There are four key elements that can help mainstream Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) across your programme.

There is no quick-fix when it comes to mainstreaming Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in your project. A recent overview of GESI mainstreaming in DFID’s Private Sector Development Programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) shows that if you can get four key elements in place then you can vastly increase your impact.

For those of us who have been pushing for many years for a greater focus on GESI outcomes it has been pleasing to see mainstreaming becoming a big focus for donors. However, I know that implementers worry about the resources required to do it properly. 

Certainly it is not straightforward; it can add costs, and can increase political or personal risk in some contexts. But ensuring women and girls have equal access to assets, education, capital and opportunities can drive positive results for your intervention beyond your equality indicators. 

The following four recommendations come from our recent review of the DFID DRC programme’s experiences:

  1. Get your ‘prep’ done early. The DRC programme’s results were strongest when it prioritised GESI mainstreaming before implementation. You will maximise your impact by commissioning GESI analyses and appointing expert personnel before implementation.
  2. Employ GESI experts. The appointment of GESI experts to work alongside a decentralised system of GESI ‘champions’ will pay dividends.
  3. Broaden the way you measure change. By looking at beneficial role change as well as traditional impact and outcome metrics, you can produce a more nuanced picture and provide your project with more meaningful lessons for the future.
  4. Be sure to adapt your approach. Scale up what works and stop doing what doesn’t. In the DRC the net result was that the project went beyond ensuring equal access and started to deliver truly transformational change.

Read the Learning Brief: Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Mainstreaming in DFID’s PSD programme in the DRC

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