February 11, 2020

Building on years of existing work and partnerships, Criterion Institute launched the Power of Policy Program this February of 2020. Through a combination of training, research, institutional engagement, field building, and communications, the Power of Policy program works with government agencies and their partners around the globe to ensure that innovative finance advances social and gender equality. This quarterly newsletter will serve to share highlights, key findings, updates, and opportunities to engage.

Quarterly Highlights

  • Introducing the Power of Policy Advisory Committee
    A powerhouse of global advisors has joined the newly formed Power of Policy Advisory Committee to provide guidance and amplify our efforts to influence government actions on gender-transformative financing. Learn more about them and what they bring to our program by visiting our website.
  • Applying a Gender Analysis to Blended Finance Infrastructure Deals with Convergence
    Criterion Institute has worked alongside Convergence Blended Finance over the past few months to provide a suite of gender advisory services, including support on the development of Convergence’s gender strategy. This partnership will culminate with the release of a forthcoming white paper focused on applying a gender analysis to blended finance infrastructure deals, combining the expertise of both organizations. Stay tuned for the final version in our next newsletter.
  • Valuing Civil Society’s Role in Impact Investing
    Recognizing the important contributions that civil society can bring to market analysis and impact investing, the Power of Policy team compiled recommendations for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s gender branch to bridge and accelerate involvement of civil society organizations in impact investing. The brief was informed by stakeholder conversations with Plan International Australia, World Vision Australia, and Save the Children Australia drawing on their experiences considering an impact investing approach.


Enabling a more inclusive menstrual health and hygiene market in Southeast Asia with UNICEF
In May, we hosted a series of three virtual design sessions to brainstorm initial insights that had been developed through desk research and stakeholder conversations. The sessions focused, respectively, on designing a menstrual health impact bond, integrating a menstrual health lens in investments in WASH and the circular economy, and analyzing the concept of menstrual health market formation. Each of the sessions was well-attended and included stakeholders from the financial sector, government and multilaterals, social enterprises, and NGOs. From these sessions and the extensive research conducted over the past several months, Criterion wrote a series of action-oriented opportunity briefs.

Analyzing Power in Pacific RISE’s Investment Portfolio
Pacific RISE is a DFAT-funded pilot program aimed at developing the impact investing marketplace in the Pacific with a focus on women’s economic empowerment. This winter, our team analyzed the social impact enterprises and vehicles in the Pacific RISE Investment Portfolio and developed a framework to review power dynamics in impact investing.This framework includes analysis on how and whose knowledge was valued, who participated to decision making, how access to capital (or investability) was assessed, and what risks were prioritized or mitigated. Building on this framework, we submitted a policy brief to DFAT outlining opportunities for the agency to consider where gender and power could be addressed in financing and design of COVID-19 economic recovery and response efforts.

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