In order to succeed in market systems, women require control over their own time and labour. Livelihoods projects should aim to promote quality care of families, and promote women’s rights and their economic success, by recognising, reducing and redistributing housework and care tasks.

The Household Care Survey, and the Rapid Care Analysis tools will help you to design projects that recognise and respect the role of care work in women’s work lives, and provide evidence from which communities can begin developing their own action plans to address the issue.

Depending on your context, time, aims and budget you may wish to do the Rapid Care Analysis and/or the Household Care Survey.

Average time investment for using this tool

See individual activities for details

Who leads

See individual activities for details

Who needs to be involved

See individual activities for details

Activity 1: Rapid Care Analysis (RCA)

A one-day participatory focus-group exercise to qualitatively assess care work, estimate time use, identify what is problematic and discuss options/solutions to reduce and redistribute care tasks more equitably.

Step 1: Quick facts

Average time for using this tool

3 days over a period of 2 weeks

Who leads

A facilitator experienced in participatory action research & gender analysis and fluent in the local language

Who needs to be involved

Oxfam staff and partners shape/choose focus of exercises, location and participants. Two facilitators and two documenters lead and assist in the women’s and men’s discussions; 16-20 participants -60% women;  including adults, adolescents and older people, and sometimes community leaders.

Step 2: Clarify outcomes

Along with partners, clarify the intended outcomes of the RCA. Examples of intended outcomes include: markets programme design, or humanitarian recovery programme; evidence for influencing; evidence for gender awareness raising, or social norms work.


Step 3: Who and where?

Staff and partners select relevant , representative location and participants for the RCA (the RCA is not required in every village!).


Step 4: Prepare content

Discuss and select exercises from the RCA toolbox to run with participants.

Watch the training webinar and prepare flipcharts, visuals and materials in the local language, as needed.

Hold a practice session for facilitators and assistants.

Step 5: Run the RCA

Titles of the seven focus group exercises found within the toolbox:
1: Understanding care roles and relationships in households
2: Estimate average weekly hours spent on different types of work, women and men separately
3: How care roles are distributed by gender and age
4: Exploring changes in care patterns, due to displacement/disaster, migration, government policy change, employment changes, OR seasonal changes etc.
5: Problematic care activities identified by group
6: Infrastructure and services that support care work
7: Identifying options to address the problems with care work

Step 6: Document your findings

Document the discussion and findings of the exercises including quotes from participants, time-use estimates, photos, flipcharts and identified ‘problematic care tasks’ and proposed solutions. Share your findings and solutions with relevant stakeholders.

For full details on how to conduct an RCA, download the complete RCA guidance document, and the RCA toolbox.

Activity 2: Household Care Survey (HCS)

A quantitative survey for baselines, evaluations: time use, norms, equipment & services for care work.

Step 1: Planning

Average time for using this tool

15 days over a period of three weeks

Who leads

A researcher (possibly consultant) with expertise and experience in leading quantitative data collection and analysis on issues of women’s empowerment.

Who needs to be involved

Oxfam staff and partners should input into the design of the survey and scope of the research.
Enumerators fluent in the local language and trained in data collection.

Step 2: Steps to take

Step 1: Oxfam staff and partners decide the focus of the survey
Step 2: Develop research strategy and questions in alignment with
the wider programme
Step 3: Modify questionnaire based on local context
Step 4: Hire and train enumerators
Step 5: Test questionnaires with a selection of households, and
modify/retrain enumerators
Step 6: Data collection
Step 7: Data analysis and reporting

See the HHS webinar for further guidance.