This document presents the International Rescue Committee seeking to determine what is the most effective way to support women's empowerment in conflict-affected settings. Drawing on extensive field experience, the IRC designed a program in Burundi that actively involved both women and men in an economic program and a discussion series around household finances. IRC's EA$E (Economic And Social Empowerment for
women) program ultimately aims to increase women's decision-making in the home and decrease intimate partner violence (IPV). The IRC partnered with Professor Radha Iyengar from the London School of Economics to rigorously examine if adding a discussion series for couples was more effective in increasing decision-making and reducing violence, rather than just an economic program on its own.
- Adding a tailored discussion group series that addresses gender equity and communication skills to a savings and loans program creates significant and positive changes in the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV), attitudes towards violence against women, in household decision-making and negotiation.
- Programs can improve women's empowerment outcomes by strategically involving men through a tailored discussion group series to existing economic programming.
- Results from this impact evaluation highlight that the IRC's EA$E program: Does not impact all areas of domestic life equally; some roles, responsibilities, and attitudes are more firmly entrenched than others; Increased the use of negotiation in some types of conflicts; Helped women feel more involved in household decision making without making men feel substantially less involved.