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Developing a GLI training with FinDev Canada

Together with FinDev Canada, we designed and piloted a 2X Fund Manager Training

We worked with FinDev Canada, one of the founding members of the 2X Challenge, to create a comprehensive training covering the foundations of gender lens investing, the ins and outs of the 2X Criteria, and the required first steps towards designing a gender strategy. The materials can be accessed via FinDev Canada’s webpage and used independently. We sat down with Natasha Bernardi to reflect on the experience of piloting the training to a group of fund managers, the importance of creating a GLI network and sharing experiences, and the response to the training so far.

4 questions with Natasha Bernardi, Impact officer at FinDev Canada

Natasha Bernadi, Impact officer at FinDev Canada
Natasha Bernadi, Impact officer at FinDev Canada

What is the 2X Challenge and why is it important?

The 2X Challenge started as a commitment by DFIs to mobilize private sector investment that provides women in developing markets with improved access to leadership opportunities, quality employment, finance, enterprise support, and products and services that enhance economic participation and access. The initiative was launched in 2018 and it has really become a benchmark and reference for any GLI investor, particularly the 2X criteria, which assesses the gender impact of potential investments. The criteria is a great starting point for conversations with clients on these topics. Building on the success of the 2X Challenge, we are now a part of the 2X Collaborative, an industry body for GLI, designed to serve investors making their first gender-focused investment, as well as investors at the frontier of the field. The 2X Collaborative provides members with access to peer learning networks, knowledge, co-investment platforms, partnership and training opportunities. This offers great potential in making GLI mainstream, and in really catering to different sectors and audiences, beyond the development space.

How can we best leverage technical assistance to push gender-lends investing (GLI) forward?

I think overall the next step is mainstreaming GLI and opening it up to a wider audience. The 2X Fund Manager Training was a project supported by our Technical Assistance Facility, with the goal to make these topics accessible for investors that are just starting out, and at the same time, cater to investors that have taken first steps but want to understand it further. When we offer the training to a group of different funds, we notice it’s a great way to create a network of investors that are interested in these topics and to facilitate exchanges on experiences, challenges, and best practice in different regions and sectors. There is often not a clear-cut answer to these (gender) topics, so it’s about enabling people to think of solutions that makes sense in the context in which they operate.

What are some of the challenges in developing a GLI training such as the 2X Fund Manager Training?

With any training, it can be very difficult to cater to everyone. Every sector and region of operation is significantly different and trying to find a common thread is challenging. With the 2X Fund Manager Training, we really made sure to leave a lot of room for conversations in the training – just hearing from a fund manager that they have struggled with the same issues is helpful, as well as understanding how they overcame the challenges. At the same time, we wanted to encourage people to use the training and adapt it, making it more sector or country-specific, if needed. So, one thing we did was to have the training materials intentionally made available in PowerPoint, so people can download the training and make it their own. We also offer ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions to enable even more people to give the training and promote GLI, to really increase the reach outside our own network.

What has been the response so far?

We had 360 downloads the first month we launched. And in terms of impact, after the pilot training, as well as the many in-person sessions we have facilitated, we received very encouraging feedback that the training makes GLI more accessible, and easy to understand! That’s incredibly promising. We are also reflecting on ways to respond to participants’ comments and ideas in terms of what else they want to learn about GLI – stay tuned!

This interview was conducted by our consultant Beatriz Ramos. Beatriz is based in Amsterdam. Reach out here: beatriz.ramos@stewardredqueen.com