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WEAI Data Goes Public

Last year we launched an innovative tool to measure women’s empowerment in agriculture. Last month, we celebrated its one-year anniversary. This month, we’re highlighting how you, yes you, can access data from the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index and the tool itself.

First, some quick background—the WEAI tracks women’s engagement in agriculture in five areas: production, resources, income, leadership, and time use. Developed by USAID, the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, the WEAI is the first tool of its kind to measure women’s empowerment in agriculture relative to men in their households.

Feed the Future uses the WEAI to measure the impact of our programs and to identify constraints to women’s empowerment and engagement in agriculture. As a diagnostic tool, the WEAI helps us strategize about what interventions can best help women make gains in those constrained areas.  Beyond Feed the Future, we’ve worked to make the WEAI a tool that the broader development community and partner nations can use.

This week, you may be hearing a lot about open data thanks to the G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. Open data is important to help achieve Feed the Future’s goals, including our goal of empowering women in agriculture. By making Feed the Future data sets, like those from the WEAI, available to the public, we enable collaboration among data users and others that can spur innovation toward our goals.

Already, by releasing materials on the WEAI as soon as it was finalized, we’ve seen several development partners adopting the WEAI or its components for monitoring and evaluation:

  • Partners like Michigan State University and CARE Australia have included the WEAI in their monitoring of development programs.
  • The International Livestock Research Institute used an adapted version of the WEAI, adding in livelihood and rights indicators, to measure the impacts of livestock microcredit and value chain projects on women’s empowerment.
  • And CARE USA is using an adaptation of the WEAI to measure changes in women’s empowerment in six countries (Ghana, Malawi, Mali, India, Bangladesh and Tanzania) in their Pathways to Empowerment in Agriculture program.

Now it’s your turn. This week as the G8 holds its conference on open data for agriculture, we’re highlighting anew what is out there on the WEAI for you to use:

  • The WEAI brochure provides an overview of the tool and how we use it.
  • The WEAI survey instruments provide pilot questionnaires and manuals and the WEAI module of the Feed the Future population-based surveys.
  • The WEAI instructional guide assists you in using the tool, pointing out critical considerations and best practices.
  • The WEAI discussion paper provides insight on how we developed the WEAI and presents pilot study data.
  • The WEAI data sets from our pilot studies in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Uganda.
  • A “think piece” on the uses of the WEAI, by Ruth Meinzen-Dick.

You can also click on over to the International Food Policy and Research Institute’s website to explore the WEAI Resource Center for these items and more.

And, speaking of population-based surveys, don’t miss out on the data we just released from Feed the Future household surveys in Bangladesh and Ghana. Over the past year, we’ve collected data for the WEAI through these surveys and the full WEAI modules for Bangladesh and Ghana are available.

Check back for more data sets, including more WEAI modules, as we will continue to publish data that can be used to improve food security and women’s empowerment.

Are you using the WEAI or data from it? We’d like to hear from you. Send us your comments on Agrilinks or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

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