Latest: POWER project participating in 16 Days of Activism events: see photos on VAW page

Latest: Launch of new policy brief on women's economic empowerment and Unpaid Care Work (South Asia) took place in Bangladesh

Latest: 'Will a man cook. It is a job of a woman'; new case study from Bangladesh See Unpaid Care work page

Women smallholder farmers demanding their rights at national women farmers convention in Bangladesh. PHOTO: NOORE JANNAT PROMA/ACTIONAID

The POWER project: Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment and Rights

Women’s Economic Empowerment: an integrated approach

ActionAid’s POWER project is working through local partners to mobilise and organise rural women to raise awareness of and claim their rights, as farmers and carers. It is doing this by addressing Unpaid Care Work and, at the same time, by increasing productivity and access to markets through the practice of Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture. It also addresses Violence Against Women as a cross-cutting issue.

Women’s Economic Empowerment: an integrated approach
Speakers at the POWER project launch event in Ghana.
PHOTO: DEBORAH LOMOTEY/ACTIONAID
The POWER project is also working with others to ensure an environment that better supports women’s economic empowerment and ensure that the voices of women in the rural communities can be heard.
Rwanda
Ghana
Bangladesh
Pakistan

Rwanda

In Rwanda 64% of parliamentarians are women, gender rights are enshrined in its constitution, and a number of different laws have given women the right to inherit land, share the assets of a marriage and obtain credit. However the uptake of policies has been limited due to underlying structural barriers: the patriarchal system and traditional cultural attitudes and behaviours that marginalise women, cultures and attitudes towards girls in schools as well as limited resources to implement existing policies. The main problems include women’s burden of unpaid care work, violence against women, extreme poverty in rural areas, particularly for women and low women active participation in decision making at all levels. Limited gender equality and women’s rights skills among service providers, limited access to finance, poor value chains and limited access to markets, climate change and variability effects, farmland scarcity, infertility and inadequate agricultural inputs all contribute to these problems. ActionAid Ghana is working with three local partners to implement the POWER project activities: Faith Victory Association, Duhozanye Organization and Tubibe Amahoro. For more detail click here to read the baseline report from Rwanda, and also see the different pages of this website to hear voices from rural women in Rwanda.

Ghana

Ghana has recognised the importance of gender inequality in many different ways but challenges still remain. Ghana ranks high for climate vulnerability on the ND GAIN (University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative) Country Index and Global Climate Risk Index and one in three women is affected by some form of gender based violence. There are however good opportunities to work with others to address gender inequality, which persist in the country due to deep seated traditions, customs and attitudes. ActionAid Ghana are working with six local partners to implement the POWER project activities: SONGTABA, BONATADU, Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD), Global Action for Women Empowerment (GLOWA),Social Development and Improvement Agency (SODIA). For more detail click here to read the baseline report from Ghana, and also see the different pages of this website to hear voices from rural women in Ghana.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh has consistently shown improvement in the human development index, however, economic participation for women in Bangladesh remains very low. Low education levels and illiteracy, lack of skills for alternative income generation and livelihood opportunities and the burden of unpaid care work – on an average 6.2 hours per day – continue to exclude women from productive activities. Discriminatory practices like child marriage, abandonment, dowry, and Violence Against Women persist largely due to practices rooted in the traditional social norms that favour boys over girls. Violence takes place at home, in the workplace and also in public spaces. There are policies and laws in place and much progress to report in some areas but gaps still remain. The main opportunities for achieving women’s economic empowerment and contributing to gender equality in Bangladesh are: namely improving women farmers technical skill development on agriculture and non-agriculture production and practices using Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture, recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work, improving women’s skills in marketing and securing access to markets and preventing Violence Against Women. ActionAid Bangladesh are working with local partner SKS Foundation to implement the POWER project activities. For more detail see the different pages of this website to hear voices from rural women in Bangladesh.

Pakistan

Pakistan’s diverse population makes for a diversity of conditions and practices regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment, although the great majority of religious and socio-cultural norms favour men and marginalise women. Women are also subjected to extreme forms of physical, social, economic, emotional and psychological violence. Labour markets remain divided along gender lines. When women are employed in paid work, they are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the working poor. They also face significant wage differentials and experience discrimination in the labour market that further restricts their options for paid work. The Government of Pakistan is making some progress towards gender equality and has committed to address the gender gap and the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 is a positive example of this commitment. However challenges remain. Key gaps include poverty and lack of access to education among women, which result in women being unaware of their rights. ActionAid Pakistan are working with two local partners to implement the POWER project activities: Saibaan Development Organization and National Integrated Development Association-Pakistan (NIDA-Pakistan). See the different pages of this website to hear voices from rural women in Pakistan.

The POWER project is a five year initiative (2016-2020). Its overall objective is to increase the income, and the ability to control this income, of 21,000 rural women in Bangladesh, Ghana, Pakistan and Rwanda.
Action Aid
Women in Rwanda working in a potato plantation field belonging to their women’s cooperative to provide income for them. PHOTO: MARIA KAITESI/ACTIONAID
The POWER project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands through their Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) granting mechanism. The POWER project builds on the Women’s Rights Sustainable Livelihoods Project (2012-2015), also supported by a FLOW grant.

News and Events

Evidence from POWER project

The POWER project has a strong monitoring and evaluation component that will lead to quality data and information to inform our work. It is gathering evidence on an ongoing basis on the interlinked challenges for the women in the rural communities and on how they can best be overcome.
Women in Rwanda collecting and documenting their weekly savings collected under the Village Savings & Loan Association.
PHOTO: Samuel Ngendahimana

Baseline evidence

The purpose of this baseline study is to collect, analyse, and report information related to Unpaid Care Work and the introduction of Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA) techniques into the work practices of rural women in the different countries. The baseline study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. It was built on two analytical frameworks; the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), and the POWER program project indicator matrix.

Report from Rwanda Download
Report from Ghana Download
Report from Ghana (summary) Download

Newsletter and blogs

POWER Newsletter #1

Read about progress made so far in the four POWER countries and hear women’s voices from the communities POWER is working in.

How POWER contributes to ActionAid’s broader women’s rights work

ActionAid International’s Programme Manager for Women’s Rights – Korto Williams, talks about the challenges that the POWER project will be addressing and how it will contribute to broader women’s rights work.

The POWER project works with a large number of different
groups to achieve its aims:

  • Rural women and men
  • Women’s movements
  • Women Farmers’ networks, coalitions and groups
  • Farmers’ associations and movements
  • NGOs and broader civil society organisations and coalitions
  • Local authorities
  • Traditional and religious leaders
  • Government ministries
  • African Union
  • South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation
  • UN Agencies (FAO, UN Women, UNESCAP and others)
  • Donors (the POWER project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands)
Implementing partners

Ghana: SONGTABA, BONATADU, Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD), Global Action for Women Empowerment (GLOWA), Social Development and Improvement Agency (SODIA)
Rwanda: Faith Victory Association, Duhozanye Organization, Tubibe Amahoro
Bangladesh: SKS Foundation
Pakistan: Saibaan Development Organization, National Integrated Development Association (NIDA)

ActionAid Strategy 2028

The POWER project builds on ActionAid’s extensive programme and policy experiences in these thematic areas. As part of ActionAid’s global strategy: ‘Strategy 2028: Action for Global Justice’, the POWER project contributes to programme priority 1: address the structural causes of violence against women and girls and secure women’s economic justice; and programme priority 3: strengthen resilient livelihoods and secure climate justice.