Sida’s ambition is to ensure that all its development assistance promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment. To help achieve this goal, Sida asked for Triple Line’s technical support in helping the Sida-supported Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) fund to identify what could be done to make a difference for gender equality and women’s empowerment through this fund.
The IAP fund challenges the private sector to develop innovative products, services, and business models that can contribute to the fight against poverty, unlock their entrepreneurial potential, catalyse inclusive growth, and fuel more sustainable economic development.
IAP is managed by a fund manager whose network of Inclusive Business Officers engages directly with companies in specific markets in Asia and Africa. They provide technical assistance to grant holders working in the areas of agriculture and food, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene and ICT. These grant holders work in contexts where there are high levels of gender inequality, and in sectors where women do not compete on an equal footing with men. This inequality is often hidden and pernicious.
Sida’s ambition is to ensure that all its development assistance promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment. To help achieve this goal for the IAP, Sida asked for Triple Line’s technical support in helping the IAP fund manager and a selection of companies to identify what could be done to make a difference for gender equality and women’s empowerment through this fund.
Triple Line has expertise in integrating gender in challenge fund design, implementation and evaluations. We understand what fund managers can do, and why gender equality and women’s empowerment matters for businesses across multiple sectors matters. We have skills in helping people see inequality and exclusion and, in seeing it, finding solutions to address it. With IAP, Triple Line’s approach was to ensure fund manager staff were involved from the outset in operational research and problem solving. We also worked closely with a handful of companies and talked to company clients – women and men – to understand their perspectives.
One of the first actions we took was to help Inclusive Business Officers explain in simple terms to entrepreneurs (who do not work on development issues) why gender matters. We then tested out their pitch with entrepreneurs, and helped them use this to secure commitment to action. The actions we looked for included: improving HR policies (equal pay, maternity benefits, safeguarding); hiring women in leadership and decision-making positions; and getting gender expertise for research and development, business intelligence, product and service design and marketing and advertising. At the fund level we defined terms and concepts in simple language; we made gender inequality a problem that needed to be addressed; we put indicators in the results framework to track progress; and we built the fund manager’s skills and produced simple tools (checklists) to support this.
The fund manager continues to implement our recommendations, use our tools, and deepen their engagement with entrepreneurs on the issue of gender. According to Sida much progress has been made. Entrepreneurs understand why gender equality matters to their bottom line and there are examples of affirmative action.
Credit: Title photo by ICRISAT - Under Creative Commons License