Women, men, boys, and girls should have equal opportunities to be healthy and to reach their full potential. Yet differing health-related needs and different social, economic, and cultural barriers to accessing care thwart the ability of certain groups to access and benefit from health care services. Gender is a social determinant of health across all countries and cultures. Gender gaps and issues affect access to, utilization of, and quality of care for women, men, boys, and girls. To truly improve the quality of all care for all, these gender gaps and issues must be explicitly recognized and addressed by providers, facilities, and health systems, and this is especially true in quality improvement activities. In this video, watch Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand of WI-HER, LLC explain how addressing gender considerations in improvement work leads to better outcomes.

Community Quality Improvement Team in Buikwe, Uganda

We take an improvement approach to integrate gender through the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project. By collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data and systematically identifying and analyzing gaps in outcomes among women, men, boys and girls, we evaluate what is causing poorer outcomes among one group, and design activities to respond to the needs of males or females to close the gap. We do this in improvement activities across health areas and beyond, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs) programming, HIV and ART services, OVC services, and more. We promote partner involvement in programs targeting either males or females, such as engaging male partners and fathers in ANC visits and PMTCT programs to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and engaging female partners of males who undergo the VMMC procedure to improve follow-up and decrease adverse events. 

Our innovative and effective six-step approach to identify and close gender-related gaps improves health outcomes for all, and we utilize locally-owned, culturally-sensitive, and innovative models. We recognize that myriad factors at multiple levels of society affect gender norms that influence risk factors, access to care, utilization of care, and equality of treatment and we work to respond to these norms in concert to generate shifts in thinking and behavior. We address gender gaps and issues at the individual, household, and community levels, when necessary, though staff and community sensitization trainings, and we consider the varied contextual factors that drive outcomes for women, men, boys, and girls in the design, implementation, and evaluation of our programs.

To learn more about gender and how to integrate gender in improvement work, download A Guide to Integrating Gender in Improvement.

Empowering women health care workers through quality improvement

Taroub Faramand

Founder and President, WI-HER, LLC

(Staff at an ASSIST-supported health facility. Photo by Taroub Faramand, WI-HER, LLC)

Understanding what ‘integrated people-centered health services’ means

Julia Holtemeyer

Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management, USAID ASSIST Project/WI-HER, LLC

Earlier this year, at the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly, WHO Member States officially adopted the Framework on integrated people-centred health services (IPCHS). Designed to support increasing timely access to essential health services, the Framework proposes the following five critical shifts in health care systems to make them more people-centered:

Meeting the nutritional needs of men, women, boys, and girls in families affected by HIV

Megan Ivankovich

Senior Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC

Right now, millions of families around the globe are affected by HIV. This means they may be dealing with concurrent struggles related to health, nutrition, and food security, among others. We know that sticking to a healthy diet can strengthen the immune system, improve the effectiveness of ARV drugs, and sustain productivity. Yet many people living with HIV (PLHIV) often face challenges related to food access, availability, and utilization, which can further threaten their health.

Journée Internationale de la Femme

Dans le cadre de la célébration du 8 Mars, Journée Internationale de la Femme, l'ambassade des Etats-Unis au Mali met en évidence le travail de 30 braves femmes maliennes et talentueuses sélectionnées pour la campagne ‪#‎30Jours30Femmes. Aujourd’hui, nous partageons une femme exceptionnelle dans sa catégorie, Dr. Diarra Houleymata, Chef d’équipe du Projet ASSIST au Mali.

Engaging men and boys against GBV

Julia Holtemeyer

Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management, USAID ASSIST Project/WI-HER, LLC

On December 15, Peace Corps hosted a panel discussion in D.C. titled, Engaging Men and Boys: A Call to Action Against Gender-based Violence. I learned a lot about gender-based violence (GBV) during my own Peace Corps service in Tanzania, so I was curious to see how Peace Corps headquarters would frame the issue. The USAID ASSIST Project and WI-HER work together to address GBV in improvement activities, from identifying GBV as an unintended result of a program to addressing GBV prevention and treatment in medical and nursing school instruction in Nicaragua.

WI-HER and ASSIST to Participate in 16 Days of Activism Tweet Chat Relay

Julia Holtemeyer

Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management, USAID ASSIST Project/WI-HER, LLC

​The USAID ASSIST Project and WI-HER are working together in this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign by participating in a Tweet Chat Relay on Thursday, December 10th. Focusing on “Promising Approaches to Respond to Gender-Based Violence,” WI-HER staff will tweet from 10-11am about gender-based violence as an unintended negative consequence of economic strengthening programs. Specifically, we will focus on a project in Uganda aimed at increasing income for women to improve outcomes among orphans and vulnerable children that saw increased violence against those women.

GBV Tweet Banner, December 2015

The 16 Days Campaign is dedicated to ending gender-based violence at individual, community, national, and global levels. What started as an effort of 23 individuals in 1991 has grown into a UN recognized campaign of more than 5,000 organizations in approximately 187 countries. For all 25 years of the campaign, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University has been the coordinator and served as a hub for information and networking. The campaign is not an individual effort of CWGL, rather it “takes shape from local, national, regional and international initiatives around the world.”

Integrating gender in USAID ASSIST Kenya activities: A versatile approach for addressing local and national issues

Megan Ivankovich

Senior Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC

As leaders of the gender integration work within the USAID ASSIST Project, we at WI-HER LLC have frequently commented on the versatility of our approach. Utilizing quality improvement principles and tools, we have stated that our 6-step approach to integrate gender can be applied to any topic in any field. The hard work of the USAID ASSIST Kenya team made this claim come to life.

Key Takeaways from the Gender360 Summit: Progress and shortcomings in achieving gender equality

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


Thursday, June 11th marked the second annual Gender360 Summit hosted by FHI360. More than 250 gender and development professionals attended the summit, which boasted an impressive list of speakers and panelists, including USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment Susan Markham; Catherine Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State; and Andrea Bertone, Director of the Gender Department at FHI360. Panel discussions included the right approaches to achieving gender equality, the role of donors in advancing a gender equality agenda, and featured short talks about engaging boys and men in the discussion and targeting hard to reach populations.