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Fonkoze Graduation Programme Research

Principal Investigator: Dr Keetie Roelen (OU)
Consultant: Anton Simanowitz
Project Partner: Fonkoze, Haiti
Focus Country: Haiti 
Dates: 2017 - ongoing

How does the work foreground women’s experiences?

Integrated anti-poverty interventions offer a comprehensive package of socioeconomic support such as assets, cash transfers, access to financial services and skills training to give people in poverty a big boost and help ‘graduate’ them out of poverty. NGO Fonkoze in Haiti has a long history of implementing this type of programme with women living in extreme poverty.

In collaboration with Fonkoze and funded by the Swiss Embassy in Haiti, this research is a critical examination of this type of programme that is often framed as a women’s economic empowerment intervention, yet commonly fails to engage with issues core to women’s empowerment such as gender norms around what type of livelihoods are available to women or the double burden of paid and unpaid work.

In particular, the research addresses the following questions:

  • How can an integrated anti-poverty programme targeted at women in extreme poverty help strengthen livelihoods, build assets, create resilience and promote empowerment for women? 
  • In addition, how do such programmes benefit children and families as a whole? 
  • What is the trade-off between women’s engagement with paid and unpaid work, and how can gendered norms around these be addressed?

Research that took place between 2017 and 2020 highlighted the nuanced role of paid work in women’s lives, providing economic independence and pride but also adding to their time burden, not least given limited amount of social support that women are able to draw on. Methods have included primary quantitative survey data coupled with qualitative case studies and participatory methods.

Ongoing research will zoom in on women’s relationships with the programmes (mostly male) case managers and how this interacts with programme impact, including the types of livelihoods pursued by women and expectations around motherhood and care responsibilities.

Outputs of the research collaboration with Fonkoze to date include: 


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