Initiative Result:

Evidence-based program-design decisions can foster women’s participation in sustainable land-management interventions in Ethiopia

Through a long-standing collaboration with World Vision International (WVI) in Ethiopia, the Gender Equality Initiative is partnering on the second phase of research on a graduation model social-protection program in Ethiopia. The Initiative’s researchers, led by IFPRI, organized a formative study on strategies to improve women’s involvement in sustainable land-management activities that can help mitigate their climate risk. The formative study results will help inform how the implementing and scaling partner, WVI, designs sustainable land-management activities for their future programming. 

Effective partnerships between research and implementation teams play a crucial role in developing high-quality research, providing evidence to improve programs for better outcomes.  

This is well illustrated through our long-standing collaboration with WVI in Ethiopia, where the Gender Equality Initiative’s researchers have contributed to the evidence base on how multi-sectoral graduation model social-protection programs can reduce poverty, improve livelihoods and well-being, and strengthen women’s and youth empowerment. 

The Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in Ethiopia is the country’s flagship social safety-net program, providing seasonal food and cash transfers to poor households directly or after the people participate in public works projects. The Strengthen PSNP4 Institutions and Resilience (SPIR) Development Food Security Activity in Ethiopia was a five-year program (2016–2021) led by WVI that supported implementation of the fourth phase of PSNP. In addition, SPIR provided additional multi-sectoral ‘graduation model’ programming focused on improving livelihoods, nutrition outcomes, women’s and youth empowerment, and climate resilience. IFPRI — under the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets — was the lead research partner for SPIR and conducted the program’s impact evaluation. 

“This mutually beneficial relationship will serve to generate evidence on gender dimensions of climate-related shocks and evaluate promising gender-sensitive adaptation strategies. The evidence generated through this collaboration will inform the implementation of the SPIR II project and future graduation model social-protection programs in similar contexts.”Michael Mulford, Chief of Party of SPIR II, WVI Ethiopia

As a follow-on to SPIR, the SPIR II Resilience Food Security Activity was officially launched in late 2021 as a five-year program funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by WVI (see reference 2). This program supports implementation of the fifth phase of the PSNP in the Amhara and Oromia regions, and includes renewed targeting focused on the extreme poor. SPIR II has the same core complementary programming delivered under SPIR, but with many revamped approaches — particularly relating to improving maternal and child nutrition, and improving women’s capacity to mitigate climate-related risks. Based on the successful past collaboration and the strength of the SPIR evaluation, WVI asked the Gender Equality Initiative, through IFPRI, to join SPIR II as a learning partner. 

In 2022, the collaboration continued, and Gender Equality Initiative’s researchers provided evidence on how social-protection programs could be designed to increase women’s participation in sustainable land-management practices. The Initiative’s researchers worked with WVI to design and evaluate an intervention to increase women’s participation in these practices, and strengthen their resilience to climate-related shocks. We conducted a formative qualitative study on gender and participation in sustainable land-management practices under SPIR II. The key findings included understanding households’ adoption of the practices, barriers to women’s participation, and the potential for scaling up income generation through those activities (see reference 3). For example, the study suggests that fruit-tree cultivation and composting are promising sustainable land-management technologies, but that high labor requirements are an obstacle to women using them. 

Going forward, WVI wants to use the evidence the Initiative generated to inform its future programming. These findings will ground the approach taken by WVI, so that they can make evidence-based decisions and design interventions that maximize the benefits of sustainable land-management public works activities for women (see reference 4). These activities will be administered as part of the SPIR initiative and will be extended initially to over 2,000 households, with plans for potential future scaling up. It is expected that this new intervention, designed using the findings of our formative study, will lead to sustainable outcomes that will help improve the well-being of Ethiopian communities in the future. 

  1. Alderman, Harold; Billings, Lucy; Gilligan, Daniel O.; Hidrobo, Melissa; Leight, Jessica; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum; and Tambet, Heleene. 2021. Impact evaluation of the strengthen PSNP4 institutions and resilience (SPIR) development food security activity (DFSA): Endline report.
  2. World Vision International. 2022. World Vision and partners launch Strengthening PSNP institutions and resilience programme.
  3. Gilligan, Daniel O.; Leight, Jessica; Tambet, Heleene; and Tefera, M. 2022. Key findings: Gender and participation in sustainable land management. Presentation.
  4. Key Result 2980: Letter of Support sent from Michael Mulford, Chief of Party of SPIR II, World Vision Ethiopia, to Leadership Team of CGIAR Initiative on Gender Equality 


Header image: HDA Leader Genete is conducting a counseling visit for 34-year old mother Obsse, pictured here with her seven-month-old child. During the discussion, Genete uses stories to identify the barriers and help Obsse think through practical ways for her to practice the intended behaviors, in this case the preparation and provision of nutrient-rich complementary foods for her child. Photo by Michael Mulford/World Vision Ethiopia  

CGIAR Centers

CGIAR Centers contributing to this result: IFPRI. 


This result was made possible by our valued partners: Dadimos Development Consultants PLC (Mulugeta Tefera); World Vision International – Ethiopia (Michael Mulford).