US gender programming: Where will the money go?

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Gender has received increased prominence in the Obama administration’s fiscal 2014 budget request. For the first time, gender is deemed a foreign assistance priority and not just a key interest area. Further, the budget request for programs where gender is a key issue increased 14 percent from $1.7 billion in fiscal 2013 to $1.9 billion in fiscal 2014.

But where will the money go? In terms of initiatives, more than half of the requested budget will be allocated to the Global Health Initiative ($835 million) and Feed the Future ($163 million). And to ensure gender equality is fully integrated into U.S.-funded development activities, the budget has requested $45 million solely for supporting implementation of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development’s gender policies.

Funding is also broken down by Gender Key Issue components, of which there are four:

  • Primary: Gender equality and women’s empowerment are the explicit goals of development activities.

  • Secondary: Gender equality and women’s empowerment are integrated into key parts of the projects.

  • Gender-based violence: Activities and programs that aim to prevent and respond to actions that lead to physical, sexual and psychological harm to men and women.

  • Women, Peace and Security: Efforts to ensure women and girls are given equal consideration in conflict prevention activities, and relief and recovery assistance.

The bulk of funding will go toward financing activities under the secondary component. This $1.4 billion envelope covers nearly 100 countries and regions.

The primary component will be receiving a smaller share of funding — $307.6 million has been requested for programs in nearly 50 countries and regions.

Gender-based violence and Women, Peace and Security, meanwhile, have $181 million and $154 million in requested funding, respectively.

Going by country allocations, however, the lion’s share of funding — $295.7 million — will be given to Afghanistan. It is one of 29 countries that have activities falling under three Gender Key Issue components: primary, secondary and gender-based violence. Afghanistan is also home to USAID’s largest gender program, Promote. A five-year program that aims to bridge the gender inequality gap and boost women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, Promote, which was launched last month, has a $416 million budget. The program also allows for up to $200 million in contributions from other donors.

Check out this slideshow to see the top 10 countries that will be benefiting from the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion request for gender programming.

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    Aimee Rae Ocampo

    In her role as editor for business insight, Aimee creates and manages multimedia content and cutting-edge analysis for executives in international development. As the manager of Development Insider, Devex's flagship publication for executive members, she is constantly on the lookout for the latest news, trends and policies that influence the business of development.