The Kawolor Project Puts Decision-Making Power in the Hands of Local Women
The Feed the Future Senegal Kawolor project places women at the heart of nutrition and food security interventions in Senegal. Women play an important role in agriculture and in food production, representing 43% of the agricultural workforce, on average. However, they are more affected than men by hunger. Women are economically and socially disadvantaged because men still make many domestic and community decisions. They also have poor access to land, material and financial resources. Aware of the central role of women in the overall management of the household, the Kawolor project implements various initiatives to remove obstacles that may hinder women’s participation. These initiatives encourage women’s voices in decision-making, particularly in improving nutrition and food security within families. Within the framework of the project’s gender component, two strategies for promoting good gender practices have been put forward, including:
- The Essamay strategy, where men recognize and support women in reproductive and productive activities aimed at lightening their domestic workloads.
- The Nurturing connection strategy aims to strengthen gender equality in nutrition programs by transforming community norms through a participatory approach with the involvement of men, decision-makers and influential people at the household and village level.
Through these two strategies, Kawolor carried out interventions capable of strengthening women’s decision-making power within their households and removing sociocultural barriers negatively impacting the development of women in healthcare and business management.
Results of the 2020 annual survey compared to the 2018 baseline survey data
The results of the Kawolor 2020 annual survey carried out in 52 first generation municipalities showed a very satisfactory increase in the percentage of households where women actively participate in decision-making, including the use of family income and children’s health, diet and proper nutrition of family members. The data showed:
- Participation of women in decision-making concerning children’s health: 69.3% of women participated in the households targeted during the baseline survey carried out in 2018. In 2020, the annual survey showed 93.6% of women participating in children’s health decisions in the same municipalities, increasing by 24.3% compared to the baseline survey.
- Participation of women in decision-making concerning food and good nutrition for family members: 86.8% in the annual survey carried out in 2020 versus 70.3% in the baseline survey in 2018 in the same municipalities; an increase of 16.5% that the project intends to maintain by the end.
- Participation of women in decision-making concerning the use of family income: 51.7% of women participated during the baseline survey carried out in 2018 in the first generation municipalities. In 2020, 53.1% of women were participating in the same towns.
This great leap forward is a result of various awareness-raising trainings and advocacy activities between 2018 and 2020. These have made it possible to strengthen the power of women in decision-making concerning health, food, nutrition and the use of family income within the household. The project worked with couples to create safe spaces where women could share their views on existing inequalities, express their desire to influence food security, and fight malnutrition within the household. Furthermore, Kawolor focused on developing women’s skills in communication and advocacy techniques, assertiveness and household problem-solving mechanisms. Finally, the project carried out a range of crucial communication activities, strengthening women’s leadership and negotiating decision-making power within the couple.