Women Respond - Women's Leadership in COVID-19 Response - CARE

Women Respond

COVID-19 is a global crisis presenting special challenges for women

Women Respond builds CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis work, needs assessments, and our longstanding relationships with women leaders all over the world to better understand the unique situation COVID-19 presents so that we can adapt our programming and advocacy to meet those challenges. It puts women’s voices and experiences at the center of response, and provides unique insights into women’s experiences leading responses to COVID-19, the evolving challenges they face, and the support they advocate for from leaders at local and global levels.

Explore what women have to say about COVID-19’s impact on their lives, their leadership, and what they need now.

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Women are more likely to lose their incomes because of COVID-19, are facing higher rates of violence, and are more likely to be going without food than men. Many women are facing a rollback of rights they have fought hard to claim. In the face of these tremendous challenges, women are showing remarkable leadership and innovation to cope with crisis. They are organizing information campaigns, using their business skills to produce thousands of masks, and finding ways to support people in their communities.

Presenting: Women Respond

CARE set out to understand how women and girls are impacted by COVID-19 response.

A screenshot of a video that shows a frontline health worker wearing a white suit and mask with light blue gloves and booties. Text is overlaid that says

Women and Girls in Savings Groups

Impact of COVID

CARE asked women in savings groups in three countries, how has your life changed since COVID-19?

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Response to COVID

CARE asked women in savings groups in three countries, how are you responding to COVID-19 to keep your community safe?

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Priority Needs

CARE asked women in savings groups in three countries what support they need in the COVID-19 response.

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Girls' Voices

Impact of COVID

CARE asked girls in three countries, how has your life changed since COVID-19?

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Response to COVID

CARE asked girls in three countries, how are you responding to COVID-19 to keep your household and community safe?

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Needs as Leaders

CARE asked girls in three countries what support they would need to become a leader in the COVID-19 response.

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Youth and Women Advocacy Network - Kenya

CARE talks to young women and girls who are agents for change in the fight against gender-based violence.

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Highlighted Resources

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected VSLAs and Their Members: Qualitative Evidence From Nigeria and Uganda

In this brief, CARE and the Evidence Consortium on Women's Groups (ECWG) analyze qualitative findings from Nigeria and Uganda on the effect of COVID-19 on VSLAs and their members by discussing the economic, social, and VSLA-level challenges and changes VSLAs experienced in the context of the pandemic.

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Saving for Resilience: Women (in VSLAs) Respond

This final report represents the voices of 4,185 VSLA members conducted through four quantitative and two qualitative data rounds in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Read the final report for Women (in VSLAs) Respond

Women’s groups and COVID-19: An evidence review on savings groups in Africa

This paper presents emerging evidence from studies in diverse contexts in sub-Saharan Africa —with a deep dive into Nigeria and Uganda—on how COVID-19 has affected women’s groups, especially savings groups, and how these groups have helped mitigate the gendered effects of the pandemic.

Read the report on Gates Open Research

Savings Group Member Resilience Over the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence From Nigeria and Uganda

In this brief, the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups (ECWG) and CARE examine the resilience of VSLA members in Nigeria and Uganda, and assess how savings and access to credit of VSLA members were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the report on Women's Group Evidence

Data as a Force for Good: Women Respond Quarter 3 Briefing, March 2022

Between December 2020 and December 2021, CARE conducted interviews with saving group members as part of the Women (in VSLA) Respond sub-initiative. The sub-initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on how women and girls in VSLAs in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda are affected by and responding to the pandemic. This Quarter 3 briefing includes findings from three rounds of quantitative and one round of qualitative data from VSLAs in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda. The brief highlights findings and trends overtime on how VSLA members in the targeted countries are coping and responding to the pandemic.

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She Told Us So (Again)

March 2022: Thousands of women lift up their voices to say what they need amid COVID-19's worsening impacts. 63% of women say mental health is their greatest need, and 59% say food security.

Read the report: She Told Us So Again

One woman’s courage to educate her community: Case Study, Burundi, December 2021

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 45-year-old VSLA leader, Christine Sibomana from Burundi. Christine was interviewed in December 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Finding Opportunity in Adversity: Case Study, Mali November 2021

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 51-year-old VSLA leader, Madame Dicko Oumou Cisse from Central Mali. Madmae Dicko was interviewed in November 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Solidarity in Saving: Women Respond Quarter 2 Briefing, November 2021

Between December 2020 and July 2021, CARE conducted interviews with saving group members as part of the Women (in VSLA) Respond sub-initiative. The sub-initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on how women and girls in VSLAs in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda are affected by and responding to the pandemic. This Quarter 2 briefing includes findings from two rounds of quantitative data from Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and one round of quantitative data from Uganda and qualitative insights from women and girls in VSLAs in Burundi, Mali, and Ethiopia. The survey included 4,185 VSLA members, of which 3,266 were women and girls, and shows findings and trends overtime on how VSLA members in the targeted countries are coping and responding to the pandemic.

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How women lead during crises: Case Study, Niger, October 2021

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 56-year-old VSLA leader, Mariama Seydou, from Niger. Mariama was interviewed in October 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Using Digital Survey Tools to Listen to Women

August 2021

Read the report on USAID Learning Lab

A Grandmother’s Mission to Provide: Case Study, Nigeria, July 2021

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 65-year-old VSLA treasurer Fati Musa from North-Eastern Nigeria. Fati was interviewed in April 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Standing strong in the face of the pandemic: Case Study, Uganda, June 2021

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 33-year-old VSLA member Kansiime Bonny from South West Uganda. Kansiime was interviewed in April 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Solidarity in Saving: Women Respond Quarter 1 Briefing, May 2021

Between December 2020 and March 2021, CARE conducted interviews with saving group members as part of the Women (in VSLA) Respond sub-initiative. The sub-initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on how women and girls in VSLAs in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda are affected by and responding to the pandemic. This Quarter 1 briefing is the first of four and includes quantitative data from Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger. The survey included 1,607 VSLA members, of which 1,422 were women and girls. This brief will be continuously updated as follow-up surveys and qualitative interviews conducted in the six countries to understand how trends evolve over time.

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Young dreams during a pandemic: Case Study, Ethiopia

Since COVID-19, CARE has undertaken concerted efforts to listen to women and girls and learn the impacts of the pandemic on women's lives, their greatest needs, and how they are responding. A segment of women and girls CARE engaged in these conversations have been members of VSLAs. This case study features the story of 15-year-old Mahlet Gulilat from West Hararghe, Ethiopia, the leader of her VSLA group. Mahlet was interviewed in April 2021 as part of CARE's Women Respond initiative.

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Women Respond: A Glimpse of Women's First Hand Responses to COVID-19

June 2020

Read the report on USAID Learning Lab

Impossible does not exist: the voices of West Africa

June 2020

Read more on Medium

Global RGA Trends

July 2020

Read more on CARE Evaluations

Left Out and Left Behind

August 2020. CARE interviewed more than 4500 women from 64 countries about how the pandemic is affecting their livelihoods, and ability to feed their families. The most immediate priority was food and income, and the biggest challenge is the increasing burden on women.

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Learning from Youth in West Africa in COVID-19

August 2020

Read more on CARE Evaluations

She Told Us So

September 2020. This first-of-its-kind research that reveals differing perspectives between men and women when it comes to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on first person survey feedback from 6,200 women and 4,000 men in nearly 40 countries, women were more likely than men to report challenges across three (3) main areas: Livelihoods, Food, Mental Health. This Rapid Gender Analysis data was collected using context-appropriate tools, including SMS surveys, WhatsApp and phone interviews and when safe in-person conversation. This real time, first person interaction allows CARE to move quickly and understand response gaps. The goal of this approach is not to elevate women’s concerns above men’s, but to make sure they are heard in the first place.

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Saving Cash, Saving Lives

October 2020. In June 2020, CARE conducted interviews with savings group members and leaders to understand their experiences of COVID-19, and how it was changing their lives. The survey included 545 women and 331 men, for a total of 876 respondents. This snapshot from June will be followed up with a second round of data collection in September to understand how trends evolve over time.

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Coping With COVID-19 in Nigeria

November 2020. In Nigeria, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was declared on February 27th, 2020. The outbreak in the country has recorded 1,364 cases to date with 45 deaths. CARE surveyed savings groups in the Yobe, Jigawa and Bauchi states of Nigeria in September of 2020. 239 respondents (70% women) shared their community experiences throughout the COVID-19 response.

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Women Workers Respond

January 2021

Read the report on USAID Learning Lab