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Gender Equity, Youth, and Social Inclusion

Equity and inclusivity have been at WI-HER’s core since our founding. We are established leaders and preferred partners on gender equity, youth and social inclusion (GYSI) and advancing diversity equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEI-A), having worked in these areas in multiple sectors, including health, education, economic reform, environmental conservation, infrastructure, energy, and more.
Our approach
We believe that development solutions must involve and enable all individuals to claim their agency and achieve their potential. This means ensuring vulnerable and marginalized groups — including women, girls, youth, orphans and vulnerable children, the LGBTQI+ community, hard-to-reach groups, and those in conflict areas (to name a few)— are not left behind but proactively included in all areas of society – including the design of their own solutions to improve outcomes for themselves and wider communities.
Through our years of experience, we have developed and refined a holistic approach that drives local led efforts to advancing GYSI and DEI-A. Our approach allows local stakeholders to deeply understand critical power domains, including gender and social norms, economic and legal frameworks, knowledge beliefs and perceptions, as well as access to assets and services that are impacting individuals in different ways. We support local governments and stakeholders to identify GYSI barriers to achieving intended outcomes, while also providing tools and approaches to address these barriers across systems or within policy frameworks, advancing GYSI and DEI-A in any and all programs, projects, and or sectors. 
Our approach to GYSI draws from marketing science, behavioral economics, design thinking, and human-centered design; prioritizes evidence building, particularly through participatory research, field assessments, and community consultations; and drives innovations in awareness building, sensitization, and community mobilization.
Our Services
The WI-HER team:
  • Conducts and or supports national and local stakeholders to conduct GYSI assessments and analyses.
  • Adapts or develops GYSI integration tools to support governments, program implementers, service providers, and communities to strengthen capacity in GYSI concepts, skills, and approaches.
  • Trains stakeholders on GYSI and GYSI-focused skills and approaches to ensure sustainability, local ownership, and local capacity. 
  • Uses our renowned iDARE methodology and corresponding tools to guide GYSI integration and social behavior change across all levels.
  • Supports local stakeholders to develop GYSI action plans as part of national and sub-national policy documents and plans.
  • Supports individuals, especially vulnerable and marginalized populations,  to identify and strengthen existing power to design their own interventions to achieve their identified goals
  • Utilizes connections and existing power to close gaps within societies and broaden access to knowledge and information, facilitate enabling legal and social environments, and open doors to job opportunities and entrepreneurship.
  • Create peer-to-peer enabling mechanisms to build sustainable practices that continue to reinforce both competence and confidence towards autonomous, resilient communities.
Examples of our impact
Through the USAID ACHIEVE project in Rwanda, WI-HER supported field assessments and community consultations that created an evidence base to improve the uptake and retention of adolescents in PEPFAR-funded HIV treatment and care programs. Resulting interventions ensured service delivery became more accessible, sensitive, and responsive to social stigma, peer pressure, and the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents.
In Nigeria, through the USAID Integrated Health Project (IHP), WI-HER supported the project to establish ‘learning labs’ across five states, convening providers and clients to improve reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health services and reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths. In Bauchi State, as of 2021, adolescent use of primary care services in the learning lab facility increased by 58%.
Through the USAID ASSIST project’s Dreams Initiative, we supported communities to bring together girls and mothers in Busia, Uganda to establish a collective practice of sharing experiences and support while also applying iDARE to identify shared challenges, and design and test solutions. Their identified challenge of keeping girls in school was met with a decision to build a mill that would grind meal, which would free up time for school and safely advance their economic power and influence to themselves and to their communities. In addition to guiding these discussions, WI-HER built skills and developed capacity, including confidence, to mobilize resources to build the mill as well as management skills to run the mill and sell the grain. With the mill completed, girls went back to school — and it is still thriving today.
All of our projects have gender equity, youth and social inclusion integrated into the work. Click here to read more from our latest annual report.
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