Does Addressing Gender Inequalities and Empowering Women Improve Development Program Outcomes? The Case of the "Cassava: Adding Value for Africa" Project in Ghana
We surveyed twenty communities and 2,716 households in the Atebubu-Amantin District, Ghana, using a Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) to assess the effect of the “Cassava: Adding Value for Africa” project. We incorporated questions on gender and women’s empowerment, income, participation in decision-making, and access to market. We found that C:AVA raised participants’ annual income by an average of GHC 981.71. This increase represents about 50.4% of the average annual income of non-C:AVA respondents. The incomes of members of women-headed households increased by 2.2% over the average to GHC 2,167.75. Factors such as household size, farming experience, educational level, religion, and income were found to influence market access, and C:AVA participants were 23.1% more likely to have access to market than non-participants. Furthermore, respondents’ collective decision-making regarding the use of such household production resources as land, seeds, extension services, fertilizer, tractor services, irrigation services, and credit increased more than 10% after they participated in C:AVA. Further, C:AVA empowered women by increasing their income and their participation in household decision-making. We recommend the adoption of CBMS methodology by the government of Ghana to provide data to aid in the planning of development interventions and to assess outcomes for improved livelihoods.