How the Private Sector Measures Social Inclusion Outcomes
As discussed in Engaging the Private Sector to Capture and Apply Evidence: Measurement Approaches to Inclusion, the private sector is increasingly recognizing the importance of shared value and focusing on the double bottom line of social impact and financial performance. As highlighted in Learning Brief 3: Measuring Transformational results: Engaging the private sector to capture and apply evidence, the concept of socially transformative interventions is relatively novel, let alone approaches to measuring the impacts of private sector-led women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and social-inclusion interventions. The development community, including USAID and implementing partners, are playing a growing role in supporting the private sector to identify appropriate ways to capture and apply data on social inclusion impacts in a way that adds business value. In other words, what is being measured must be important enough for a firm to collect and use this data for decision-making.
Given the heterogeneity of the private sector and the wide range of inclusive business practices employed by firms operating in low- and middle-income countries, it is paramount to develop measurement systems that align with firms’ capacity and incentives, as well as their commercial and inclusion objectives. The Advancing Women’s Empowerment Program (AWE) team identified examples of private sectors actors who have leveraged USAID and other development actors’ assistance to develop approaches to assess the commercial and social outcomes of their inclusive business practices. While many companies typically look at social inclusion metrics at the firm level (e.g., female representation in leadership, gender-sensitive policies, work/life balance), firms are increasingly interested in understanding how their business practices are garnering positive change at the household and community level.
An example of this is Uzima Chicken, a mission-driven company — active in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Kenya — that sells high-quality poultry products (day old chicks and feed). Uzima produces and supplies chicks through a network of agents, 46 percent of which are women, responsible for selling them on to rural smallholder farmers, typically underserved by the traditional poultry industry. This business model improves nutrition and creates income opportunities for smallholder farming households and sales agents alike. In order to ensure that Uzima products continue to provide social, financial and health benefits, Uzima frequently collects data from its agents and customers. Uzima is keenly interested in the extent to which its customers and agents, particularly women, have experienced positive changes as a result of their involvement with Uzima and periodically collects data on the following metrics: quality of life, income earned, way of farming and productivity, decision-making power, ability to successfully manage a business and household nutrition. These data capture efforts continue to prove insightful and valuable for Uzima, confirming their hypothesis that intentionally targeting women as agents and customers can have transformational impact at the household level, and thus reinforcing the firm’s commitment to integrating women in their business model as they expand.
“Through our business, our aim is to contribute to income diversification for women and youth, enhancing food security for rural families, and strengthening farmer resilience against climate-related challenges. These are all crucial aspects that align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, and 5. To assess the impact of our efforts in promoting improved bird species among farmers, we rely on direct communication with agents and smallholder farmers — the ultimate users of our birds. By gathering feedback from these people, we can make informed decisions as a company and measure the effectiveness of our initiatives.” — Andrew Basa, Business Development Manager, Uzima Chicken Ltd.
In 2020, USAID and PepsiCo launched a 5-year $20 million partnership through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative to promote WEE in agricultural supply chains across Asia and Latin America. The Investing in Women to Strengthen Supply Chains: Global Development Alliance (GDA) initiative seeks to make the business case for private sector investments in women’s empowerment in agriculture supply chains. An integral element of this initiative has been supporting robust monitoring and evaluation of pilot interventions to measure immediate and multiyear impacts on business and social indicators. This includes the development of the Supply Chain Empowerment Framework (SCHEF) intended to help companies to measure progress in increasing women’s economic empowerment and gender equity across supply chains. This tool considers WEE across a set of key domains that are within the sphere of influence of companies and most likely to provide business value. Some of these domains include:
- Work Conditions for Women, pushing workplace conditions, policies and facilities on farms and within other supplier organizations to be safe, equitable and more favorable for women.
- Women’s Status, targeting improvement to women’s voice, decision-making and self-efficacy; more equitable norms around leadership and land rights; and opportunities for women to move into new or upgraded roles.
- Women’s Access to Goods and Services, to give women ongoing, increased access to the goods and services they need to improve their economic situation (e.g., market information, financial services, childcare services, safe transport).
Similarly, McCormick & Company has partnered with USAID for more than 30 years “to combine development and business goals, simultaneously fostering human well-being and a strong global economy.” Through this collaboration with USAID and other development partners, McCormick & Company, the world leader in spice and flavor, is deeply committed to not only advancing women in the workplace, but also to help women thrive across their broader supply chains. One example of this commitment in action is McCormick’s work, alongside Care Impact Partners, to support women in farming communities, including in Indonesia where the company is supporting women to create their own cinnamon nursery businesses. To do this, McCormick is working through its Women’s Empowerment Framework (M-WEF), an impact driven tool to measure women’s empowerment in key sourcing communities, design programs to reduce inequality, and continuously track the impact of these initiatives on women’s empowerment. The M-WEF framework is based on survey-based analysis that is used to generate an Empowerment Score (E-Score) from multiple key performance indicators linked to a set of key outcomes, including reliable access to markets and systems, reliable inclusion in household and on-farm decisions, better nutrition and access to health and improve resilience and income, as shown below.
These examples showcase the types of metrics that the private sector can use to measure the commercial and social impact of their inclusion efforts, but above all, underscore the importance of developing right-sized measurement systems and frameworks that enable companies to collect and use data that add value to their business practices.