Support focused on generating positive effects on women and girls

A cross cutting priority of the SFI Program was to deliver support focused on generating positive effects on women and girls. Activities designed to meet this goal straddled SFI’s components to strengthen the ecosystem for scaling the impact of social enterprises (Frontier Incubators) and to increase accessibility of private sector capital for social enterprises (primarily Frontier Brokers with contributions from Frontier Incubators). Frontier Innovators did not explicitly focus on gender, but several of the supported social enterprises delivered services and sold products that have a positive effect on women and girls (e.g., Koe Koe Tech and Mama’s Laef).


Innovative approaches

Three innovative approaches were applied to solutions that measured and prioritised increased awareness among and capacity of stakeholders (incubators, brokers, and capital providers and all associated social enterprises) in gender lens incubation and investing.

  • Adaptive Management
  • Co-Design
  • Collaborative Partnering

Outcomes Achieved

The SFI Program delivered support focused on generating positive effects on women and girls through Frontier Incubators and Frontier Brokers. Together these components increased awareness among and capacity of stakeholders.

  • ONE
    ONE open-source Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration Toolkit developed
  • SIX
    SIX organisations piloted the toolkit
  • FOUR
    FOUR Gender Lens Investing Projects launched

Development Impact Data

  • 70
    incubation and acceleration stakeholders trained in gender lens incubation
  • 536
    stakeholders trained in GLI and impact assessment
  • 80%
    of respondents reported an increased focus on ensuring benefits to women and girls
  • 80%
    of respondents reported an increased priority on gender equality

Impact Stories

Key Takeaways

While not integrated in the design or early implementation phases, applying a gender lens emerged as a key feature of the SFI Program, leading to the development of the capacity of stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific region and influencing practice both within DFAT and among other donors and practitioners.

  • Gender lens incubation and gender lens investing, which are not yet mainstream, require a degree of awareness raising and capacity building to encourage adoption across the Asia-Pacific region.

    • Introductory guidance is needed to help make the concept of a gender lens relevant.
    • Tools are necessary to and provide practical advice for applying this concept to organisations’ operations and investment decision making processes.
  • Capacity building tools should be designed with stakeholders to ensure relevance and effectiveness of support delivery.

    • Determining what works within a specific context and environment, calls for small, controlled experiments and work with stakeholders to design capacity development tools.
    • Applying a gender lens requires an acknowledgment that the process takes time and dedicated resources to get it right—and even then, it will likely continue to evolve and adapt to changing contexts.
  • Donors are well placed to promote the application of a gender lens across all programs to promote inclusive poverty reduction.

    Collaborative partnerng can furthering the application of a gender lens in the region through commitments and providing platforms for collaboration and collective exploration and action.