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
    Supporting Youth Employment through Cash Grants for Entrepreneurship: Findings from a Qualitative Study of the Perspectives and Experiences of Cash Grant Recipients under the Benin Youth Employment Project
    (Washington, DC, 2023-10-25) World Bank
    Benin’s labor market is characterized by a high participation rate, but extensive informality and underemployment. Underemployment is even higher among youth and rural women. The labor market is also extremely segregated by gender. Under the Benin Youth Employment Project(PEJ), closed in June 2019, the Government of Benin (GoB) successfully piloted a gender sensitive economic inclusion program. In addition to a comprehensive package of services, the project included services and operational processes to maximize female participation. The PEJ focused on helping youth start or expand their income-generating activities by delivering business and life skills training and cash grants. The life skills modules focused on communication, problem solving, gender and empowerment, aspirations, and initiative. An impact evaluation of PEJ, conducted by the World Bank’s Gender Innovation Lab (GIL), was designed to measure the impact of these components alone and in combination. One group of participants received both interventions, one group only the training, one group only the cash grant, and a control group received neither. The ambition was to evaluate the relative impacts of relaxing the financial capital constraint, the human capital constraint, and both simultaneously. The purpose of the study was to investigate the mechanisms of impact of the cash grants by gathering grant recipients’ perspectives on the support they received. The research questions and methodology are described in this report.
  • Publication
    Gender Gaps in Agriculture Productivity and Public Spending in Nigeria
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-09-25) World Bank
    Women farmers produce 30 percent less per hectare than their male counterparts. Among various factors, there are three key drivers of gender gaps in agriculture productivity in Nigeria: women use fewer inputs and have limited participation in extension services, farm less-valuable crops, and hire less productive labor. The four value chains receiving the largest budget allocations are among those with the lowest participation of women farmers. These gaps can be closed via adjustments at fundamental stages of budget allocation and policy formulation. This technical note aims to analyze the gender dimensions of participation, input distribution, and budget allocation across various crop value chains supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). Specifically, the underlying analysis aims to (i) examine women’s participation in the crop value chains for which FMARD provides input support; (ii) quantify the gender gaps in agricultural input use, extension services, and labor productivity; (iii) examine women’s participation and inputs use against budget allocations; and (iv) thereby, formulate recommendations for increasing fiscal space and investments to close the agricultural gender productivity gaps in Nigeria.
  • Publication
    Locking Crops to Unlock Investment: Experimental Evidence on Warrantage in Burkina Faso
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-09-30) World Bank
    Smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa face an array of challenges to realizing higher profits from their agricultural activities, including lack of adequate storage facilities and credit market imperfections. To address these constraints, warrantage, an innovative inventory credit system, offers farmers the opportunity to both store their crop production and access credit simultaneously. In a study in Burkina Faso, a research team worked with 38 villages to look at the impacts of warrantage on a variety of household and agricultural outcomes when given access to storage warehouses in close proximity villages. With additional cash on hand from increased revenues, households with access to the warrantage scheme invested more in education, increased their livestock holdings, and invested more in agricultural inputs for the following year. No impacts were found on food expenditures or on food security indicators. These findings suggest that warrantage systems, when established through trusted community institutions, can positively influence household incomes and farmers’ investment behavior.
  • 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
    Policy Solutions to Close Gender Gaps in the Agriculture Sector in Nigeria
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) World Bank
    Substantial gender gaps exist in labor force participation and productivity in the agriculture sector in Nigeria. Closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could lead to sizable gains in the Nigerian economy, boosting gross domestic product. Key factors driving the gender gaps in agriculture include women farmers’ limited use of farm inputs, choice of lowvalue crops, and lower productivity of hired labor. To successfully close gender gaps, policy makers not only need a detailed account of what drives these gaps, but also a rigorous evidence base on cost-effective policy options. This brief offers guidance on interventions that could be adopted to address the underlying constraints faced by women farmers in Nigeria. These recommendations could also meaningfully inform the framework and implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture.
  • Publication
    Assessing the Damage: Early Evidence on Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on Girls and Women in Africa
    (Washington, DC, 2022-04) World Bank
    At the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was global concern about the negative indirect impacts the crisis would have on girls and women and their human capital. Two years into the crisis, this brief summarizes the evidence to date on how the prediction of a shadow crisis has played out in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The brief is intended as a call to action for policymakers, since available research sets off multiple alarm bells. It also proposes urgent policy responses. Evidence to date confirms that the COVID-19 crisis has had profound negative impacts on the education, health, employment and empowerment of girls and women including in SSA. Available data is still limited, but what is known to date suggests that we are seeing the tip of an iceberg. Many impacts will have long term repercussions for girls’ and women’s human capital. Decision makers are at a pivotal moment to invest now in women and girls, to neutralize immediate but also prolonged costs to individuals, societies and economies.
  • Publication
    Measuring Women’s Sense of Control and Efficacy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-08) World Bank
    Increasing women’s sense of control over their lives is key to reducing gender inequalities and improving development outcomes. Research suggests women tend to believe less in their abilities to act effectively towards their goals and they provide more importance than men to external factors determining their life events. Understanding the degree to which women perceive control over their lives is critical for designing and adapting policies to change limiting local norms. Social expectations about women’s unpaid care roles impose severe constraints on women’s well-being and livelihoods and are, thus, integrally linked to women’s agency. Yet, this linkage is not well defined in recent measures of women’s empowerment, which tend to incorporate time use only in terms of time poverty or having an excessive workload. This brief summarizes existing knowledge gaps in the three key measurement areas and lays out how the measures for advancing gender equality (MAGNET) initiative plans to tackle them.
  • Publication
    Measuring Women’s Goal Setting and Decision-Making
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-08) World Bank
    Improving women’s agency is crucial for advancing gender equality. Less than half of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia participate in making decisions over their own health care, major household purchases, and visiting their families. Improving women’s ability to define goals and act on them is an important - and urgent - policy goal. Yet the understanding of how to achieve this goal is hampered by the lack of adequate measurement tools and recognized best practices. Research is needed to broaden and deepen the measurement of women’s goal setting and decision-making, both within and outside the household. This brief summarizes existing knowledge gaps in the two measurement areas and lays out how the measures for advancing gender equality (MAGNET) initiative plans to tackle them.
  • Publication
    Measuring Women’s Control Over Assets
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-08) World Bank
    Gender inequalities in the ownership, control, and use of assets are a widespread and pervasive development challenge. Persistent gender gaps remain in women’s access to land, housing, and financial assets. Expanding women’s control over assets is key not only for improving gender equality, but also for promoting economic development and wellbeing. Researchers and policymakers have made important progress addressing many of the challenges posed by the heterogenous conceptualization of asset ownership across contexts. But knowledge gaps persist regarding the extent of women’s ownership and rights over assets, the nature and implications of gender differences in reporting data on property rights, and the best practices for questionnaire design and data collection protocols. This brief summarizes existing knowledge gaps in the three key measurement areas and lays out how the measures for advancing gender equality (MAGNET) initiative plans to tackle them. The ultimate goal is to generate rigorous empirical evidence to advise on the best tools to measure and analyze women’s control over assets.
  • Publication
    Supporting Women Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Response and Economic Recovery
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04) World Bank
    This brief highlight evidence from the Africa gender innovation lab and other promising research on mechanisms that can help protect the lives and livelihoods of women and girls - at the household level, in firms and farms, and during adolescence - in the context of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.