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Findings from a WE-Care project final evaluation: January 2020

Research report

Written by Carmen Leon-Himmelstine, Heiner Salomon

Research report

The overall objective of the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care (WE-Care) project was to support women and girls to have more choice and agency over how they spend their time, giving them the ability to engage in social, personal, economic and political activities. This final evaluation has two main objectives:

  1. to understand whether change happened as a result of WE-Care programme interventions and, if so,
  2. how it happened in light of the different ‘pathways of change’ identified by the project’s ‘theory of change’.

We found evidence that, following two years of implementing WE-Care activities, the project was successful both in reducing women’s time spent on care tasks and in promoting recognition of unpaid care in policies at local level. It also made considerable, although uneven, progress towards more gender-equitable distribution of care work, contributing towards shifting norms and behaviour around both unpaid care and domestic work (UCDW). These findings suggest that new water infrastructure seems to have had a direct effect on some UCDW tasks. However, norms activities need to be implemented over a longer time frame and with greater frequency to achieve a stronger effect on reducing women’s hours of care work. 

Key message

  • The combined implementation of new water infrastructure, time- and labour-saving equipment, and social norms activities reduces UCDW among women and girls, and redistributes UCDW between men and women, as men are also motivated to participate.

The Overseas Development Institute was commissioned by Oxfam GB, Unilever and the Surf laundry brand to conduct this final evaluation of the Work your Dreams project – the largest component of the WE-Care programme.

Carmen Leon-Himmelstine and Heiner Salomon, with Andrea Azevedo, Dr Fortunate Machingura, Kristine Valerio and Judy Ann Lubiano