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According to USAID (2009), the Investigating in Women Development (IWID) Fellows Program was started in 1999 by the Institute of International Education. This was after the institution had won a “Leader With Associates” (LWA) Cooperative Agreement, which had been awarded to help supporting this program. This write up will seek to summarize the IWID Fellows Program, placing much emphasis on its background information, main objectives and goals, as well as its overall effectiveness. In addition, the paper will further give two recommendations on how the program would be enhanced.
The main reason for the formation of the IWID Fellows Program was to promote the enhancement of Missions, USAID/W units, and the implementing partners that needed experienced mid-level professionals (USAID, 2009). This program seeks to achieve this by training its candidates in gender analytic and technological skills. Such trainings are meant to enable these candidates to enhance the efficiency of the program areas which are of special interest to USAID, such as the economic growth and gender issues. Some of the other areas included monitoring and evaluation, education and training, and finally, the disability and gender-related efforts (USAID, 2009).
The program has three main objectives. First, the program seeks to promote full and equal participation of the women from the developing countries in transforming their economic and social sectors. Second, the program also aims at assisting USAID by improving various considerations of gender in its work. This is achieved by its contribution on the advancement of the Agency’s policies and its capacity in addressing critical issues related to gender. Finally, the program is also committed to seeing an increasing number of women being empowered to enable them carry out WID activities (USAID, 2009).
The Effectiveness of the Program
The first quality that makes this program effective is its uniqueness. The program has been able to establish itself in a total of 21 locations globally. Some of these locations include USAID Missions in countries like Armenia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Moscow. The number also includes the program’s USAID/W Regional Bureau Offices. The program has also managed to fit their interventions into the initially existing USAID projects and activities, thus allowing them to address gender issue in variety of fields (USAID, 2009).
Its effectiveness is also evidenced in the achieved results. IWID Fellows Program has been able to conduct a number of Mission gender analysis and assessments. A great number of women have also been trained under this program, enabling them to take part in their local microfinance. Additionally, the program ha also realized the training of a number of USAID staff, who have since been able to incorporate issues related to gender in their agency’s projects (USAID, 2009).
Ways in Which the Program’s Effectiveness Would Be Improved
First, the program would improve its effectiveness by expanding its operation base beyond that of USAID and its partners. This would be done by targeting additional organizations which are running projects in gender-related issues. It is only by bringing such organizations together that the program would be able to harmonize its interventions. This way, the organizations would be able to avoid duplications of projects as well as complementing the interventions of each other.
Apart from the USAID’s programmatic areas, the program would also seek to address the cultural practices that put women in a lower position compared to men in most of the societies, especially in Africa. Elimination of male domination and the subsequent empowering of women can never be possible without systematically addressing the issue of culture, which holds back the women in subordinate positions. Currently, the program focuses on main project areas of the Agency for International Development (USAID) which, though address gender issues, has not identified cultural challenges as one of its major project areas. This may require well designed intervention programs to be implemented right inside these communities in various countries.
In conclusion, this program has been of great impact, especially in as far as gender issues are concerned.