Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Introduction and overview
 The girl child
 Basic human rights
 Health and education
 Economic growth and poverty...
 Political participation
 The challenges ahead
 Sources of photographs
 Back Cover

Group Title: Women 2000 : Beijing plus five : the USAID commitment.
Title: Women 2000
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078691/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women 2000 Beijing plus five : the USAID commitment
Alternate Title: Beijing plus five
USAID commitment
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of Women in Development
Publisher: United States Agency for International Development, Office of Women in Development
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 2000
Subject: Women in development   ( lcsh )
Women -- Social conditions   ( lcsh )
Women -- Economic conditions   ( lcsh )
Women -- Health and hygiene   ( lcsh )
Women -- Education   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "June 2000"--P. 4 of cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078691
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 45849797

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Introduction and overview
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The girl child
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Basic human rights
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Health and education
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Economic growth and poverty reduction
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Political participation
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    The challenges ahead
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Sources of photographs
        Page 33
    Back Cover
        Page 34 (MULTIPLE)
Full Text


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Dear Friends:

1 ........... Intluction and Overview

3 ........... Ta I Child

8 ........... Buman Rights

3 ........... and Education

8 ............... Eic Growth and
PoCty Reduction

3 ........... P 1Participation

'8 ........... Th alleges Ahead

Since 1973 the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) has worked to ensure that U.S.
development assistance programs help improve the
status of women in developing countries. In the early
1970s, the United States was one of the first major donors
to recognize that lasting results would not be realized
unless women were full and equal partners in the
development process.

The small community of development practitioners and
activists in developed and developing countries that took
up this challenge so long ago has grown over the years to
include bilateral and multilateral donors, host coun tr
governments, and civil society organizations. The U.N.
world conferences on women, beginning in Mexico City
in 1975 through Nairobi in 1985 to Beijing in 1 c5 have
been crucial to the growth and strength of this

As the Director of USAID's Office of Women in
Development, itis my privilege to submit this. repo .rt
highlighting USAID's efforts to help women and men in
developing countries work for gender equality so that all
people may participate fully in their co mm u ni ties and

USAID is proud of its accomplishments, yet we reccmnize
that for all that has been achieved, much more remains to
be done. It is fitting, as we enter a new century, to examine
the progress that has been made, to define the challenges
still to be confronted, and to renew our commitment to
eliminating the barriers to women's full participation in
the social, economic, and political lives of their societies.

c$^WL& JJ. t

Katherine M. Blakeslee
Office of Women in Development




action and Overview

In September 1995, the United States was one
of 189 countries to participate in the U.N.
Fourth Conference on Women, held in Beijing,
China, and to adopt, unanimously, the Beijing
Declaration and Platform for Action.
Calling for measures that ranged from protect-
ing the rights of the girl child to promoting
economic and political opportunities for
women, the Platform for Action was considered
the most far-reaching and comprehensive
statement on women's rights ever adopted by
so many countries.

Commitments evidence the good will of
those who pronounce them, whether they
are governments, the international community,
or nongovernmental organizations, and are
critical components of any action plan. The
translation of commitments into actions and
results signals the willingness of actors to
engage, exert pressure, persuade, expend time
and effort, and lead.

Like many of the signatories to the Platform
for Action, the United States undertook dual
responsibilities. All countries pledged to

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S',' i pursue to the best of their abilities the Plat-
form's goals in their national laws and
public policies. As a major donor country
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'' development of poorer countries, the United
States also committed to intcgrantin the
.... 'i'." .. ... objectives of the Beijing consensus into its
S0,,,, .... foreign assistance programs.
Each year since the Beijing conference, the
."l '... .President's Intcraenci Cu'uncil on Women
(PICW) reports on U.S. progress in imple-
menting the rlai(r fifor Action at home. The
I international development portfolio of the
United States is implemented, prnmaril by
the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID). Since 1995, USAID has
committed a sizable portion of its resources, an
Average of $500 million ann uall\ to adl ancing
women's economic, social, and political status,
and has played a critical leadership role in
helping countries in all regions of the world
fulfill their Beijing promises.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the 1. .
Fourth Conference, this report ur'. t,
6. USAID's endeavors to achieve the goals
of the Platform of Action. It also assesses
the Agency's progress and identifies the
challenges that remain unmet. The 2000 PICW
report covers the activities of the entire U.S.
federal government according to each of
I J.the Platform's 12 critical areas. Thj. USAID
report collapses the 12 areas of concern used
: in the Platform for Action into six categories:
Sthe girl child, basic human rights for women
and girls, health and ed uca tit ,n.. economic
growth and poverty reduction, and women's
political participation.
The activities this report describes are meant
to illustrate the scope and variety of USAID's
investment in improving the status of women
in developing countries and are by no means
a comprehensive catalogue of Agencv under-
takings. These efforts have sometimes met with
singular success, although progress in some
r sectors is noticeably more difficult. This report
therefore concludes with a final section that
offers a critical review of the challenges to the
more effective integration of gender in detelop-
Sment programming that lie ahead.




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The child

Recognizing that the social processes shaping
the lives of women first take effect on the daily
routines of young girls, USAID gives critical
attention to girls' education, health, and safety.

Support for Girls' Education
Too many young girls are working or start-
ing families of their own, and far too few
attend school, circumstances that are often
closely related.

The International Labour Organization (ILO)
reports that, worldwide, at least 120 million
children between the ages of 5 and 14 worked
full time in 1998. If part-time work is included,
the number rises to 250 million. According to
most estimates, three-fifths of these children
are boys; most estimates, however, fail to take
account of unpaid work in family enterprises
or within the household. If full-time house-
work were included, according to the ILO, the
number of economically active girls would
increase to match that of bo\s. and the popu-
lation ot working children would d increase
Nigruficantl. working g tull time in the home.
the FLO believes. explains one-third of all girls
nonattendance at primary school

The same \ear that U.N. members were
meeting in Beiling, USAID launched the Girls'
and Women's Education lnihath\e. Operating
in 17 priority\ countries, the initiatn e is a major
part of USAID s $50-million-a-\ear investment
in overcoming the sociall and physical barriers
to girls education Building more -chool.
buying new books, and training more teachers
expand the educational infra-tructure aaail-
able to de\-eloping countries. But LISAID has
learned that, b\ themsel\ es, these actions w\-ill
not utfficientl\ increase enrollment ot girls in
primary school or their completion rate-. This
requires moblizing human and financial
resources from private busine-ses and other
civil bocietk agencies to complement tho-e of
the government.

Many of the barriers to girls' education lie
outside the limits of a developing country's
school system and are rooted deeply in
each county's economic, political, and
cultural experiences.

The benefits of girls' education are undis-
puted: labor productivity increases, fertility
rates fall, all family members are healthier, and
mothers with at least a basic education are
more likely to raise educated children, both
boys and girls. But parents frequently perceive
girls' education as an unaffordable expense,
and the benefits to be gained from girls' labor
seem more urgently valuable than the longer
term benefits to be gained from their education.

To overcome this disincentive, USAID helps
communities design and implement their own
programs for encouraging and enabling girls
to attend school. Local community control
of these programs, USAID has learned, is a
critical ingredient in their success. The govern-
ment of Guatemala, for example, has instituted
a publicly funded scholarship program for
girls' primary education that supports 46,000
girls attending 2,600 schools.

USAID's approach to girls' education recruits
supporters for these efforts from every walk of
life: private business and religious leaders,
community activists, local political and
government officials, unions and nongovern-
mental organizations. The initiative works
with media professionals and sports cele-
brities. Enlisting these decision makers,
opinion shapers, and role models as agents for
change, program officials help school author-
ities draw upon a broad base of community
support to design effective programs for
increasing girls' enrollment and retention in
primary education.

In Morocco, the Wafabank and other private-
sector organizations have launched the "One-
Bank, One-School" campaign. Individual
banks "adopt" a local school and pledge
financial support for school maintenance,
educational materials, and other needs, such
as testing students' eyesight and hearing, or
supplying schools with clean water. Wafabank
officials and staff also assume many of the
managerial responsibilities of school admini-
strators. These commitments forge a strong
link between the local business community,
educators, and parents; one result is an
increase in girls' enrollment and retention.

There are now 600 bank branches committed
to participating in the program

The Girl's and Women's Education Initiative
in Guinea helps local conmmunities- design
campaigns to keep girls from withdrawing
from school. In Uganda, USAID is helping
the government develop a program to protect
school girls from social harassment that too
often pressures them into quitting school,
and in Guatemala, L SAID is helping devise
activities to create opportunities for girls'
education among indigenous populations.

The Intercultural Bilingual Education Program
is one example of commu tm h -based education
that uses collaborative lea ring. peer teaching.
self-instructional guides, and other active
learning techniques to encourage increased
participation by girls. The program ha- been
active in Mali since 1995. During its first three
years, the fraction of school-aged girls enrolled
in school increased from 33 to 41 percent.
Officials predict that by the end of this year, the
percentage of girls attending school will have
increased to 43 percent. In Benin, Guatemala,
Guinea, Morocco, Peru, and other countries,
decision makers from the government and
private sector, including leaders of religious


and media organizations, have formed
national girls' education networks that are
mobilizing resources to develop projects and
programs for girls' education as well as
advocating for stronger policies.

Combating Female
Genital Cutting
Increasing the commitment of decision makers
throughout civil society to girls' education and
overcoming families' inclination to put their
daughters to work instead of enrolling them in
school are only part of USAID's focus on the
girl child. Equally important is the Agency's
work to end female genital cutting, especially
in Africa. Each year, as many as 2 million girls
are at risk of becoming victims of this practice,
with severe consequences for chronic physical
and psychological health. Tightly woven
into the fabric of many societies, the practice
crosses religious, ethnic, and cultural lines.
USAID recognizes female genital cutting as
a harmful, if traditional, practice that violates
the health and human rights of women and
hinders development.

USAID opposes any practice of or support
for female genital cutting and works toward
the goal of total elimination of this practice.
Under no circumstances does USAID support
the practice of female genital cutting by
medical personnel.

Practiced by many communities around the
world, including the Bohra of India and some
ethnic groups in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the
highest prevalence of female genital cutting
occurs in 28 African countries, where it ranges
from 43 percent in C6te d'Ivoire to 97 percent
in Egypt.

USAID has established programmatic guide-
lines for working on this problem, drafted an
Agency-wide policy, and supported local
organizations in their quest to eradicate this
practice. Funding has been provided for
projects in Burkina Faso, Egypt, Eritrea, the
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, and
Senegal. These programs are making a differ-
ence in girls' lives.

In Egypt, USAID supported a "positive
deviance approach" to identify positive role
models who had withstood social pressures
and not had their daughters cut or who
advocate against the practice. Through a
systematic interview process with these


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women, nongovernmental organization staff
and community leaders were able to determine
the factors that allowed women and men to
go against the traditional demands of society.
The process of the positive deviance approach,
used for the first time in the context of female
genital cutting, has broken the traditional
silence and acceptance surrounding the
practice and resulted in innovative programs
and new advocates willing to actively partici-
pate in efforts to end the practice.

In the Gambia, USAID supported nongovern-
mental organizations to work in collaboration
with a variety of stakeholders-community
members, circumcisers, and religious and
local leaders-to design an alternative rite
of pas-_age curriculum for the traditionally
important girls' initiation ceremonies. The
new curriculum emphasizes important
aspects of Gambian culture and provides
instruction in health, hygiene, and religion,
yet eliminates the cutting of young girls. This
new curriculum, combined with reproductive
health education classes for women, has led
more than 30 circumcisers to abandon their
profession and take on new roles as village
health educators.

In the Kolda region of Senegal, 88 percent of
young girls are subject to undergoing this
practice. USAID has funded village empower-
ment projects in other areas of Senegal,
focusing on a human rights approach to
health education. Extending these projects into
Kolda, villagers are informed about the
practice's long-term health effects and the
growing number of neighboring villages that
have repudiated female genital cutting.

These education campaigns, which brought
together local religious leaders, traditional
village elders, and government representatives,
produced a public declaration to discontinue
this practice adopted by a delegation of 2,500
men and women representing 80,000 villagers
living in 105 communities.

Reducing Adolescent
Each year, more than 13 million adolescent
girls become pregnant in developing countries.
This event can double a young girl's family
responsibilities, and for most girls it
shuts forever the doors to education and
opportunity. To help discourage premature
sexual activity by adolescent girls, USAID's
Focus on Young Adults Program encourages
health officials and community leaders to
introduce reproductive health classes in
schools, establish outreach programs for
young people at youth centers, and to provide
"youth friendly" services at health clinics.

One example can be found in Jamaica,
where USAID is funding a local program to
help teenage mothers return to school, com-
plete their educations, and avoid future
unexpected pregnancies. More than 22,000
adolescent mothers have returned to school
since the program's inception in 1997,
and only 1.4 percent of participating girls
experience a second pregnancy during any
given year. A recognized success by U.S. and
Jamaican authorities, the program is now
active island-wide and funded primarily by
the Jamaican government.


Ssic Human Rights

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"I believe that of all the forces that will shape
the world of the 21st century, the movement to
recognize and realize the rights of women will
be among the most powerful. "
-Madeline Albright, U.S. Secretary of State
While delegates convened the U.N. conference
in Beijing, halfway around the world in Sierra
Leone, rebel forces of the Revolutionary United
Front swept through unprotected villages,
driving rural noncombatants before them.
Slaughter was indiscriminate, but killing was
not their only objective. According to Human
Rights Watch, "the [rebels] perpetrated
systematic, organized, and widespread sexual
violence against girls and women ... planned
and launched operations in which they
rounded up girls and women, brought them
to rebel command centers, and then subjected
them to individual and gang rapes."

Five years later, reports of these attacks
appeared in The Washington Post beneath the
ominous headline "A War Against Women."
The Revolutionary United Front was not alone
in its blending of paramilitary violence with
systematic sexual terrorism and predation. In
Rwanda, both Hutu and Tutsi warriors have
been accused of similar attacks, while the
Balkan civil wars were notable for atrocities
against girls and women.

International institutions for prosecuting and
punishing those who commit crimes against
humanity now must cope with the emergence
of systematic rape as a weapon of war. These
attacks pose an unusually stark challenge to
women's internationally recognized human
rights. The U.S. government supports efforts
to prosecute these atrocities as human rights
violations, and USAID is providing human-
itarian assistance to help the victims of
these campaigns.

These violations of women's basic human
rights are as sensational as they are grotesque,
but other, less visible challenges to the sanctity
of human rights confront women throughout

many developing countries. These include
the expanding global commerce in women as
slaves, trafficked for forced labor or forced
prostitution. These include not only domestic
violence but also the difficulties women face
afterwards from a legal system that does not
recognize this violence as criminal or refuses
to safeguard against this abuse.

As asserted in the U.N. charter and reaffirmed
at the Beijing conference, universality is a
defining feature of human rights. Govern-
ments that den\y omen rights, pri'. ilege-
and entitlements otherwise conferred upon
men violate basic human rights by definition.
Thus, where women are prohibited from
appearing in public without a male family
escort, or cannot inherit property or own
land, where legal or religious codes pr ohibit
the education of girls or women, the offense
reaches beyond political issues to strike at a
woman's basic right to live a human life.

Protecting Rights
Through Legal Literacy
Ensuring equal protection of women's human
rights requires governments to enact and
enforce laws that do not discriminate against
women. But nondiscriminatory laws are only
part of an effective defense of human rights.
Women must also be aware that they are
entitled to these protections and understand
the institutions and procedures involved in
enforcing these laws. Protecting human rights
thus presumes that women will have basic
"legal literacy." Much of USAID's work on
behalf of women's human rights has sup-
ported locally organized public education
campaigns directed at women and at local
and national government agencies.

Since 1995, USAID has invested more than
$20 million to improve the protection of
women's human rights. The bulk cf these.
funds support local nongovernmental


organizations. Their activities include encour-
aging developing country governments to
adopt and enforce nondiscriminatory laws
protecting women's rights. These nongovern-
mental organizations conduct public educa-
tion campaigns to spotlight women's legal
vulnerability, draft model legislation to
address the failures of their legal systems, and
advocate for legislation strengthening the laws
protecting women's human rights. When
necessary, follow-up public education cam-

paigns are launched to inform women
of the means at their disposal for enforcing
these rights.

Violence Against Women
The United Nations cites violence against
women as the single most pervasive violation
of internationally recognized human rights.
This violence takes multiple forms, from female


infanticide and sex-selected abortion to female
genital cutting, "honor" crimes, and rape as a
weapon of war. The costs of gender violence
are only now being calculated. It is a daunting
task requiring estimates of lost productivity
resulting from workplace absence, healthcare
expenses for medical treatment, and the costs
of law enforcement and judicial review.

Because domestic violence violates women's
human rights, threatens their health and that

of their children, restricts their labor force
participation, and can enforce public silence
when women would speak politically. it is
becoming a central focus of USAID's efforts in
a variety of development sectors. Some of these
activities are directed to the needs of victims
for information about their civil rights and the
recourse available to battered women -ekin
justice or protection. Other activities address
popularly held beliefs and attitudes about the
causes of gender-based violence.


USAID provides training to nongovernmental
organizations and government agencies that
assist victims with medical treatment, psycho-
logical counseling, or legal advice. Technical
assistance is extended to local and national
agencies so that legal frameworks can be made
responsive to gender violence, including
training so that judges, prosecutors, and
constables can effectively enforce the laws
crafted to protect women.

USAID funding, for example, helps support
legal training, workshops, and public edu-
cation campaigns operated by the Inter-
American Human Rights Institute. The
Institute selects domestic violence complaints
and champions these cases before the courts
of the applicable country to help secure
precedent-setting decisions in these national
court systems.

USAID provided critical support to Honduran
nongovernmental organizations pressing
for enactment of the Law Against Domestic
Violence, a statute to mandate criminal
sanctions against anyone found guilty of
domestic violence. In addition, the Agency
supported public education seminars on law
and other reforms to the country's Criminal
Code affecting women's rights. As a result,
prosecutions of cases involving female victims
of crime increased more than 200 percent
between 1996 and 1997.

In India, USAID has funded research pro-
grams to document domestic violence and
develop programs to prevent violence and
support battered women. The three case
studies funded by the Agency have demon-
strated that domestic violence pervades Indian
society, cutting across caste, class, religion,
age, and education. Two of every five women
interviewed reported instances of physical
abuse by their husbands.

U SAID also has supported research efforts
that brought together public officials with
representatives from nongovernmental
organizations, local crisis centers and
women's shelters, and academic researchers
to collect and analyze national data on
violence. The trends and patterns revealed by
this research will support campaigns for legal
reforms designed to reduce the incidence of
domestic violence and provide legal protec-
tions to victims.

In Russia, USAID funding has trained hun-
dreds of judges and prosecutors on issues
related to violence against women at the Law
Academy in Moscow and the Prosecutors
Institute in St. Petersburg. Workshops on
violence have been conducted in nine provin-
cial cities for lawyers, police, prosecutors,
judges, and concerned citizens. The Agency
also has provided funding to the Russian
Association of Crisis Centers to strengthen
services to members, awarded small grants
directly to individual crisis centers for imme-
diate needs, and assisted Women's Wellness
Centers, where primary care, education, and
counseling are offered to the victims of domes-
tic violence.

Programs to help prevent violence against
women that the Agency has funded in Bul-
garia have led to the formation of new anti-
violence community groups and the creation of
local counseling centers. Three cities have won
USAID grants to fund community centers that
extend state-of-the-art services for supporting
abused women and conducting anti-violence
public education campaigns.

Education and outreach efforts are central
features of the Agency's assistance to local
indigenous villages in Equador, where com-
munities are experimenting with innovative
dispute resolution methods to help reduce the
incidence of domestic violence.

USAID has learned that combating domestic
violence is easier if the issue can be made
public and a matter for community concern.
Often this requires challenging community


norms that rationalize men's violence and
blame women victims for inciting incidents
of domestic abuse. This is a central focus
of the USAID-supported work of the
Mexican Institute for Research on Family
and Population.

Anti-Trafficking Initiatives

Sexual trafficking of young women and girls
for forced prostitution has been an open, if
illegal, enterprise in Southeast Asia for years.
With the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, and the
subsequent opening of borders between East
and West, this trade has taken on global
dimensions. The United Nations estimates that
in 1997 traffickers extracted nearly $7 billion
in profits from sale of as many as 4 million
women, children, and men. USAID has begun
to confront this growing menace.

Not all trafficking involves forced prostitution.
Children are trafficked not only for sexual
exploitation but also for labor, and older
women are often subject to confinement as
domestic servants. But whether for forced

prostitution or manual labor, trat kicker,
commonly lure their unwary victims into
coercive situations with the promise of legi-
timate employment in distant cities or forei gn
countries. Once the victims have arrived at
their destinations, they find themselves put to
tasks they cannot refuse under conditions -he\
cannot control.

Because most victims of tra ffl kir.g are smug-
gled into destinations in violation of immi-
gration laws and are working without proper
documentation, police agencies ea'ilv mistake
these victims for criminals. This confusion has
the perverse effect of discouraging victims from
attempting to escape. All too often, immi-
gration and police officials are active accom-
plices in this enterprise.

The U.S. government has adopted an anti-
trafficking policy that seeks to prevent this
crime whenever possible, protect victims who
can be rescued from their captors, and prose-
cute those engaged in trafficking.

USAID's first effort to c mb t t tra ticking
brought the Agenyv into partnership with
Ukrainian authorities to launch public
education campaigns warning un u ,pecting
young women of the dangers of fraudulent
employment "brokers." The Agency also
supported community job training centers
to help women gain the skills and contacts
needed to find legitimate work. And it is
helping train law enforcement Jgetncie-
and border-control officials to detect
trafficking transport patterns and fraudulent
travel documentation.

Between 1996 and 1999, USAID provided
more than $1 million to support anti-traf-
ficking initiatives in South and Southeast Asia
and to provide healthcare and counseling
services to women rescued from their ca p tor
A national network of nongovernmental
organizations has emerged in Banglade-h
with USAID support, providing legal assis-
tance to victims and conducting public
education campaigns. Similar efforts have
been undertaken in Cambodia, Nepal. and
the Philippines.



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Access to education and healthcare is a basic
human right ot women and girls that the
Beijing Plattorm wth .-\ctioi calls upon member
go\ernment- to expand and protect As the
Platform noted in I'L5. 110 percent of the 100
million children without access to primary
schooling were girls, and more than rwo-thirds
of the 960 million Illiterate adults in developing
countries \\ere v omen.

The Plattorm also states that "[w ]omen ha' e the
right to the enloyment ot the highest attainable
standard ot physical and mental health. The
enloy ment of this right is vital to their Ilte and
well-being and their ability to participate in all
areas of public and private life. Similarly, the
International Conference on Population and
Dev elopment s Plattorri ot.-\ctiou focused on the
crucial importance of women reproducti e
health needs., including their access to services
to enable them to plan their tamnilies. ensure N
health\ childbirth, and prevent HIV AIDS and
other s-\uall\ transmitted intection-,

Healthcare and educahon are put forward as
human rights because both art. essential to
tulfilling human potential NMoreo\ er. both are
guaranteed within the framework of international
human rights con\-entions. Poor countries ha%\ e
difficulty expanding access to healthcare and .
education because these are e\peni i\e ser\ ,ces to
pro\ lde. Nonetheless. \without the .e crucial ....M.i,
inveshnient, countries caimot dev elop or prosper.

In 1)75. for example more 720 million East
.Asians. ol) percent of the region s population. .
were sur i\ ing on less than L.S$1 a da\ Twenr\
\ears later, that number had been reduced b\ half
This unprecedented decline in poverty \\a- the
result of equally\ unprecedented rates ot economic
gro%\ th. and although man\ factors combined to ii
make this grow th possible, most observe ers point
to the massive e investments in basic education
and healthcare made bN the governments ot the
region. Impro' ing human capital is the hr-st
step toward a diversified economy capable of
robust growth. I,.,

Preventive Healthcare

Nearly 600,000 women die-at least one
woman every minute of every day-annually
from preventable pregnancy-related causes;
99 percent of these deaths are in developing
countries. Only one in 1,800 women in the
developed world dies during childbirth or
from pregnancy-related complications. In
contrast, one in 48 women in developing
countries can expect to die from these causes.
One in four maternal deaths could be preven-
ted by family planning, which postpones early,
high-risk pregnancies, gives women's bodies a
chance to recover from previous pregnancy,
and helps women avoid unintended preg-
nancies and unsafe abortions. The compli-
cations from unsafe abortion are a leading
cause of maternal mortality, resulting in 75,000
preventable deaths a year. Furthermore, more
than 150 million married women in the
developing world still want to limit the
number of or lengthen the interval between
pregnancies but do not have access to modern
methods of contraception.

Thirty-four million people now live with
HIV/AIDS, 95 percent of whom are in the
developing world. One of the most striking
trends in the HIV/AIDS pandemic during the
past decade has been its rapid spread among
women. Women account for nearly half of new
infections and are becoming infected at faster
rates than men. Young women are particularly
vulnerable. It is estimated that 70 percent of
women infected with HIV are between the ages
of 15 and 24. Women and girls not only face
greater biological vulnerability than males,
but they also must contend with social and
economic forces that increase their likelihood
of being infected with HIV.

USAID works in close collaboration with a
wide variety of partners to improve the range
and quality of preventive healthcare and
essential medical services available to poor
women in developing countries. The 60
countries participating in these projects make
up 72 percent of the population of the develop-
ing world, excluding China.

Because better information is essential for
USAID and its partners to focus the most
effective programs where the needs are
greatest, the Agency has supported national
surveys on the status of women's and infants'
health in 45 countries. These surveys collect

data on women's status, family planning
maternal mortality. sexually transmitted
diseases, male roles and re.pon.sibiljiit.
and female genital cutting.

To ensure that women receive needed ram il
planning and reproductive health services,
USAID has supported innovative service
delivery and management systems and
training of thousands of providers. Reflectmin.
Morocco's progress toward self-reliance,
USAID assistance to the country will be
phased out over the next five years. Since 1983,
modern contraceptive use in Morocco has
more than doubled to 49 percent of married
women of reproductive age. Average ta nu 1
size has declined by almost half to 3.1 child-
ren, and maternal deaths have dropped by
more than 50 percent, from over '.000 to less
than 1,500 annually.

For many years, USAID has supported innova-
tive cn mm uinit -ba.i-d approaches top ro:'id -
ing family planning and reproductive ht.a:l;
services, often through networks of local
nongovernmental organizations. CARE and
Save the Children are among the U.S.-based
organizations with which US AID is w, rkin .
each bringing a wealth of experience in child
survival, health, and community d e', tl op m n n t
along with extensive networks of local part-
ners. One influential model is in Bolivia, where
a network of 24 nongovernmental ,,rgani-
zations has been providing integrated repro-
ductive and child health services to poor rural
communities since 1988. Since then, prenatal
care, safe deliveries, and modern contraceptive
use have vastly increased in p re jec t areas.


A relatively recent development in the past
decade for both USAID and the U.N. Popu-
lation Fund is the provision of family planning
assistance to countries of Eastern Europe,
Russia, and Central Asia, where women had
little access to family planning for many years
and relied heavily on abortion. With modest
inputs of training and technical assistance, the
results have been dramatic. In Romania, for
example, the use of modern contraceptive
methods (primarily pills, IUDs, and condoms)
has more than doubled between 1993 and
1999, from 14 to 29 percent of married women.
During the same period, the incidence of
abortion has declined by 35 percent, and
abortion-related maternal mortality dropped
by over 80 percent.

USAID has provided financial support since
1994 for pilot research-demonstration pro-
grams to improve treatment for complications
of unsafe abortion in more than 30 countries,
including Egypt, Kenya, Nepal, and Peru.
These programs are showing success not only
in saving the lives of women but also in
providing women with the family planning
information and services they need to avoid
repeat abortions.

Guatemala offers a clear example of the central
importance these programs have for the future
of developing countries. The 1996 Peace

Accords ending that country's civil war
mandated a national, five-year campaign to
reduce maternal and infant mortality by 50
percent. USAID has supported this campaign
by working to strengthen the capacity of local
communities to provide these services. The
Agency's MotherCare Project is helping the
Ministry of Health extend obstetric services to
poor women and newborns living beyond the
reach of the healthcare system. Local commun-
ities, for instance, have opened maternity
facilities, staffed by rotating teams of medical
personnel, to bring formal healthcare to
indigenous villages. Areas served by this
project have experienced a sizable increase in
the use of obstetric services. Where once just
over half of all expectant mothers sought
obstetric care, now more than three-quarters
of all pregnant mothers receive obstetric care.

In El Salvador, USAID-supported projects are
helping 30 nongovernmental organizations
provide 90,000 poor women with health
services that include prenatal care, midwife
assistance, postnatal care, and family plan-
ning counseling. Follow-up services promote
healthy infant nutrition and breast-feeding.
Twelve thousand working women in El
Salvador now have access to family planning
and other health services, including cervical
cancer screening and counseling for victims of


domestic violence, through the Demographic
Association Rural Program.

Working with the U.N. Population Fund
and other donors on approaches to prevent
maternal deaths, USAID is training health
workers in obstetric emergencies and sup-
porting a community mobilization effort to
promote safe motherhood in 75 districts in
Nepal. USAID also has supported develop-
ment and distribution of an inexpensive clean

home delivery kit to help ensure that women in
remote mountainous areas of NT-pal receive at
least basic sanitation for normal deliveries.

With USAID assistance, the Government of
Indonesia has adopted a program to reduce
maternal mortality, includinri training 55 V?00
village midwives, promoting iron supple-
ments for pregnant women, and launching
a post-partum public education and out-
reach campaign.

In Uganda, the use of radio spots, voluntary
counseling, and testing has encoiur aged \ ouni
women ages 15 to 24 to delay the onset of
sexual activities and encourage safer sex
practices. As a result, their HIV prevalence
has declined by 35 percent.

In Kenya, more than 1.1 million women are
estimated to be infected with HIV, 13 percent
of the adult female population. The unmet
need for contraception and the rapid trans-
mission of HIV AIDS lend special urgency
to efforts to increase the use of condoms. A
USAID-funded program to promote subsidized
sales of condoms now sells over 12 million
condoms annually, triple the sales of just three
years ago.


USAID recognizes the importance of helping
women gain access to methods of disease
prevention. The female condom is one such
method, and the Agency's work in Latin
America and the Caribbean and in Africa has
demonstrated not only that this method is an
effective approach to disease prevention but
also that it can be successfully marketed in
developing countries.

The Agency first test-marketed the female
condom in Latin America in 1995. Subsequent
programs have demonstrated the success of
this device in Bolivian, Brazilian, and Haitian
markets. Sales in Madagascar began in Iul\
1996. Through the end of 1999, more than 12
million units had been sold through a network
of 401) wholesale and 16,000 retail distributors
nahonwide. The Madagascar program is now
active in all cities with high HIVAIDS risk
and along malor transport routes

Basic Education
"The first step is for societies to recognize
that educating girls is not an option, it is a
-U.N. Secrelanr-General Koti Annan
lWrom UNDP Newsfrontl

Each year since the Beijing conference, USAID
has provided lust under $100 million to
support basic education in developing coun-
tries. Approximately half of these tunds
support programs to expand primary educa-
tion opportunities for girls a- well as local
literacy projects for adult women

Literacy training. USAID has learned, pro-
motes a variety of complementary objectives.
Local women s organtzation- often prove
valuable resources for literacy projects. These
groups are able to develop curricula that use
local knowledge to help women simplify their
daily tasks and responsibilities. The groups
become more influential as their membership
grows and becomes better educated. And
women participants acquire more than
basic literacy. They also gain essenhal exper-
ience in how to work as a team. Because many
of these projects rely on self-instruction,
participating women also gain a stronger
sense of self-empowerment.

Since 1995, more than 500,000 Nepalese
women have graduated from a USAID-
supported 18-month program that combines
basic literacy and numeracy training with

legal literacy and advocacy training. Partici-
pants of this program have proven eager to put
their skills to the test. In 1997, thousands of
these newly literate women ran for public
office in their local governments, and hun-
dreds were elected.

These education programs, structured along
the lines of literacy classes, have focused on
family planning, safe motherhood, nutrition,
child hygiene, HIV AIDS prevention, and
sexual trafficking. More than 40,000 women
have attended these classes since 1996, and
they emerged better educated, healthier, and
more active in civil society.

In South Africa, basic literacy instruction uses
course materials carried on the Internet. These
materials are printed and distributed to local
trainers who tutor adult participants But
these materials can be easily revised and new
materials distributed at little if any additional
cost. The ability to substitute new and better
literacy tools for less effective materials
ensures that trainers will have available
information most appropriate to the students
they are as-sisting

USAID's adult education assistance often
supports groups that apply basic education to
improve the skills or the health ot participants.
'The LearnLink Project, tor example, is helping
local education groups provide training in
high technology to school-aged students and
adults in 15 countries, but its primary focus is
on Benin, Ghana, and Paraguay. In Ghana
three cities operating comunn ity learning
centers offer instruction in basic computer and
Internet operations. Participants learn not only
how to type but also how to use the Internet as
an information resource. Only one-fourth of all
LearnLink participants are women, but the
project is employing creative outreach mea-
sures-street theater and community radio
broadcasts-to increase women s enrollment.

With USAID's support, and that of other
donors, more women and girls are gaining
access to the healthcare and educational
opportunities they need to dev elop their own
human potential and to accelerate the develop-
ment of their communities and countries. As
the girls and women v ho participate in these
programs become healthier and better edu-
cated, they also become better equipped to
contribute to the economic and political
development of their homelands.

nic Growth and

ty Reduction

"Concrete calculations demonstrate that there
are enormous economic benefits to investing in
-Lawrence Summers, U.S. Secretary of Treasury

Of the 1.3 billion people sunriving on less than
US$1 per day in 1995, women made up the
vast majority. Thus, reducing poverty among
women was the first measure to improve
women's status identified in the Platfonn
for Action.

USAID's efforts to red uce poverty among
women range from basic support for social
investments in health and education to
advanced skills training. The Agency's
programs promote institutional reforms to
extend basic economic rights to women, such
as the right to own or inherit property. Its
agricultural extension efforts to improve farm
productivity are actively recruiting greater
participation by women producers. USAID-
financed microcredit programs enable thou-
sands of women to become small-scale entre-
preneurs. And the Agency's support for
business training helps ensure that partici-
pating women not only earn income but also
acquire invaluable experience as managers of
their own small businesses.

Although straightforward, the Agency's goal
to encourage broad-based economic growth
and agricultural development can be difficult
to implement. Poverty canbe reduced, how-
ever, when poor women and men are provided
with an enabling economic environment
and they are helped to acquire the resources
and training they need to take advantage of
economic growth opportunities. To ensure that
poor women as well as men are reached often
requires removing gender-based obstacles
to economic growth, including addressing
institutional inequalities hmiting access to

education and training, and factors of produc-
tion, such as credit, land, and labor. US.AID
frequently works through local associatons
and % -omen's groups that have been organized
by women to help them identify and meet their
own needs. These groups are often the best
methods of delivering the technical and
financial resources USAID has to offer to the
women who need them.

Ensuring Food Security
Sometimes the resource most urgently needed
is basic nutrition. Where the poor are at risk of
starvation, USAID helps improve food security.
The PL 480 Food Aid Program serves as an
international pipeline delivering food and
instruction to poor communities around the
globe. To help poor women feed their families,
the Agency takes special care to work with
local community groups. In India, for example,
3,000 women's groups participate in a variety
of PL 480 food program activities, some of
which were organized specifically to loin the
program's grain bank and its savings and
credit projects.

USAID also supports agricultural research
through Collaborative Research Support
Programs (CRSPs), which draw on the exper-
tise of U.S. universities and link US. and
partner country researchers. CRSPs include
several innovative efforts to work with wo-
men's groups and to improve women's income
and nutritional status. Some examples include
the development of two new strains of cow-
peas through CRSP research that have in-
creased prod auction 2.4 times above the 20-year
average levels in Senegal, the creation of a
cowpea flake for cereals that has helped
increase the amount of protein available to
malnourished children in Ghana, the develop-
ment of higher yielding peanut varieties in

Thailand, and the breeding of dual-purpose
goats in Kenya.

Support to the Consultative Group on Inter-
national Agricultural Research (CGIAR) by
USAID also targets the needs of women. Some
of this work includes research into fortified
rice and corn varieties that could help to
alleviate micronutrient deficiencies found
among rural populations. Several CGIAR
programs have a gender focus, such as the
Gender and Development Policy Program
based at the International Food Policy
Research Institute.

Women, despite being the backbone of the
world's agricultural labor force, seldom have
any role in setting the agricultural policies or
priorities of developing country governments.
Via Campesina is a worldwide network of
peasant associations linking small- and
medium-scale farmers, farm workers, rural
women, and indigenous agrarian communities
devoted to increasing the role of these groups
in national policy making. With USAID
support, the Via Campesina Women's Working
Group was formed in 1996 to address the
cultural, economic, and social barriers to
women's participation in the larger organiza-
tion and assist it in becoming a more effective
advocate for small producers.

Among the group's concerns are national
agricultural policies that often have the
unintended effect of diminishing food security
by encouraging the production of cash crops
for export rather than diversified crop produc-
tion to supplement household food needs.
Food security is commonly understood as a
function of three interrelated variables:
availability, access, and utilization. Families
that farm to meet their food needs may be
reluctant to divert acreage into cash crop
production that cannot serve their own
nutritional requirements, but the extra income
generated by cash crops ought to improve their
overall food security. This result is achieved,
however, only if adequate supplies of food are
available at local markets at affordable prices.
These choices and tradeoffs are often deter-
mined by a developing country's agricultural
policies. By strengthening the role of women in
Via Campesina, USAID helps strengthen the
ability of local organizations to set local
development priorities.

Rural Development-
From Farm to Market
The Agency's agricultural assistance projects
help the rural poor combine production
for markets with production for home con-
sumption, and women farmers are key partici-
pants in a variety of projects. In Bangladesh,
nongovernmental organizations operating
with USAID funding helped 1.25 million poor


families, representing 5.4 million beneficiaries,
take up small-scale aquaculture and vegetable
farming in 1998. Women either headed or
maintained more than 70 percent of these
families, and the average production of their
fishponds, 1,950 kilograms per hectare, was
double the national average output.

In Malawi, USAID is helping small family
farmers respond to new economic oppor-
tunities. Cotton is a staple cash crop on these
farms, but the crop is typically sold to inter-
mediate traders who deliver the cotton to large
cotton gins. USAID has helped 475,000 female-
headed farm families join cotton cooperatives
that deliver the product directly to gins for
processing and export. In 1999, these women
earned an average of 17 percent more than did
neighbors who were not members.

In Albania, USAID supports programs to
improve dairy production, and 97 percent of
the participants are women dairy operators
receiving training in new processing tech-
niques and effective methods of livestock
management and artificial insemination. This
project has also helped these women dairy
operators establish a credit union to promote
savings and investment and to further increase
their output.

The Agency has recognized that combining
technical assistance to small-scale producers
with financial innovations, such as creating
credit unions to provide credit to producer
associations, can increase output, promote
more efficient production, and lay a founda-
tion for future growth. Women have proved
enthusiastic participants in several such
projects. In Mali, USAID's Sustainable
Economic Growth Program has helped women
farmers gain critical access to irrigated land for
rice production. The program has also organ-
ized 19 women's credit unions throughout the
country, enabling 3,700 women to qualify for
small loans in 1998, many of which supported
rice farming. Thus, rice farming is growing
increasingly popular among small-scale
women farmers.

Microcredit for

USAID makes $120 million a year available for
microcredit programs; more than two-thirds of
the borrowers are women. In N ara tua these
loans have helped 9,000 women find gainful
employment in agricultural export pr:ce s-ing

In Nepal, USAID has linked literacy :raininir
with entrepreneurial opportunities. The
Women's Empowerment Program follows a
simple plan. Women in local communities
form self-help groups bi pooling their miac-er
savings. Over time, as these accumulate,
women launch small businesses in goat
and poultry raising, vegetable marketing, or
biscuit-making. With the earnings from thes~-
enterprises, participating women buy the
instructional materials needed for literacy
and numeracy training. Groups number
between 25 and 35 women, and last year,
more than 450 women participated in the
program's activities.

USAID's Program for the Recovery of the
Economy in Transition works in Haiti to
channel credit to small business owners,
especially in the services and trade sectors.
Working in conjunction with commercial
banks and local nongovernmental organi-
zations, the program has financed 6,000 loans
worth UL S3 4 million. The project has a loan
delinquency rate of only 3 percent.

USAID's experience with women's microcredit
confirms that of other donors and institutions:
women are frugal borrowers, prudent entre-
preneurs, and low business risks.

Lenders usually extend credit to teams of
women who most often operate their separate
enterprises individually but remain jointly
responsible for the entire amount borrowed.

The experience helps each woman acquire
valuable management skills and invaluable
self-confidence that comes with success on
even the smallest scale. And because the team
must repay the full amount of the loan, each
member has a stake in the success of the
others' enterprises as well as her own. The
results are repay\ meant rates that conventional
commercial banks will never match.


Working with private banks in Jordan and
the Jordan River Foundation, founded under
the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania
Al-Abdullah, USAID is helping extend new
credit opportunities to the residents of Jordan's
impoverished south. As many as 25,000 active
borrowers are expected to qualify for loans
by the end of next year, at least half of whom
will be women. Already, businesses started
with these loans are producing wicker furni-
ture for local and international markets that
is recognized for the quality of its construction
and design.

The Village Banking Program now operating
in Kyrgyzstan has led to the formation of
486 banking groups with 5,876 members,
90 percent of whom are women.

Microcredit may be essential to helping
women launch small businesses, but
by themselves these small loans cannot
guarantee success. USAID is also developing
training programs for microenterprises and
small business. In Russia, for example, USAID
offers business incubator services that
help entrepreneurs develop business plans
and acquire basic business skills. These
incubators also extend small loans to
qualified borrowers, 76 percent of whom
have been women.

USAID's efforts in Jamaica support a wide
variety of services to promote small business
formation in the export sector, including
microcredit lending and skills training.
Women made up more than 70 percent of the
microcredit borrowers, and by 1998, these
activities had provided training to 630 women
and contributed to the creation of 135,000 jobs
for women.

The Agency continues to place considerable
emphasis on extending business services to
support microenterprise development. In 1998,


the Agency provided these services to 23,148
organizations and 2.2 million individuals,
most of whom were women. And they are
almost always poor: 97 percent of clients of
USAID business-support projects come from
the poorest income quintile in their countries.
Most of these services support agricultural-
based enterprises, but the activities include a
wide range of undertakings.

Skills and Management
USAID's training efforts support a host of
different skill requirements. In Ethiopia,
USAID provides assertiveness training to
women about to enter teaching institutes,
which has helped increase the pool of women
teachers in the country, with positive effects on
school attendance by young girls.

In Bolivia, USAID-funded scholarships allow
women to attend technical institutes. Of the
350 women who have received USAID sup-
port, 80 percent have taken senior positions in
public and private sector institutions.

The Global Training for Development Program,
the Agency's largest training activity, operates
in the former Soviet republics. It provides mid-
career and senior professionals experience
with Western methods of private and public

sector management. Although the program
carries a mandate to ensure that women
make up half of all participants, this level
has been achieved only in Kazakhstan.
In Turkmenistan, women make up only
43 percent of the participants, while in
Kyrgyzstan the figure is 45 percent.

Multilateral Cooperation

USAID has been a signatory to international
conventions and involved in intemationaI
conferences since Beijing that have focused on
improving the conditions of the world's poor
and malnourished, including special attention
to the situation of poor women. The Agency's
commitment to food security and poverty
reduction is clearly reflected in such docu-
ments as the Agendafor the 21st Century,
produced by the Development Advisory
Committee of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and De\ elonpment lOECD DAC),
and the U.S. Action Plan on Food Security,
produced as a follow-up to the World Food
Summit. USAID continues striving to achieve
the Summit's target of reducing the number of
hungry people to 400 million by 2015.

Several offices within USAID have made
significant contributions to forthcimin,
guidelines on poverty reduction that are
being developed under the auspices of the
OECD/DAC's Informal Network on Pc, ert.
Reduction. The Office of Women in Develop-
ment in USAID provides, on an ongoin.
basis, expertise to ensure that a gender
perspective is integral to, or mainstreamed,
within these guidelines.


Stical Participation

The economic transformations that over the
past decade have changed the dynamic of
international trade and development are
matched by a global movement toward
democratic government. The former has
expanded the range of development options
available to countries; the latter increases the
likelihood that the policies these countries
pursue will more accurately reflect the imme-
diate and long-range priorities of their people.

Anything that restricts the scope of public
participation not only weakens a country's
democratic foundations but also has the
immediate effect of limiting debate over its
development priorities. No barrier is more
pervasive than the laws, institutions, and

traditions that relegate women to subordinate
roles in public life, and USAID supports a
wide variety of initiatives promoting women's
political participation.

Many of these activities help train women to
stand as candidates for formal political office
in village councils, provincial legislatures,
and national parliaments. Others support
local and national organizations in running
public education campaigns to provide
women with basic information about their
country's electoral process or about pressing
public issues, from the details of national
budgeting to the issues at stake in consti-
tutional referenda.

U -

`_ .,bllow .. !:1110.
.-w.- .-i~
.4-~C~ --k \



Strengthening Democracy
At the Grassroots
By helping women-especially poor women
with limited access to information or other
political resources-take active roles in public
affairs, these activities do more than enable
women to affirm their basic human rights
as citizens. They also increase the likelihood
that emerging democracies will adopt policies
that reflect the needs and priorities of the
entire community.

In 1997, Thailand was adopting a new
constitution. With USAID support, the Women
and the Constitution Network, a coalition of
nongovernmental organizations and indi-
viduals, sponsored 45 workshops across
32 provinces to provide women voters with
information about the range of individual
rights delineated in the charter and the means
for having these rights enforced by local and
national government agencies. Because

85 percent of the participants at these work-
shops were themselves women leaders active
in local rural women's groups, the project
was more than a simple public education
campaign. The grassroots network it helped
create and mobilize serves as a public
interest watchdog.

Similar workshops have been conducted with
USAID support in Bolivia, where '110 women
leaders received training in procedures for
registering voters and candidates for local
public office. And almost 4,000 women in the
Dominican Republic participated in a USAID-
funded program bringing local women's
groups together 1 ith municipal authorities to
discuss social reform issues.

These public education :iam p.aiin- help
women understand the political processes
of their countries and create opportunities
for women to join the public debate about
political issues. Fqua.1% important to increas-
ing women's political participation is the


Agency's support for technical training so
women can compete in the formal political
arena as candidates for local and national
office. The benefits of these workshops extend
far beyond the comparatively few women who
are able to participate in this training. When
the Platformfor Action was being debated, only
10 percent of the members of national legis-
latures throughout the free world were women.
USAID is confident that only by investing in
the recruitment and training of women candi-
dates at the local and national levels can this
number be increased.

Women at the Polls
And in Parliament
In the Philippines, the Agency supported
a regional program provided by the Center
for Legislative Development. The Center
conducted workshops and seminars in the
Province of Cotabato so women could debate
public issues and identify local priorities.
Of 30 women who participated in one year's
training program, 27 went on to become
candidates for municipal or provincial office,
and 21 women candidates trained by the
Center won local office in North Cotabato.

Training women as candidates was especially
important in Peru, where recently adopted
election laws required that 25 percent of the
candidates for town council and congressional
offices be women. USAID provided financial
and technical support to the four regionally
based nongovernmental organizations that
coordinated a national campaign to recruit
and train women candidates. Working princi-
pally in the country's poorest regions, where
women's political participation was usually
lowest, the program helped generate an
unusually high voter turnout. More than
2,200 women were elected to town councils,
and the proportion of women among elected
officials increased from 8 to 24 percent.

While Peru's elections were shaped by the
need to implement electoral quotas, elections
in Russia were shaped by the elimination of
these gender mandates. The Communist Party
traditionally apportioned symbolic repre-
sentation among various party constituencies,
including women. The dissolution of the Soviet
Union brought an end to party-controlled
elections. The number of women holding
public office declined dramatically.

J"....l w1"
tnij oil

To help reverse this trend, Russia's Con'r,_r--
of Women of the Kola Peninsula approacht-d
the International Republican Institute in Iw,
seeking assistance for training women to stand
for elective office or manage nongovernmental
organization campaigns on women's issues.

S... USAID joined with the Institute to provide
,.P ?:,A !)., communications and campaign manaemenr
training. By 1997, the Congress of Women of
.oi .,. '4'.. iS.- ii, ; .. .,l the Kola Peninsula was fi ldinI candidates for
S, the Mumansk City duma. Of the 1 seats that
make up the duma, 12 were won by women.

S'. The effort to build networks of community
o organizations so women can debate political
;"Si issues, develop leadership skills, and establish
.".. ,;,, ,," ,," themselves as viable candidates for political
office led USAID to support the formation
i '' of "100 Women's Groups" in Ni-eria As
S' its name declares, this nongovernmental
S' organization is an aggregation of local
S'I women's associations active in prormoting
''political and social reforms. It oversaw
'.ii,,'" training sessions to prepare women candi-
.i',J '. for dates for local and national governmental
for eery wua office, for traditional council positions,
ca i minister, thetP .'a', and for administrative offices in parastatal
agencies. Forty-three women candidates the
1 it millions of oatho nongovernmental organization -uFportJd
: :,'. for national office won election in 1999.
zVomt king in 'ilf
,,, The Global Women in Politics Program,
--and ba iios .lassrooMt which operated from 1995 to 1999, was
the Agency's largest initiative sup p,-'rtinc
L '! Cou oms, to prom mfe women's political activism. With operations
S- in 15 countries, this program provided tech-
opprtunity and justice nical and financial assistance to help local
Activists organize women's groups to promote
Sforl-" A omern social reforms and provided rant- so that
S-Madeline Albright,. well-established groups could continue to
'S Secretary of State grow. It conducted workshops on citizenship
S" rights and responsibilities and helped women
launch legal reform efforts targeting domestic
... violence, child abuse, and other issues
S "i .,. important to local communities. It offered
."" campaign training for women candidates
and governance training for women elected
to public office. In Africa, Asia, the Near East,
and Latin America and the Caribbean, the
Global Women in Politics Program worked to
break down the social and leail barrier- to
S uomen political participaii.on

In earl\ 2i1i' I. L-S MD i completed a prc~Tram to'
ediiciate \. omnit n about stand in tor elected
ofhiie in Mali The program hiihJ.I.ht-d the
politicscj e\penrences of 2'i Ied.iing ,mnen

26 h, y
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"... we are striving to help women bring down
the barriers to political participation as
advocates and voters, legislators, and leaders."
-Madeline Albright, U.S. Secretary of State

activists in printed, video, and audio format.
The materials produced by this project allowed
each woman to discuss the challenges women
face in Malian society when campaigning for
public office and the methods each adopted
to overcome these challenges. Political
parties and major civic groups now use these
materials in public campaigns to encourage
more women to participate in Malian politics.

Because poverty, illiteracy, and ill health are
among the most common barriers to women's
political participation, the efforts of USAID
to educate women and young girls, its anti-
poverty programs, and its support of basic
human rights directly promote the goal of
helping women participate in the public life of
their communities.

Few investments USAID makes will produce
the returns to be gained from women's
political investment. The development path
that emerging democracies pursue will be
determined in large part by whether women
gain greater access to the political arena.
USAID's investments are helping expand the
base of these democracies to include women.
As women increase their political activism,
they will increase their influence over the
pace and priorities of their countries' future
development. Improving democratic processes
in turn ensures that the development choices
these countries make will reflect the needs
and interests of the whole society. USAID's
investments in women's political participation
may seem modest, but they will bear fruit
for decades to come and are among the
Agency's most important contributions to
international development.


Challenges Ahead


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More than a quarter century ago, and some 22
years before the Beijing conference, USAID
undertook a commitment to "integrate women
into the national economies" of developing
countries, "thus improving their status and
assisting the total development effort." The
Agency's focus has broadened beyond
narrowly defined economic concerns to
embrace education, human rights, healthcare,
and political participation, but the commit-
ment articulated in what has come to be
known as the Percy Amendment of 1973
remains central to USAID's mission of
helping countries pursue development.

This report has presented a sampling of
Agency activities designed to bring women
into the development process as full partners,
sharing the benefits as well as the burdens of
development. The illustrations this report
provides reflect the general rationale under-

lying the Agency's development assistance
strategies. The illustrations do not attempt to
reflect a geographic or sectoral distribution of
all current activities. In part, this is because
gender cuts across the various social sectors
into which most development programming
is classified.

For instance, we know that for every year
beyond the fourth grade that a young girl
remains in school, fertility rates drop,
maternal mortalih declines, and family
income increases. As women acquire economic
capital, through microcredit programs or
agricultural extension services, women also
acquire the social status that helps them
become politically active. The benefits :ha t
derive from investments in women and
young girls are diverse enough to defy
precise reporting of Agency activities by
locale or sector.


Not every USAID effort has met with equal
success. The Agency has achieved laudable
progress in some sectors, notably education
and human rights. In others-the environ-
ment, for example-efforts to integrate gender
into project design and implementation have
proven more difficult. Even in these areas,
however, USAID is making progress. Agency
experts have recently completed two reports
that examine the connections linking natural
resource management, gender, and develop-
ment. These contributions to development
literature will help ensure that an awareness
of the importance of gender issues results in
more effective environmental programming.

No resource, for example, is more precious to
the poorest members of developing societies
than reliable access to clean water, and women
are the water gatherers in most developing
countries. So when USAID supports such
resource management efforts as the River
Basin Authority in Morocco, the Agency is
helping to do more than increase supplies of
fresh water, improve distribution to poorer
urban neighborhoods, and extend plumbing
systems to schools and other public buildings.
It is helping increase girls' attendance at
schools equipped with basic sanitation
facilities, for example. By relieving women and
young girls of the domestic responsibility of
hauling water, it is freeing their time for other
pursuits, such as gaining an education or
generating income. By including women in
local resource management decision making,
environmental programming helps women
acquire experience with and self-confidence in
public recognition.

In the Yammouneh area of Lebanon, USAID is
assisting conservative Muslim and Christian
women who make up 30 percent of the mem-
bership of community committees that oversee
irrigation projects and determine local water
management issues. For many of these women,
this is their first substantial role in helping set
the pace and determine the direction of their
community's development. The communities
gain a new appreciation for the experience
and judgment of these women committee
members, and the region as a whole enjoys
better access to more abundant supplies of
fresh water.

Gender in Post-Conflict

In every sector, however, the Agency can
continue improving the efficiency and effec-
tiveness of its efforts to make gender a central
focus of its activities. Changes within the
institution are creating new opportunities for
"mainstreaming gender." For example, in
1994, USAID launched the Office of Transition
Initiatives (OTI) to bridge the institutional gap
between short-term emergency humanitarian
relief and longer term development assistance.
OTI is concerned solely with the "complex
humanitarian emergencies" that arise with
the cessation of armed conflict. Not long
ago, these sorts of emergencies received as
little as 10 percent of USAID's disaster assis-
tance funding. Today, responding to these
circumstances-as dangerous as they are
desperate--consumes 90 percent of the
Agency's disaster budget.





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OTI works to help stabilize post-conflict
societies, almost while smoke still rises from
the battlefields. It helps establish temporary
shelter for families and individuals that have
fled war zones or that have returned to find
their homes destroyed. It assists in clearing
land mines, retraining de-mobilized troops,
and opening alternative media so no central
power can exert a monopoly over information.
Just as important are OTI's efforts to defuse
politically charged situations before latent
conflict erupts into open combat.

USAID is taking steps now to ensure that a
full appreciation of the importance of gender
informs the initiatives OTI undertakes. The
Women in Transition Initiative in Rwanda
from 1995 to 1999, for example, was the first
project to be organized by an international
donor designed specifically to deliver develop-
ment resources to women in such post-conflict
settings. Working in tandem with a national
network of women's groups, itself organized
with USAID support, this initiative provided
housing assistance, food assistance, skills
training, and microcredit so women could take
leadership roles in rebuilding the war-tor
country. The initiative has helped the women
of Rwanda defend their homes and their
homeland against the threat of incipient
civil war.

In Angola and Bosnia, Sri Lanka and Sierra
Leone, and nearly a dozen other countries, OTI
is working, and its activities present a unique
opportunity to help women participate in the
rebirth of their own countries. Sadly, there
is no shortage of such opportunities; as the

millennium dawns, much of the world is
cultivating an uncertain peace, and there is
every likelihood that more complex humani-
tarian emergencies will arise in the future.
But USAID will be better prepared to respond
because it is taking measures to ensure that
gender is an integral component of its relief
and development programming.

Global Transformations

The job of mainstreaming gender into USAID's
activities is occurring even as the Agency
contends with economic globalization and
the expansion of international trade relations.
USAID is working alongside women's non-
governmental organizations in many countries
to make sure that women benefit from the
economic and social opportunities that
accompany globalization.


The explosive growth of information techno-
logies carries the potential for transforming the
domestic and international relations of even
the most remote and least developed countries.
Will women share in the freedom that comes
with access to knowledge, or will they be left
on the far side of the digital divide?

The year prior to the Beijing conference saw
the release of USAID's Gender Plan ofAction, a
document that framed internal administrative
measures designed to promote greater atten-
tion to the effects of USAID activities on the
status of women in developing countries.
The Gender Plan of Action has succeeded,
within limits, in expanding the pool of tal-
ented professionals capable of communicating
the benefits to be gained from infusing gender
into development activities.

This pool of dedicated professionals is seeking
new opportunities to help women in develop-
ing countries help themselves. The A ?genc_
works with host country governments, other
donors, and, increasing: nongo'l\ rrnmental
organizations dedicated to women's issues.
And at every opportunity. the Agency learns
anew a truth as simple as it is powerful:
No country can hope to build a place for
itself in the modem world by ignoring the
needs and neglecting the resources of half of
its people.


Sources of Photographs:

Cover background image, cover middle, inside cover, and pages 1,
14 (inset), 16 (bottom), 18, 19, and 20 by Curt Camemark.
Cover top photo, pages 9, 10, 13, 14 (sidestrip), 17, 21 (bottom),
23, 25, and 26 courtesy of The Asia Foundation.
Cover photo (bottom) and page 27 courtesy of The Futures Group
Pages 2, 21, and 22 by Marcia Greenberg.

Pages 3, 4 (sidestrip), and 31 (top) courtesy of Academy for
Educational Development, LeamLink Project.

Page 4 (inset) by Liz Notman, courtesy of Front Lines.

Pages 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 29 (top and bottom) by Margo Young.
Page 12 by Angela Leal, courtesy of Front Lines.
Page 15 by John Snow.

Pages 16 (top), 24, and 31 (bottom) courtesty of Winrock

Page 28 by Lucien Rajaonina.

Page 30 by F. Botts, courtesy of FAO.

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