Lessons Learned from the AWE Virtual Learning Series on Engaging the Private Sector for Inclusive Development Outcomes
In November 2022, Advancing Women’s Empowerment (AWE) launched a global online learning series focused on how USAID Missions, development practitioners and the private sector can engage and work together to increase women’s empowerment and inclusion in agriculture and market systems. The Virtual Learning Series is currently ongoing, with the third and final session of the series scheduled to launch in June.
Origin of the AWE learning series
The AWE Learning Series was first launched as a regional Learning Seminar Series conducted with USAID Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 2021 and 2022. Findings from a global needs assessment conducted by AWE showed that Missions had a strong interest in how to advance inclusion outcomes in programs through co-creation and private sector engagement. Missions were also highly interested in engaging in peer learning and exchange with other Missions in their region to share cultural and contextual challenges related to women’s empowerment and inclusion. Using this information, AWE worked with the LAC Missions to codesign a series of three participatory learning seminars around the overarching theme of “Increasing Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture and Market Systems through Co-Creation and Private Sector Engagement.” Each learning seminar focused on a different subtheme within the overarching theme. AWE captured learning shared by Missions following every seminar; learning summaries from the series and the seminar learning briefs can be found below.
This seminar focused on how Missions can find alignment with the private sector by collaboratively identifying inclusive agriculture systems goals and results; working with implementers and private sector partners to codefine shared value, additionality and economic incentives for inclusion and empowerment; and reviewing and articulating how alignment supports and achieves both Mission and private sector goals.
- Blog Post: Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment through Private Sector Engagement
- Seminar 1 Learning Brief: Getting to Shared Value: Creating Alignment with the Private Sector to Achieve Inclusive Development Results
In this seminar, AWE provided an overview of inclusive market research and highlighted ways in which it can be used to inform activity design. During the seminar, representatives from two USAID Missions showcased how applying an inclusion lens in market research was instrumental in the design of two flagship activities in the LAC region: the Generating Equity Activity in Colombia and the Transforming Market Systems Activity in Honduras.
- Blog Post: Using Inclusive Market Research to Increase Women’s Empowerment
- Seminar 2 Learning Brief: Designing A Strategy for Private Sector Engagement: Conducting and Using Inclusive Market Research
In this seminar, AWE provided actionable insights for USAID Missions to capture and apply evidence from engaging with the private sector. A representative from the USAID Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Hub introduced new standard PSE indicators and discussed the importance of measuring social inclusion through private sector engagement. During the seminar, a representative of USAID/Guatemala’s Creating Economic Opportunities (CEO) Activity discussed with partner Walmart the case for investment in social inclusion and what data can and cannot be measured.
- Blog Post: Measuring Transformational Results: A Snapshot
- Seminar 3 Learning Brief: Measuring Transformational Results: Engaging the Private Sector to Capture and Apply Evidence
AWE Virtual Learning Series
At the end of 2022, AWE built on learning from the LAC Learning Seminar Series and adapted it into a Virtual Learning Series while maintaining the focus on private sector engagement and women’s empowerment in agriculture and market systems. Feedback from LAC and global Missions showed that while they appreciate the opportunity to share and learn from one another, there are challenges with scheduling and staff availability. AWE decided to pivot the learning series to expand the opportunities and platforms for Missions to engage and open it to other stakeholders to add new perspectives to the conversation.
Through virtual “learning bursts” that include informational and participatory formats, AWE has broadened the audience of stakeholders from USAID Missions and implementing partners to also include private sector companies, universities and others to share lessons learned and best practices around the three learning subthemes from the LAC learning series. To date, AWE has published two learning bursts; Learning Burst 1 engaged participants around the theme of “Creating Alignment with the Private Sector,” while Learning Burst 2 focused on “Conducting and Using Inclusive Market Research.” Learning Burst 3 will focus on “Measuring Transformational Results” and is anticipated in June 2023.
Through the learning bursts, new perspectives, especially from the private sector, have surfaced and furthered the conversation. As an example, during the recent Ask the Expert event as part of Learning Burst 2, a private sector food company shared how it used inclusive market research to develop a healthy snack product targeted at kids to support working moms and how this benefited its business through a higher entrance into the market than originally anticipated. For more information on learning and resources shared during Learning Bursts 1 and 2, please see below:
Learning Burst 1
- Learning Series Kickoff Recap: How Can We Increase Women’s Empowerment Through Co-creation and Private Sector Engagement?
- Alignment with the Private Sector Achieves Inclusive Development Results
- How Do You Find “Common Ground” for Women’s Empowerment with the Private Sector?
- Creating Private Sector Alignment for Women’s Empowerment in Colombia: The Cacao Effect
- PSE and Gender Profile: Kenya Macadamia Export Development Initiative
- Learning from Private Sector Approaches to Inclusive Market Research
- Interview Insights — Inclusive Market Research Methods of the Private Sector
Learning Burst 3 — Coming soon!
Learning Burst 3, focused on “Measuring Transformational Results,” is set to launch in June 2023, so if you haven’t already signed up to participate in the learning bursts, sign up online.
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