Gender in community-driven development (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1079)



What is the evidence on gender considerations in community-driven development programmes? Where possible, provide information on the impact of gender on achieving programme objectives, examples of community-driven development impacting gender relations, good practice and challenges in including gender in programme design, implementation and evaluation.

Key Findings

  • Elite capture is a significant concern. The evidence is clear that ‘uncontrolled’ CDD will not necessarily benefit women, the poor and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Women’s participation is a central problem as they do not usually have the time and/or confidence to contribute to village planning processes.
  • To reach women and other disadvantaged groups, CDD needs to have explicit targets for them or mandatory participation requirements. Programmes with an explicit gender strategy are more likely to impact on women’s empowerment than programmes without clear gender equality goals.
  • Programmes which allow women-only space appear effective in enabling women’s voice and developing projects that respond to women’s needs.
  • CDD programmes struggle to change attitudes and norms around women’s social position. They are often successful at engaging women in projects, but fail to make significant changes in the long-term.
  • Examples of positive gender outcomes are improved women’s participation in village-level meetings and processes; personal empowerment and voice; women’s access to services; increased skills and independent income.
  • The literature does not present evidence on whether gender inclusion strategies make CDD programmes more effective, as this is not usually included in evaluation outcomes.


Browne, E. Gender in community-driven development (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1079). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 9 pp.

Gender in community-driven development (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1079)

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