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Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit for SMEs in Fragile Contexts

Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit for SMEs in Fragile Contexts

The Client and the Challenge

The client: AECF - Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund - is a non-profit development organisation that supports innovative enterprises in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors with the objective of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs. They primarily focus on the agriculture and renewable energy sectors as they are the sectors with the greatest potential for transforming lives across Africa. They also focus on the most vulnerable, including women, youth, and those living in fragile contexts.

The challenge: Doing business in a refugee or fragile context is not easy. Being (gender) inclusive as a small business makes a lot of business sense, but how to go about it? What are low-cost practices Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can adopt to mainstream gender and to become more inclusive?

The Solution

The solution: From September to December 2023, MDF worked on an interactive, self-assessment gender toolkit for SME owners. This dynamic resource helps them analyse how gender-sensitive their business is. The tool takes owners through six business elements to understand gender aspects. These are:

  1. Employees recruitment and retention
  2. SME's policies
  3. Training and development
  4. Products
  5. Services and clients
  6. Business leadership

The tool is fun and easy to use and offers a wealth of practical tips, hints, and easy-to-implement ideas on how to mainstream gender in business.

Types of service provided:

- Developed a web-based generic toolkit after interviewing 20 specific businesses in the refugee and host community context.

- Conducted training sessions with SMEs from Kakuma with the toolkit, resulting in gender mainstreaming actions for more inclusive SMEs by refugee businesses.

For general information