5 Minutes of Inspiration: Want to triple the number of households with diverse incomes? Get men to trust their wives.

By Team: Authors 22nd Nov 2016
A woman participant in CARE's WE-RISE programme in Ethiopia A woman participant in CARE's WE-RISE programme in Ethiopia

More diverse income, higher household assets, and more women's access to inputs. Find out how.

The WE-RISE programme (Women’s Empowerment: Improving Resilience, Income and Food Security) in Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia more than tripled the number of households that had more diverse – and therefore more resilient – incomes in Ethiopia. Tanzania more than doubled the number of empowered women in the programme. How did they do it? Getting men to trust their wives.

At the beginning of the project, men in Malawi said that women who had income must be getting it illicitly from other men – now they know that women are making great contributions to the family through their work and savings.

Working with SOS Sahel and the Mponela AIDS Information Center, with the generous support of the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme, WE-RISE worked in three countries from 2013-2016 to improve food security, resilience, and women’s empowerment.

What did we accomplish?

  • Greater access to food for women: Women in Ethiopia saw their access to food in the household go up by 32% – achieving equality with men.
  • Diversified incomes: Ethiopia tripled the number of families with access to diverse income sources, and Malawi saw a 43% increase in the number of families with non-agricultural income.
  • More empowered women: In Tanzania, the women’s empowerment index rose by 37%. There was a 91% increase in women’s self-confidence, and a 56% increase in access to household decision-making.
  • More women leaders: In Malawi, there was a 33% increase in women leaders across all groups. Malawian women were 63% more confident to speak up about gender in public forums.

How did we get there?

  • Build and strengthen collectives: WE-RISE worked with groups – especially VSLAs – to roll out the interventions targeting 26,287 households.
  • Get women access to resources: The project more than tripled women’s access to extension in Malawi. In Ethiopia, women doubled their access to and control over loans. In Tanzania, women more than doubled their access to agricultural inputs.
  • Improve agricultural practice: In Tanzania, the number of farmers using adaptive practices more than doubled, the number using improved agricultural practice more than tripled.
  • Target the most vulnerable: In Tanzania, the project specifically selected the hardest to reach, least gender equitable areas to give the poorest people a chance to benefit from project activities.

Want to learn more?

Check out the Global Final Evaluation. Or look at specific reports from Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Results varied a lot by country, and El Niño was a significant underlying factor in some of them. So take a look at the individual results to see where there was progress and where we struggled.

Emily Janoch

Emily Janoch is Senior Technical Advisor on Knowledge Management for the CARE USA Food and Nutrition Security team focusing on ways to better learn from and share practical experience on eradicating poverty through empowering women and girls. She focuses on learning from programming and using that learning to improve impact.

With four years of on-the-ground experience in West Africa, 10 years of development experience, and academic publications on community engagement and the human element in food security in Africa, Emily is especially interested in community-led development. She has experience in food security, nutrition, health, governance, and gender programming, and has a BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago, and a Masters' in Public Policy in International and Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Email: ejanoch@care.org