Africa Gender Innovation Lab

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The Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts impact evaluations of development interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets and agency. The GIL team is currently working on over 50 impact evaluations in 21 countries with the aim of building an evidence base with lessons for the region.

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  • Publication
    Household Demand and Community Perceptions of Community-Based Childcare
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-09) Brudevold-Newman, Andrew; Buehren, Niklas; Gebremedhin, Roman Tesfaye; Hailemicheal, Adiam Hagos; Ketema, Tigist Assefa
    Women in Ethiopia bear a disproportionate burden of childcare responsibilities, spending approximately eight times the amount of time that men do on childcare. Childcare duties, while critical to the development of the child, could be holding back the earning potential of women and households, ultimately diminishing household income and poverty reduction efforts. In a study in the Amhara region, we explore the demand for and social norms around external childcare services through a pilot intervention within the context of the Ethiopia Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP). We find that the demand for childcare centers in rural areas is high, and the perceptions around external childcare services are favorable. More than 95 percent of potential beneficiary households expressed an interest in sending their children to childcare centers and anticipated sending their children for 4.6 days/week on average. The objective of the study was to generate rigorous evidence on the impactsof providing rural childcare through the PSNP on individual and household outcomes.While the intervention and associated impact evaluation were suspended due to theconflict in Northern Ethiopia, the study provided valuable lessons on the demand for and social norms around external childcare services from a pre-program survey of 2,250 households in the study region and administrative attendance data on program use from the first months of implementation.
  • Publication
    Top Policy Lessons in Agriculture
    (Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank
    Across Africa, agriculture is a primary sector of employment, and African women provide about 40 percent of the agricultural labor across the continent. Yet women farmers face systemic barriers to success, leading to large gender gaps in agricultural productivity that range from 23 percent in Tanzania to 66 percent in Niger. These gender gaps not only represent major untapped economic potential but could also yield sizable gains for African economies if they were closed. For instance, in Nigeria, closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could boost gross domestic product by an estimated US2.3 billion dollars and potentially as much as US8.1 billion dollars due to spillovers to other economic sectors. Several factors driving female farmers’ lower productivity are the time and bandwidth taxes from care and household responsibilities, limited access to and control of hired labor and other productive inputs, skills and information gaps, low financial liquidity, and restrictive social norms. Over 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poor, who are some of the most vulnerable to shocks, are engaged in agriculture. In the face of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and global price shocks, that can exacerbate food insecurity, women farmers need targeted support and access to productive inputs that can secure their livelihoods and mitigate existing gender inequalities. Impact evaluation evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab points toward policy solutions that can address many of these constraints and help women farmers reach their full potential.
  • Publication
    Fostering Gender-Transformative Change in Sustainable Forest Management: A Case Study of DGM Ghana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Canpolat, Ezgi; Shakirova, Meerim; McElhinny, Vince; Westerman, Kame; Cruz, Alli; Buppert, Theresa
    The US5.5 million dollars DGM Ghana country project focuses on strengthening knowledge and practices of targeted local communities in REDD+ processes and sustainable forest management. In implementation since 2018, with 212 subprojects either in implementation or completed, there are ample opportunities for detailed examination of specific subprojects. This can offer insight the issue of whether, and how, DGM projects are influencing women’s participation and leadership on the ground and provide some indication of the extent to which the project may be influencing broader social and gender norms at the community or regional level. This case study provides primary information to supplement and inform the DGM Gender Study, which seeks to analyze the contribution of the DGM project to promoting women’s economic achievement, access to and control over productive assets, voice, and agency. The US5.5 million dollars DGM Ghana country project focuses on strengthening knowledge and practices of targeted local communities in REDD+ processes and sustainable forest management. In implementation since 2018, with 212 subprojects either in implementation or completed, there are ample opportunities for detailed examination of specific subprojects. This can offer insight the issue of whether, and how, DGM projects are influencing women’s participation and leadership on the ground, and provide some indication of the extent to which the project may be influencing broader social and gender norms at the community or regional level. This case study provides primary information to supplement and inform the DGM Gender Study, which seeks to analyze the contribution of the DGM project to promoting women’s economic achievement, access to and control over productive assets, voice, and agency.
  • Publication
    Top Policy Lessons in Women's Property Rights
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-03) World Bank
    This policy brief summarizes top policy lessons from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab's work in securing property rights for women.
  • Publication
    Empowering Women Through Equal Land Rights: Experimental Evidence From Rural Uganda
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-04) Cherchi, Ludovica; Goldstein, Markus; Habyarimana, James; Montalvao, Joao; O'Sullivan, Michael; Udry, Chris; Gruver, Ariel
    Traditional customary land tenure systems often limit women’s land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.In an ongoing experiment in rural Uganda, we offered households fully-subsidized land titles and basic information about the benefits of land titling.Providing additional gender information and making the offer conditional on female co-tilting raised the take up of joint titles to about 76 percent and 89 percent, respectively, without dampening overall demand for titling.
  • Publication
    Can Job Training Decrease Women's Self-Defeating Biases? Experimental Evidence from Nigeria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-10) Croke, Kevin; Goldstein, Markus; Holla, Alaka
    Gender-based occupational segregation – where women are concentrated in low-paid or low-profit sectors – is a non-trivial source of the gender wage gap worldwide, accounting for as much as 50 percent of the gap in some countries (World Bank 2011). There is evidence that women's biases about their own potential can affect their performance and aspirations. Through an experiment in Nigeria, we found that an information and communications technology (ICT) training resulted in university graduates being 26 percent more likely to work in the ICT sector.
  • Publication
    Time and Money: A Study of Labor Constraints for Female Cotton Producers in Cote d'Ivoire
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-05) Carranza, Eliana; Donald, Aletheia; Jones, Rachel; Rouanet, Léa; Rouanet, Léa
    A gap between male and female farmers in agricultural production, both in terms of output and productivity, has been largely documented across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Africa Gender Innovation Lab has produced a body of evidence, including the Levelling the Field report and the Cost of the Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity report, that identified constraints women farmers face, determined the size and cost of the gap in agricultural productivity, and offered promising policy options and emerging new ideas to test. One of the key findings from the levelling the field report is that labor presents the main barrier to achieving gender equality in productivity. Across the six profiled African countries, authors observe a combination of women deploying fewer household male laborers on their plots, male laborers generating lower returns for female farmers relative to male farmers, and female farmers facing challenges in hiring effective outside labor. In this policy brief, we investigate and provide explanations for female farmers’ labor constraints through a mixed-methods study within the cotton sector of Côte d’Ivoire, as part of the Côte d’Ivoire Agriculture Sector Support Project’s efforts to increase female participation in cotton production. We first quantify the gender gap in labor usage, then look at the drivers of this gap and how they constrain women’s cotton production and productivity, and finally offer recommendations for policymakers. Several key policy considerations emerge based on our analysis, relating to labor financing and gender norms. Adopting solutions to ease female farmers’ labor constraints will not only increase their productivity, but also boost economic growth as an increasing share of the population becomes involved in the cultivation of higher-value crops.
  • Publication
    As Good as the Company They Keep?: Improving Farmers’ Social Networks
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Leonard, Kenneth; Vasilaky, Kathryn
    Extension services have a history of being relatively expensive and not always effective. At the same time, studies show that informal social networks can be very beneficial in helping increase productivity. In Uganda, the authors tested the value of informal social networks for women farmers by connecting the least-productive 30 percent to some of the most productive women farmers in their own villages. Results show significant gains in productivity indicating that the path to better outcomes is contained within their own community. Women learned the agricultural information at least as well in a network setting as in a more intensive, formal extension setting. On average, the social network intervention was less costly and more effectively targeted women and the least productive farmers than traditional extension services. By exploiting the power of social ties, social network interventions offer a lower-cost alternative to traditional agricultural training programs and can be particularly effective at improving the productivity of women. The results of the study featured in this brief are particularly relevant to policymakers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where productivity differentials still exist between males and females, and women are less frequently targeted for training.
  • Publication
    Intra-Household Dynamics and the Design of Social Protection Programs: The Case of Polygamous Households in North Burkina Faso
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Guilbert, Nathalie; Pierotti, Rachael
    A recent overview of World Bank social safety net programs and gender highlighted the need for greater consideration of intra-household dynamics in the design of social protection programs (Bardasi 2014). During program design, decisions have to be made about who to target, how much and how often to give cash transfers, and what measures should accompany cash transfers. These decisions become even more complex in the context of polygamous households. The conclusions above are meant to illustrate important links between intra-household dynamics and the design of cash transfer programs. As a preliminary study, this research did not capture the actual effects of cash transfers. It is important to remember that money received from the government in the form of a regular cash transfer may be treated differently than income from other sources. Additional research is planned that will measure differences in the use of cash transfers depending on the social protection program design.
  • Publication
    Securing Property Rights for Women and Men in Rural Benin
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) Goldstein, Markus; Kondylis, Florence; O'Sullivan, Michael; Selod, Harris
    Women in Sub-Saharan Africa are less likely than men to own land. They also use less land and have lower tenure security over the land that they use. This gap is costly in terms of lost productive output. The early results showed that improved tenure security through land demarcation increased long-term investments in cash crops and trees and erased the gender gap in land fallowing - a key soil fertility investment. It is important that interventions cover as much of a household’s landholdings as possible: the authors found that some women shifted their agricultural production to plots of land that did not benefit from demarcation so that they can guard these less secure and less productive plots. The rural land use plans (plans fonciers ruraux (PFR)) in Benin represent a more decentralized, low-cost approach to land rights formalization. The PFR program is innovative in its focus on the formalization of existing customary rights of individual landholders. The objectives of the program are to improve tenure security and stimulate agricultural investment in rural areas. The World Bank’s Africa gender innovation lab, in collaboration with researchers from the development research group and the Paris school of economics, set out to evaluate the PFR program’s impact through a randomized controlled trial. This study provides the first set of experimental evidence on the causal impact of a large-scale land formalization program.