The key intervention is the WfWI core integrated twelve-month training program. Throughout the core program, women learn about the value of their work in the family and local economy, basic business skills, health and hygiene practices, their role in decision-making, women’s rights, and the benefits of working together in a group for social and economic purposes. The training is delivered to groups of 25 women at a time. Participants also receive a monthly stipend ($10 USD). Additionally, women also choose a vocational track to be trained in to develop and pursue a strong income-generating occupational activity, and are provided with referrals for health and other financial services.
In addition, half of the women in the treatment arm have been randomly assigned to receive Men’s Engagement Programming (MEP). This will take the form of the woman’s male spouse, partner, or other household member participating in 4 months of men’s discussion groups. In these groups, men will discuss topics including women’s economic empowerment, domestic violence, women’s health, and more. Couples who are identified to be at high risk for domestic violence will receive an additional 4 facilitated discussion sessions where both husband and wife are present.
2000 women were screened and identified as as eligible for WfWI programming following normal programmatic protocols, with additional women screened to be replacements. Specifically, the WfWI M&E team members go to the pre-identified local communities and explain the program and criteria to the local chiefs (socially and economically marginalized women, aged 18-55), who draw up a list of potential women in their villages and communities. The women are then individually screened by the WfWI’s M&E team on eligibility criteria which determine their social and/or economic vulnerabilities (e.g. husband passed away, single earner in household, unable to afford school fees for children). Women are then given an explanation of the program and asked to consider the commitment to participate fully and actively in all aspects of the program for a full year, work to earn an income, and save a portion of the cash stipend. In addition to meeting the inclusion criteria, and a willingness to participate in the program, the women must be receiving support from their family to attend the training, demonstrate their ability to participate in the programming without interference from a spouse and/or family, and be of adequate health to attend the 12-month training program. The women were from the following communities in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo: Kamanyola, Nyangezi, Mumosho, and Ciheraoni-Luciga
The 2000 women then received the baseline survey, which took place from July 23 to August 16, 2017. 1000 of these women were then selected to receive treatment. We grouped the 2000 eligible into 80 clusters of 25 and assigned to a control (C) and treatment group (T) in equal proportions. Then, among the 40 clusters assigned to treatment, we cross-randomized 20 of these clusters into the MEP group.