Gender equality and female empowerment play a key role in achieving effective and sustainable development outcomes. ACDI/VOCA’s GenderFirst approach enables an organization’s staff and partners to identify and prioritize program interventions with the most potential to reduce gender equality gaps in households, communities and markets. GenderFirst supports empowering all people—women, men, boys, and girls—to succeed in the global economy. Through this framework, ACDI/VOCA focuses on reducing gender-based constraints, improving social dynamics, and creating environments in which all people can thrive, while ensuring that activities “do no harm” to participants. GenderFirst tools and resources can be adapted based on program objectives and customized to address the unique needs of communities, taking context-specific dynamics and realities into consideration.

GenderFirst includes the following resources for operations and all phases of program implementation:

  • Operations: Gender integration during program start-up, gender responsive and inclusive workplaces, recruitment, and hiring.
  • Program Design: Gender responsive interview guidance for rapid assessments, a manual and toolkit, a checklist, and guidelines for developing a gender strategy
  • Program Implementation: Gender integration tips for workers, guides for women’s empowerment in agriculture, for women’s financial inclusion, and a data collection tool
  • Monitoring & Evaluation: Monitoring and evaluation framework, guidelines, and guidance on measuring impact
  • Capacity Building: Each time ACDI/VOCA gender experts develop a training, they customize it for the context and time allotted. Training modules can be customized and combined. For example, a three-day training for project staff could include a day of the Gender Basics module and two days of the Gender and Value Chains module.

GenderFirst in Action

ACDI/VOCA uses the GenderFirst approach to develop and implement women’s economic empowerment and inclusive market systems interventions. We use qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze gender-based constraints and develop context-based gender strategies and action plans to address gender gaps and build on opportunities for empowerment.

View ACDI/VOCA’s gender approach at-a-glance.

Current Partners

ACDI/VOCA is a co-author and one of the first endorsers of the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender Equality, which outlines eight fundamental standards for development organizations to follow. GenderFirst offers a robust approach for meeting and exceeding these standards. This includes the development of public-private partnerships. ACDI/VOCA is a proud founding member of the Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE), which includes the Coffee Quality Institute, private-sector companies, and other development partners. The PGE conducts research and pilots initiatives to determine how industry can support gender equality to improve the sustainable supply of quality coffee as well as the lives of those who produce it. Learn more in the PGE’s latest report.


Contact Us

To learn more about GenderFirst resources or explore ways we can work with you to bring GenderFirst to your organization, please email

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