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Sub-Saharan Africa Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project.

SWEDD is an innovative project that works with African countries to empower women and girls, and improve their access to quality reproductive, maternal and child health services.

NEWS

Groundbreaking M&E Platform to Revolutionize Women's Empowerment Efforts in the Sahel

06 June 2024

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The Sub-Saharan Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to develop a cutting-edge, AI-powered Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) platform. This innovative solution aims to streamline data management, enhance decision-making, and ultimately amplify the impact of women's empowerment programs across 12 countries in West and Central Africa.

The SWEDD project is a regional initiative funded by the World Bank. It involves 12 countries in West and Central Africa. Other partners include the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Technical Body for Health, and the African Union, focuses on empowering women and adolescents by promoting social and behavioural change, strengthening regional capacity for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and nutrition health services, and advocating for policies that accelerate demographic transitions. UNFPA regional and country offices coordinate with organizations to provide technical assistance and support governments in the implementation of the project.

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To optimize data management and strategic planning, the SWEDD Regional Technical Secretariat (RTS) has recently conducted a comprehensive needs assessment mission in The Gambia and Mali. The mission team, composed of Information Technology Solutions Office (ITSO), Programme Service Division (PSD) and the SWEDD Regional Technical Secretariat (RTS) from UNFPA, gathered valuable insights into the current M&E ecosystems and identified key requirements for the new regional platform.

Nayanesh Bhandutia, Business Transformation Manager at the Information Technology Solutions Office (ITSO), UNFPA headquarters, and the project implementation lead, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative:

"It's been a privilege to be part of this important mission to strengthen SWEDD's impact in Mali! Evaluating monitoring tools is crucial for understanding how we're making a difference in communities. The collaboration between UNFPA, the World Bank, and the Ministry of Urbanism and Habitat in Mali is inspiring. Excited to see the innovative M&E Platform that will emerge to empower women and promote demographic dividends in the Sahel." 

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Regional and local impact

At the country level, the platform will seamlessly integrate with existing M&E systems and historical data, ensuring continuity and building upon previous successes. It will offer customization and extensibility to accommodate the unique needs of each participating country, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, and Togo.

At the regional level, the consolidated data will allow for strategic oversight and coordination of the SWEDD project as a whole. Decision-makers will be able to identify emerging trends, compare performance across countries, and conduct predictive analyses to guide future initiatives.

“Our needs assessment mission in The Gambia and Mali was an eye-opening experience. By engaging with the key stakeholders, understanding their current M&E ecosystems, and identifying the gaps and challenges they face, we have gained invaluable insights that will shape the development of our new AI-powered platform,” said Moussa Bagayoko, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) SWEDD Programme Specialist at UNFPA WCARO. 

“This platform will not only address the unique requirements of each SWEDD country but also provide them with cutting-edge tools to enhance their decision-making capabilities and ultimately amplify the impact of their women's empowerment initiatives. We are excited to embark on this transformative journey together with our partners in the Sahel region." he added. 

 

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As the SWEDD project continues to champion women's empowerment and demographic dividends in West and Central Africa, this groundbreaking M&E platform is poised to revolutionize the way data is managed, analyzed, and utilized for the betterment of communities across the Sahel. With a deep understanding of each country's unique needs and a commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology, SWEDD is well-positioned to drive transformative change in the lives of women and girls throughout the region.