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Evaluating the impact of holistic participatory programs on reducing and redistributing unpaid care work among women in Rwanda

In Rwanda, a local organization is implementing an initiative using a holistic and participatory approach to address systemic barriers faced by rural women. The approach includes empowering and sensitizing women’s groups about the burden of unpaid care work, implementing time-use charts to track the time that women and men spend on different activities, providing improved access to water points and cooking stoves to save time, and sensitizing communities to break deeply ingrained societal beliefs that place the burden of unpaid care work on women. Assessments to date indicate that this initiative has been effective and holds promise for reducing and redistributing unpaid work in Rwanda. However, the potential for replication and scale-up, as well as the program innovations needed to enhance its effectiveness, need to be tested.

This project will use an experimental design to test scalability and program effectiveness. It will also assess the extent to which benefits can be sustained in the short, medium, and long-term to break ingrained beliefs and power relations that promote gender inequality and the persistence of the unpaid care work burden among women. The research team will actively engage with key policy actors to ensure the work informs actions to build back in a more gender-inclusive manner in the response to COVID-19.

This project is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) East Africa initiative, jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. GrOW East Africa seeks to spur transformative change to advance gender equality in the world of work.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Annet Abenakyo Mulema
Total Funding
CA$ 690,100.00
GrOW—East Africa
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dickson Malunda
Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda)