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 “We’re working with financial intermediaries and investors to build their understanding of why gender matters, why power matters.  Economic activity is all about people and we’re working with women’s organisations to train them in finance so that we can bring them together and have everyone speaking the same language.  That’s why it’s so exciting to be at the forefront of pioneering a social impact investment market in the Pacific (with the Australian funded Pacific RISE) so we can set it up with great systems and processes right from the start, where gender is baked into everything we do!”

Kate Wilson, Pacific RISE gender specialist.

Pacific RISE brought 15 Pacific experts together in Fiji to ask the questions – how can we use finance as a tool for social change? What can finance do for gender equality in our region? and how can a focus on gender expand opportunities for investors in the Pacific? The three-day workshop included training of a diverse range of civil society actors, private sector and government representatives to bring their expertise in the field of gender equality to the world of finance.

The training, using US think tank, the Criterion Institute’s TOOLKIT approach tailored for the gender experts from Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa, gave the participants the space to dissect financial concepts, understand the links between gender and finance and develop strategies to influence investment so that it works for all – especially women.

The training was facilitated by Joy Anderson who is one of the pioneers of gender lens investing and President of the Criterion Institute. Joy was joined by Pacific RISE’s gender adviser Kate Wilson who acted as a navigator for the participants drawing on her Pacific gender experience.

A unique element of Pacific RISE is its approach to investment deals.  It requires each investment to draw on both financial analysis and gender analysis to inform the overall assessment of risk and return and to pay attention to how social impact investing in the Pacific can improve outcomes for women and girls.  Financial intermediaries are successfully using this approach to consider how investors can have a better understanding of the unique business environment in the Pacific.

Pacific RISE partnered with femLINK to produce two videos that captured the TOOLKIT and the experience of the participants. One is a summary version, whilst the other follows the participants and the TOOLKIT in greater depth.

Pacific RISE – Understanding gender and finance

Pacific RISE – Using finance as a tool for social change