self-interest?"

(Bruce, 1977, p. 42).

What is the most effective organizational strategy for achieving project


Given a particular objective, we should be able to weigh the

relative effectiveness of different project designs in reaching benefi-

ciaries under different socioeconomic conditions. The introduction of

these two new sets of variables greatly complicates the comparative

strategy, however, because the criteria for classifying both project

designs and environmental settings are virtually limitless.

One such attempt at classifying major project characteristics

affecting client participation (and the distribution of consequent

benefits) is presented in Table 5. Most of the examples of the effects

have direct relevance to women. Projects requiring technical skills

such as complex accounting or marketing practices (characteristic 1)

that exclude less educated persons from leadership roles are particularly

likely to exclude poor women. Those requiring resources such as land,

collateral, or share capital (2 and 6) will probably have similar

effects unless innovative procedures are designed to reach individuals

or groups usually considered ineligible (encourage collective leasing

of land, for example and forego usual collateral requirements for

groups of landless women).

Women are less likely to increase agricultural productivity if

benefits accrue to their husbands as cooperative members and not

themselves (3), or to risk new agricultural techniques if they are

primarily responsible for growing food for their families (4). If

administrative inaccessibility discourages participation in general (9),

female clients can be especially discouraged when male administrators

pass them by. If women are mobilized into groups (e.g., handicraft

producer's cooperatives) they may gain greater control over administra-

tive decision making. The central question here is, Which type of

organization strategy within a given project purpose will ensure that

low-income women also benefit?

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