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Community Contribution

CLA in Action for Gender Transformation in the Ethiopian Primary Health Care System

Shailee Ghelani, Elizabeth Stones, Heran Tadess

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Transform: Primary Healthcare Activity supported the Government of Ethiopia’s implementation of its Health Sector Transformation Plan, with the ultimate goal of preventing child and maternal deaths across 416 districts in Ethiopia. In recognizing gender equality as a key determinant of health, the Activity strove to address gender gaps and opportunities across its four result areas and 12 interrelated thematic areas. Applying an effective gender integration approach that was capable of addressing harmful gender norms and shifting gender dynamics in the Activity required systematic, collaborative, and evidence-driven approaches and programming. The need for this multifaceted environment led to developing and implementing a collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) approach to gender integration that was iterative, interconnected, mutually reinforcing, and gender transformative.

Building upon a gender analysis and collaborative gender strategy in its first year, the Activity routinely re-visited the vision, goals, and interventions in the strategy through annual strategy review workshops. The Activity also used routine monitoring data to assess progress and identify emerging programming needs. These complementary efforts supported the Activity in not only implementing targeted and gender-responsive activities and research, but also in successfully integrating gender transformative approaches across result areas. The Activity’s gender assessment, conducted in its last year to document successes and challenges, identified several positive outcomes that were rooted in its CLA approach, including activities and interventions that can be sustained to transform the status of gender equity in Ethiopia’s primary health care system.

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