OCTOBER 2020

Partnering with SheEO to Advance Process Metrics
Building on a collaboration between Criterion Institute and SheEO in the Money & Power podcast series, our team is partnering with SheEO to produce a set of unique process metrics that analyze power dynamics for the organization. SheEO is a global leader in the field of gender lens investing for their approach in supporting ventures led by women and non-binary people using an ecosystem-based model that highlights the value of radical generosity and building trust across all aspects of the investment process. We will capture the groundbreaking work that SheEO has proactively done to integrate considerations of power into their investment relationships and processes to develop a case study in how to operationalize process metrics. For more information on Criterion’s work on process metrics, check out our online resource.

Seeing Opportunity in COVID-19 Crisis and Disruption
In responding to the unique challenges posed to market systems in the Pacific Islands region due to COVID-19, Pacific RISE convened a working group of organizations in the process of designing funds to finance SMEs in the Pacific. Criterion was invited to the group to advise, support, and facilitate the process. Over months of research and participation in biweekly working group calls, our team constructed a temporal framework for responding to the crisis that includes different needs of SMEs at the response, recovery, and “new normal” stages that incorporate a gender and power lens to “build back better.” The efforts of the working group, funded by the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), are documented on the Pacific RISE website.

Gender and Infrastructure: An Emerging Focus for the Fall
In our July newsletter, we announced our partnership with Convergence Blended Finance. We are now excited to share the culmination of this work in our newly released white paper, Gender as Material to Infrastructure Projects: Reaching Better Outcomes by Applying a Gender Lens from Project Inception. As infrastructure emerges as a major focus of government stimulus in COVID-19 economic recovery, the Power of Policy program is embarking on several related projects this fall, including a partnership with UNICEF on addressing gender-based violence risk in infrastructure, a policy brief with DFAT’s gender branch on applying a gender lens to climate infrastructure investments, and follow-up from the cross-program effort at Criterion’s Convergence XVII convening where infrastructure was a major theme.

 

Reframing Resilience 

The Power of Policy team has been exploring for months ways to reframe resilience in COVID-19 economic recovery responses to integrate considerations of gender and power dynamics. To that end, we published a blog discussing this recent trend, which reflects on how to take a step beyond admiration for resilience to examine the underlying power structures which are facilitating or challenging resilient responses. 

This quarter, we also prepared a brief for DFAT that provides recommendations to ensure an equitable recovery. In this brief we argue that in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity to learn from the day-to-day resiliency of women and marginalized entrepreneurs in order to improve the power imbalances of the traditional economic system and to support the development of a more equitable market system.  

Launching this October: The Menstrual Health Trade Finance Vehicle 

Since 2018, Criterion has been partnering with organizations and enterprises to identify solutions to the challenges faced in building out the menstrual health market in the Pacific Islands region. After hosting two workshops with input from 41 social enterprises, and many months of collaborative work through the Australian government-funded Pacific RISE program, a trade finance vehicle was identified as the suitable financing mechanism to facilitate this unique opportunity. We are excited to announce that the first iteration of the vehicle will launch this October 2020, run by Red Hat Impact and Lotus Impact and advised by a board of menstrual health enterprises and industry and NGO experts. This unique vehicle will allow menstrual health enterprises in the Pacific to access more affordable materials to create their reusable menstrual products – while ensuring that the financing for the project is created to prioritize enterprise needs with an impact-first approach. 

 

Criterion Institute is the leading think tank using finance as a tool for social change.

We work with social changemakers to demystify finance and broaden their perspective on how to engage with and shift financial systems. We do this through a methodology and set of practices that move leaders beyond understanding finance to believing in their own ability to use financial systems to advance the social change we seek. Our research, training and institutional engagement allow leaders to be more effective agents of change, fueled by new hope that the change they seek is possible. Visit www.CriterionInstitute.org to find out more.


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