DVV » News » Archives » The Regional Office East Africa of DVV International is starting a new project: The Integrated Womens's Empowerment Program(IWEP)

Integrated Women’s Empowerment Program (IWEP)

Literacy Education, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Support for Poor WomenIIZ / DVV Regional Office East Africa

P.O. Box 34 743
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel.: +251 - 011 - 123 22 39 / 40 / 41
Fax: +251 - 011 - 123 61 17
E-mail: iiz.dvv@telecom.net.et 

The Integrated Women's Empowerment Program (IWEP) is a pilot program within Ethiopia's overall development strategy and aims at empowering poor women and their households by combining three traditionally separate areas: (1) functional adult literacy education (FAL), (2) livelihood skills training (LST) or non-formal vocational training and (3) economic support via small-scale credits, grants and basic entrepreneurship/business training. The IWEP period is planned to cover five years starting in July 2006. It is funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy and will be implemented by the IIZ/DVV Regional Office East Africa in cooperation with national partners.


The IWEP aims to develop, test and implement a comprehensive nation-wide approach to empower women and their households in selected poor areas of all regions of Ethiopia and thereby to contribute towards poverty reduction. The program provides functional literacy and livelihood skills training plus a package of economic support and related training to members of groups of women.

It is also expected that the capacity to plan, participate or undertake, and manage development interventions at community level will be strengthened across different administrative levels. Need-based trainings, intensive advisory service and financial support received are likely to result in increased productivity and incomes and thus reduce the vulnerability of this poor population. The women are also expected to benefit from increased self-reliance, self-confidence, and their enhanced status in the family and community.

Since the IWEP primarily aims at developing and testing a new integrated approach for women empowerment as well as for adult education at national level, the emphasis is not so much on large figures or numbers to be trained or included in the program than on developing models of good practice or appropriate well working solutions for one of the most striking problems in Ethiopia. The establishment of such models or solutions in more or less all regions even as pilots is expected at the same time to form the basis of an adult education system with special emphasis on women for the first time in the history of the country.

Target Groups

Final beneficiaries are women and their households (which include their husbands) mainly but not exclusively in poor rural areas. The program will also address the need for capacity building of three other groups of institutions/organisations and their staff: (1) women groups' facilitators, CSTC/VTC coordinators and instructors and FAL and REFLECT facilitators; (2) staff of intermediaries, which means government and non-government organizations as well as CBOs supporting women groups and their facilitators, and (3) staff of women affairs bureaus, education bureaus and TVET commissions mainly from regional governments.


At the end of the program the following results/outcomes are expected to be achieved:

1. A strategy for linking financial and institutional strengthening with literacy education and skills training will be developed, piloted and prepared for large-scale implementation. This strategy must seriously consider local cultural and socio-economic differences and the institutional capacities of the regional Women's Affairs and Education Bureaus with a view to their potentials, strengths and weaknesses for scaling up the project.

2. Staffs from regional Women's Affairs and Education Bureaus, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Commissions, the Women's Development Initiative Project (WDIP) of the Ethiopian Women's Development Fund (EWDF), intermediaries and women groups and their facilitators will be oriented or trained. Special emphasis will be vested in building training capacities for literacy education and livelihood skills training particularly among regional governments. Training follows the cascade model. Institutions of higher education providing training of adult educators will receive support.

3. Appropriate curricula, training, teaching and learning materials for all three components plus for all trainings will be developed, translated into relevant languages, tested and distributed. Adult and women-related knowledge, which is up to the present highly segregated in Ethiopia under different ministries, sectors, programs, disciplines and experts (such as e.g. on nutrition, HIV/AIDS, hygiene, harmful traditional practices, environmental conservation and legal literacy), will be assessed and, if functional, included into the curricula and materials. Furthermore, opportunities and incentives for learners to continue reading and writing outside classes after the end of the program will be provided in order to promote "post-literacy" and a "literate environment". Different approaches will be tested.

4. Women will be enabled through livelihood skills and non-formal vocational training mainly but not exclusively at Community Skill Training Centers (CSTCs) and Vocational Training Centers (VTCs) to become more productive. Skills areas and training contents will be based on the results of local market and training needs assessments and the educational background of the participants. Training will include entrepreneurship skills, organizing the trainees into groups, developing small-scale business ideas and organizing access to micro credits. The LST component can build on the experiences accumulated and distributed by the EXPRO of IIZ/DVV.

5. Women will acquire skills in reading, writing and numeracy, integrated with practical knowledge and skills through FAL and/or REFLECT education. Considering 360 hours of instruction and practice as minimum to support advancement in a livelihood, courses can be organized within one to three years with due consideration of the workload of female learners, course venue, regard to annual seasons and the family duties of the learners. All programs must be tailor-made to the needs of the participants. Since both, the FAL and REFLECT methodologies are more or less new in Ethiopia the training of facilitators needs special attention. REFLECT will be started in Tigray and Oromia as pilots with not more than about 100 REFLECT circles. Again, both literacy education approaches have been piloted by IIZ/DVV and a number of partners both government and NGOs.

6. The economic conditions of women and their households will be improved through saving and credit and income generation activities. Intermediaries and individual facilitators with training and advisory service and financial support will support women groups. The financial support is channeled through a special fund. To ensure learners' commitment and retain them in the literacy classes, groups and group members will access the fund only if they have gained some sort of literacy or at least started acquiring skills for income generation activities and handling the related business, including basic numeracy for record keeping.

7. An appropriate monitoring and evaluation system will be established as an in-built component of the program for the internal and external flow of information among participants and stakeholders at all levels. Monitoring of program implementation and impact evaluation will be conducted in a participatory manner, which among other aspects implies the use of interpreters and translators to handle the different languages.

Organizational and Institutional Arrangements

The program is designed in a way that existing structures at all levels can be used for the execution of the program. A coordinating and monitoring Central Program Implementation Unit (CPIU) will be responsible for the planning of the overall strategy and the program components under the supervision of the regional director of IIZ/DVV in Addis Ababa and in close cooperation with the different stakeholders and experts. It is intended to use a national steering committee/advisory board to guide on policy and other issues. It may include the Ministries of Women Affairs and Education and the EWDF.

The CPIU would include a program manager, two training experts, one material development expert, a MIS expert, a financial expert, office managers/secretaries, drivers and other support staff. Program activities will be managed at regional levels through Regional Coordination Units (RCU) and through them at woreda (district) and kebele (sub-districts) levels. Three to five RCU will coordinate the program and in particular the training activities and the cooperation between women groups and intermediaries in the regions and city administrations.

The program will strengthen existing local structures and linkages. The goal is to avoid creating additional institutional structures. Implementation of program measures will be channelled through intermediaries, which are close to the communities and the beneficiaries. In principle, there are 5 categories of intermediaries in Ethiopia: Government offices, non-government organizations (NGOs), regional and women associations, community based organizations (CBOs) and religious bodies. The responsibilities between intermediaries and women groups will be defined in agreements.

The program comprises activities for which special expertise is needed which are usually not available, neither with regional government offices nor with the majority of intermediaries and NGOs. To meet this challenge the program will establish a panel of technical support experts for all sorts of expertise needed by regional units and intermediaries. These - national and international - experts will be contracted as consultants for research, training, evaluation and any other type of service on an as-needed basis. Overall, the IWEP provides a Budget of Euro 8,215,783.


The IWEP will be implemented by IIZ/DVV in cooperation with a great number of national partners. The Institute for International Cooperation (IIZ) is a special institute of the German Adult Education Association (DVV) which is the umbrella organisation for the sixteen Land or State Adult Education Associations representing the close to 1,000 community adult education centres (VHS) in the Federal Republic of Germany. The IIZ/DVV serves the national, European and international goals, functions and practise of German adult education. It supports the design and implementation of adult education programs in numerous partner countries, fosters cooperation between Germany and international adult education, and promotes the exchange of information in this field.

In Ethiopia, IIZ/DVV is supporting adult and non-formal education with the overall goal of contributing to the reduction of poverty and mainly assisting the Ministry of Education, regional education bureaus, regional TVET commissions, higher education institutions, NGOs, CBOs and civil society organizations at different administrative levels. It is also cooperating with other donors and international organizations. The country program generally aims at poverty reduction for mainly the poor and educationally disadvantaged people, in particular women, by improving livelihoods and income, and strengthening self-help mechanism.

Contact Address:
Dr Bernd Sandhaas
Director IIZ/DVV Regional Office East Africa
P.O.Box 34743, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel. 011-1232238/9
Mobile: +251-091-1402880
Fax: +251-011-1236117
E-mail: sandhaasiizdvv@web.de, iiz.dvv@ethionet.et
Internet: www.iiz-dvv.de