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Six new projects that promote women's empowerment in West Africa

Six research projects aim to rebuild post-COVID-19 socio-economic systems in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal in a way that allows women to contribute fully. The projects accomplish this by reducing the burden of unpaid domestic work.
A woman carrying a baby on her back sells fish in Yoff, Senegal
Sandro Bozzolo

Selected following an open call for proposals, the projects fall under two themes:

  • technologies and innovations that reduce and redistribute unpaid domestic care work
  • childcare services for different categories of women and opportunities for scaling

Over the next 36 months, these projects will help produce reliable and locally relevant evidence on these themes.

Here is an overview of the six projects:

This project will contribute to the widespread use of cleaner and more energy-efficient cooking technologies in Senegal. The aim is to reduce not only women's unpaid workload, but also the household carbon footprint, while generating economic opportunities for women involved in the commercialization of these new technologies.

Led by Université Gaston Berger in Senegal in collaboration with Senegalese and American partners.

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This project will contribute to the widespread adoption of the improved Guev Cooker stove by adapting the technology and analyzing the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the stove’s use in Benin. This research project will involve stove users as well as local experts and policy-makers.

Led by the Université d’Abomey-Calavi in collaboration with partners such as the Ministry of the Living Environment and Sustainable Development in Benin.

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This project will contribute to the promotion of sustainable and environmentally friendly enterprises by promoting the largescale adoption of solar cooker technology in the mangrove regions of Benin. Women will use the cookers for the three main activities they carry out to generate income in this region: salt production, fish smoking, and compost production for market gardening.

Led by the Université d’Abomey-Calavi in collaboration with partners in Benin.

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This project will give an overview of the state of childcare services in Senegal, while documenting the impact that the availability of universal childcare could have on women's economic empowerment. The goal is to design a plan to scale up relevant childcare models through appropriate policies and programs.

Led by the Consortium pour la Recherche Économique et Sociale in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Women, Families and Children in Senegal.

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To address low access to preschool education, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire have invested in the establishment of early childhood socio-educational centres in disadvantaged communities. This project will examine the effects of the initiatives and the prospects for scaling them up to help reduce unpaid work for women.

Led by the Economic Policy Analysis Unit of the Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Économiques et Sociales in collaboration with partners in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire’s Ministry of Women, Family and Children.

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This project will analyze the impact of economic growth on childcare needs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal. Researchers will document how improving the supply of these services affects the unpaid domestic workload of middle-class women. The goal is to improve the provision of childcare services in a way that meets the specific needs of these women, thus enabling them to take better advantage of the professional and personal development opportunities available to them.

Led by the Université Amadou Mahtar Mbow in Senegal in collaboration with universities and ministries in the four target countries.

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This cohort of projects is intended to be a continuation of the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) initiative in West Africa. Using a transformative and intersectional approach to action research, it focuses on the status of women as determined by the social norms and power dynamics that shape their choices and opportunities.

These projects in West Africa add to the GrOW – East Africa initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC, which has a broader thematic scope.