Paper

Strategic Impact Inquiry on Women's Empowerment: Report of Year 1 (July 2004 - June 2005)

What are the impacts of CARE on women's empowerment?
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This report presents the findings from the first year of CARE's Strategic Impact Inquiry (SII) into women's empowerment. The SII is a multi-year evolutionary process, which seeks answers to three basic questions:

  • What are CARE's impacts on women's empowerment?
  • How do CARE's internal dynamics affect its impacts on women's empowerment?
  • What has CARE learned about doing global impact research?

The research found several positive impacts of CARE on women empowerment:

  • Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect;
  • Decision-making and family relations;
  • Mobility;
  • Collective identity and action;
  • Attribution.

It identified some unintended negative impacts:

  • CARE does not put nearly enough effort into supporting women's groups after they are set up;
  • There is too much emphasis on quantitative targets (numbers of groups formed) and a lack of monitoring systems which reveal:
    • The quality of activities,
    • The distribution of benefits.
  • CARE fails to address staff training needs around gender; this has a bad effect on its work for women's empowerment.

The document concludes with some of recommendations for future impact assessment:

  • Serious impact assessment can be expected to create difficulties;
  • Team composition, in terms of size, gender balance, needs to be worked out carefully;
  • CARE programs and projects need frequent reflections on their impacts on the underlying causes of poverty;
  • It is important to appreciate that the research process itself necessarily impacts on respondents and this has to be made as positive as possible.

About this Publication

By Mosedale, S. & CARE Impact Measurement and Learning Team
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