The Link Between WASH and ROI: New Research Shows How Investing in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Benefits Both Employees and the Bottom Line
There are clear links between water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and workplace productivity: WASH facilities improve worker health and wellbeing, boosting productivity and business performance. But as Kelly Parsons at WaterAid America explains, there has been a lack of research on how much WASH interventions really impact the bottom line of businesses in emerging markets. She shares results from a new WaterAid report that assessed the ROI of WASH investments at several businesses in India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tanzania, and discusses how to maximize the impact of these interventions.
From Grameen Bank to Global Scale: The New Edition of a Classic Book Highlights the Hard Truth – And Enduring Value – Behind Microfinance
In 1996, Grameen Foundation founder Alex Counts published “Small Loans, Big Dreams,” a well-regarded account of the origins and early years of the microfinance sector. Counts recently published a new edition of the book, which reflects on the ongoing evolution of the industry, and responds to critics who have questioned its role in international development. Longtime microfinance leader and analyst Elisabeth Rhyne discusses the book, and explores what these new updates tell us about the current state of the global microfinance sector.
Access, Understanding and Trust: Breaking Down the Barriers to Women’s Participation in India’s Digital Finance Revolution
The digital gender divide has long occupied international development headlines, as gaps remain between men and women in both access to and usage of digital technologies in many emerging economies. According to Anant Nyshadham at Good Business Lab, Shalin Gor and Divya Nair, and Emily Coppel at IDinsight, India is no exception. They explore the three types of obstacles that are preventing Indian women from participating in digital financial services, and share some implications for providers of these services.
Unleashing Women Entrepreneurs by Challenging Gender Norms: An Innovative Approach to Changing Beliefs Around Household Chores
Globally, women and girls are responsible for three-quarters of unpaid care work, due to the still-common belief that a woman’s role in society is to take care of the home. As Trisha Clauson at Bopinc and Annegien Langedijk-Wilms at Growing Initiatives explain, this is preventing countless women entrepreneurs from building their businesses, reducing emerging markets' GDP by trillions of dollars. They explore an innovative program that leveraged mass media to foster more equitable gender norms around household chores in Nigeria, sharing learnings that can be used by other organizations supporting women entrepreneurs.
Leaning into Resilience: Three Ways Small and Growing Agriculture Businesses Have Navigated Global Crises – And How Investors Can Support Them
COVID-19 and other recent crises have led many investors to pause disbursements to small and growing businesses (SGBs) in emerging markets, due to the increased risk. Camilla Nestor, Maria Raurell and Carolyn Han at MCE Social Capital explain why MCE did the opposite, supporting their investees' efforts to adapt to these challenges. They share three adaptations that successful SGBs in their portfolio had in common, and explore how these approaches are likely to be incorporated into agricultural SGB business models in the long term.
The Power of Trust in Digital Finance: How to Leverage Trusted Technology to Maximize Inclusion and Impact
Trust can be a significant barrier to engagement in digital financial services among low-income users. According to William Derban at Opportunity International, that means providers must often take measures to address this trust deficit when developing digital services that target these customers — particularly women. He discusses Opportunity International's new Trusted Tech Microfinance Initiative, and shares six ways the initiative is working to build clients’ trust in the technologies Opportunity and its microfinance partners are using.
In September, the U.N. adopted a resolution condemning all forms of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), reflecting a growing recognition of the profound consequences of this global problem. But as Josh Dobiac at Milliman Financial Risk Management and Alana Kolundzija at Collective Impact argue, global development organizations aren't the only ones who should play a role in addressing GBV. They explore how investment decisions can impact GBV, and make the case for tackling this issue through socially responsible investing.
The Urgent Need to Address Climate Impacts on MSMEs: Recommendations for Designing Right-Fit Tools and Solutions
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) provide a critical link to goods and services while generating income for millions of households around the world. But as Bethany Kanten at Mercy Corps Ventures points out, these businesses remain underserved in several areas that are limiting their resilience to key challenges – including climate change. She shares new research based on interviews with hundreds of MSMEs in Africa, which reveals the opportunity for innovators, investors and funders to positively impact these enterprises with climate solutions.