Development of the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI)

IFPRI Discussion Paper

In this paper, the authors describe the adaptation and validation of a project-level WEAI (or pro-WEAI) that agricultural development projects can use to identify key areas of women’s (and men’s) disempowerment, design appropriate strategies to address identified deficiencies, and monitor project outcomes related to women’s empowerment. The 12 pro-WEAI indicators are mapped to three domains: intrinsic agency (power within), instrumental agency (power to), and collective agency (power with). A gender parity index compares the empowerment scores of men and women in the same household. The authors describe the development of pro-WEAI, including: (1) pro-WEAI’s distinctiveness from other versions of the WEAI; (2) the process of piloting pro-WEAI in 13 agricultural development projects during the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project, phase 2 (GAAP2); (3) analysis of quantitative data from the GAAP2 projects, including intrahousehold patterns of empowerment; and (4) a summary of the findings from the qualitative work exploring concepts of women’s empowerment in the project sites. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons learned from pro-WEAI and possibilities for further development of empowerment metrics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Intl Food Policy Res Inst
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Published on
Jan 18, 2019
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Pages
68
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Agriculture & Food Policy
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
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This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Although overall chemical fertilizer use has grown steadily in Nepal in the past two decades, much of that growth has occurred in the Terai agroecological belt while use has stagnated in the Hills and the Mountains regions. Differences in chemical fertilizer use intensity between the Terai and the latter regions are typically pronounced among medium-to-large-size farmers. Using three rounds of the Nepal Living Standards Survey as well as secondary data, we examine the determinants of inorganic fertilizer (urea and DAP) use, as well as the marginal income returns from fertilizer use at the farm-household level. Similarities in soil and climate between farm locale and Agriculture Research Station locale seem to increase demand for fertilizer—even after controlling for distance to those stations. Most important, demand for chemical fertilizer is affected by the real fertilizer price (particularly since the 2003 NLSS survey), but the price response is relatively weaker in the Hills and Mountains, suggesting that returns to fertilizer may be generally low in those regions, and that reducing fertilizer price through subsidies on fertilizer or transportation may not substantially increase fertilizer use. This is confirmed by assessment of the returns to chemical fertilizer use estimated through generalized propensity score matching and ordinary propensity score matching. The findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of fertilizer subsidies as an instrument for stimulating chemical fertilizer use in Nepal, particularly among medium-to-large-scale farmers in the Hills, and point toward alternative measures like increased research and development into technologies that raise overall returns to chemical fertilizer.
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The fifth Sustainable Development Goal—to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”—reflects a growing consensus that these are key objectives of development policy in their own right, while also contributing to improved productivity and increased efficiency, especially in agriculture and food production. To deliver on this commitment to women’s empowerment in development calls for appropriate measures that can be used to diagnose the scope and major sources of disempowerment and to measure progress. The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is a survey-based tool codeveloped by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (Alkire et al. 2013). The index was originally designed as a monitoring and evaluation tool for the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative to directly capture women’s empowerment and inclusion levels in the agricultural sector. Since its launch in February 2012, the WEAI has been implemented in the 19 Feed the Future focus countries. As with any new metric, pilot testing in a few selected countries with limited sample sizes is insufficient to demonstrate how the WEAI would perform when rolled out on a wider scale. Concerns expressed by users of the WEAI led to the creation of an abbreviated version—the A-WEAI. This paper begins by presenting a brief overview of the WEAI and its construction. It then proceeds to discuss (1) the background and motivation behind the creation of the A-WEAI; (2) the steps taken to develop the AWEAI— namely, cognitive testing and piloting of different modules, particularly those that were difficult to administer in the field; (3) analysis of the pilot data from Bangladesh and Uganda; (4) domain-specific comparisons of the different pilot versions; and (5) robustness checks and empowerment diagnostics from the A-WEAI as compared with the original WEAI. The paper concludes by summarizing the modifications to the original WEAI and discussing possibilities for further development of empowerment metrics based on the WEAI.
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