In March, Banyan Global conducted a field-based gender analysis as part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Improving Market Partnerships and Access to Commodities Together (IMPACT) program in Madagascar. PSI-Madagascar leads a consortium of partners, including Banyan Global, to implement this five-year program focused on expanding access to family planning, maternal and child health, and malaria treatment. Together with the government of Madagascar, IMPACT works with public, commercial, and nonprofit stakeholders towards universal health coverage using a total market approach.
The IMPACT gender analysis looks at key advances, constraints, inequalities and opportunities for gender equality in Madagascar, offering conclusions and specific recommendations on how the program can achieve greater impact through gender integration into its strategic planning and activities. The analysis also examines key issues related to social inclusion and women’s economic empowerment within the health commodities sector in the country.
Following an in-depth literature review, the team conducted field work to validate the findings from the desk study in Antananarivo (the capital), Antisiranana (in the Diana region in the north), and Toliara/Mangily (in the Atsimo-Andrefana region in the south). The analysis team leader and international gender specialist, Rachel Mahmud, joined the national gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) consultant, Malanto Rabary, in conducting key informant interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors involved in the health commodity supply chain at all levels. This included a wide range of actors such as international donors, district-level health administrators, pharmacies, and targeted beneficiaries.
Following the field work, the Banyan Global team presented at a one-day workshop for IMPACT technical staff and leadership. They trained participants on key concepts in gender and social inclusion, such as the gender integration continuum and the importance of gender in the health sector. At the end of the day, training participants tested their knowledge in a competitive Jeopardy-style game. Banyan Global also presented preliminary findings from the gender analysis to receive staff feedback on the field work. Participants reported that they plan to apply knowledge from the training to improve gender integration within IMPACT decision-making, as well as in program marketing strategies, market assessments, market group segmentation, key messaging, and work planning activities. Gender integration into IMPACT program activities will enhance the accessibility and equitability of its activities and improve the well-being of women, men, girls and boys.
Moving forward, Banyan Global will complete the gender analysis and report its findings and recommendations to key stakeholders. The team is also planning to host a Gender Action Plan workshop for partners later this year. The team will hold a second, “refresher” workshop for IMPACT technical staff and leadership next year to build on this year’s training and further improve IMPACT staff capacity to serve as gender champions within their different technical and operational areas.