Projects

Global Learning Partnership for Women's Economic Empowerment & Digital Financial Inclusion

2018-2023

Project Overview

Objective

To serve as the global learning partner for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Digitize, Direct, and Design (D3) Initiative which is part of the Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) team’s women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion (WEE-FI) strategy.

Project Motivation

Over a billion women globally do not use or have access to the financial system – limiting their ability to save, access credit, and control their income. The foundation is committed to generating evidence from digitizing bulk payment programs, such as social protection payments, as a catalyst for financial inclusion and economic empowerment for low income women and to reducing the significant gap in financial inclusion in low and middle income countries between women and men.

Partners in Progress

  • Harvard Kennedy School Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD)
  • Microfinance Opportunities (MFO)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
  • World Bank G2Px
  • GRID Impact
  • Strategic Impact Advisors

Prepared For

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Mathematica serves as the global learning partner for this two-phase project with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gender Equality and Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) teams’ investment in improving women’s economic empowerment through digital financial inclusion. The project aims to support the digitization and gender-intentional design of bulk payment programs, in order to direct payments into accounts owned and operated by women. Known as the Digitize, Direct, and Design (D3) Initiative, this is a key investment for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Women’s Economic Empowerment and Financial Inclusion (WEE-FI) strategy. In Phase 1 of the project, we focused on developing a global evaluation strategy and learning agenda around government-to-people (G2P) payments in three target countries. In Phase 2 of the project, Mathematica has been working on an expansion of the strategy to cover all nine of the FSP priority countries as well as additional payment types including wage digitization and humanitarian payments.

Mathematica's work on implementing this expanded strategy will be to provide insights into which D3 interventions add value to women’s lives, whether these impacts are robust across geographies, and which D3 principles need further refinement and study. We are also implementing an evaluation of wage digitization in Bangladesh and supporting the foundations broader WEE-FI strategy through analysis of financial inclusion data in the priority countries.

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In 2020, following the COVID-19 crisis, we began working with the Gates Foundation to expand our learning partnership beyond its original focus on G2P payments in three countries to learning opportunities related to the rapid expansion of digital financial services across all bulk payment types, including B2P and D2P. This more expansive approach to learning about how governments, NGOs, and the private sector have quickly rolled out digital cash transfers and wages to help women be more resilient in the face of the pandemic, will allow the FSP to incorporate lessons learned in real time.

- Nancy Murray, Vice President; Director of International Research, Mathematica

Related Staff

Nancy  Murray

Nancy Murray

Vice President; Director of International Research

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Jane Fortson

Jane Fortson

Senior Director, International Research

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Sara Litke-Farzaneh

Sara Litke-Farzaneh

Researcher

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Delia Welsh

Delia Welsh

Senior Researcher

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Anitha Sivasankaran

Anitha Sivasankaran

Senior Researcher

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Abbie Turiansky

Abbie Turiansky

Researcher

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