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#SEEP2019 Member Table Talks 

Following the Annual General Meeting in the morning, attendees chose from a dozen Member-hosted tables for candid, small group discussions around innovative and tested member-led initiatives. SEEP members participated in two 35-minute rounds from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm on Monday, October 21. 

A. Fostering Economic Resilience through Women's Financial Inclusion: Perspectives from MENA 

Adriano Scarampi, MarketShare Associates

This session explored how improving women’s financial inclusion can contribute to strengthening households’ resilience, and what interventions have been most effective to achieve this. MSA drew from lessons working in the MENA region, including conducting research for CGAP among Syrian refugee communities in Southeastern Turkey, and implementing the Arab Women Enterprise Fund in Jordan, Egypt and the occupied Palestinian Territories.

B. How to Build the Business Case for Women's Empowerment

Julia Hakspiel, Arab Women's Enterprise Fund/MarketShare Associates 

By adopting business practices that include and support women, firms can make an important contribution to the process of women's economic empowerment, as well as expand their market, achieve greater business efficiency, and improve their bottom line. In this table talk, AWEF presented a practical framework for how practitioners can work with the private sector to develop a robust business case for women's economic empowerment.

C. A New Framework for Understanding Women's Empowerment 

Kaitlin Love, Ipsos | Meghann Jones, Ipsos 

Public and private institutions are increasingly interested in supporting women and girl's empowerment as a means to move forward the 2030 SDG agenda. However, across sectors practitioners still grapple with how best to conceptualize and measure empowerment. In response, Ipsos has developed a flexible framework for evaluating gender outcomes that has been field-tested across contexts. This session presented the framework and then open up to participants for their best practices in measuring and generating impact around women's empowerment. 

D. Inclusive Markets for Older People and People with Disabilities: Practical Guidance and Examples 

Diana Hiscock, ADCAP | Angela Kohama, Humanity & Inclusion  

To be truly inclusive and resilient, markets require the full participation of older people and people with disabilities. The Humanitarian Inclusion Standards for Older People and People with Disabilities helps to address the gap in understanding the needs, capacities and rights of older people and people with disabilities, and promotes their inclusion in humanitarian and development contexts. Participants enjoyed a candid discussion of barriers and facilitators for inclusion of older people and people with disabilities, and learned how the principles of inclusion are applied in livelihoods programs.

E. NutriChamps: Bangladeshi Businesses and Celebrities Join Forces to Increase Availability and Demand for Nutrient-Rich Foods 


NutriChamps is a televised, competitive cooking show, which challenges participants to create nutritious, tasty dishes out of nutrient-rich foods promoted by private sector companies. Catalyzed by private sector input supply companies, traders and retailers, NutriChamps was created to increase awareness and demand for biofortified zinc rice and other nutrient-rich foods. The goal is to increase availability, accessibility, and affordability of safe, diverse foods from farm to fork. Participants discussed this dynamic solution to leveraging the private sector for nutrition outcome. 

F. The Role of Savings Groups in Supporting Graduation from Social Safety Nets 

Aisha Rahamatali, CARE | Erin Lewis, The BOMA Project 

Savings Groups are increasingly promoted as a graduation pathway to support beneficiaries of national safety nets by serving as a platform to save, build resilience, access formal financial services, and ultimately reduce dependency on public support. Members of the SEEP Peer Learning Group discussed their 8-month deep dive focused on maximizing the potential of SGs within social protection programmingWalso explored the impact of mentoring, community engagement, and access to markets in improving group performance and supporting graduation. 

G. Savings Groups: Expanding Access to Financial Services for Refugees 

Richard Reynolds, VisionFund International

Savings Groups do not require legal identification, collateral, or investments in infrastructure, and can be integrated with – or operate independently from – formal financial services and digital payment systems. In this way, they appeal to refugees as many are already familiar with informal savings and lending. This SEEP Peer Learning Group focuses on the potential of Savings Groups to expand access to financial services for refugees and internally displaced people, and how best to replicate and scale successful approaches. Group members shared recommendations for making Savings Groups appropriate in refugee contexts, as well as tips for financial service providers developing a business case for serving these communities.

H. Savings for Youth: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?  

Helen Bailey, Itad 

Itad and the Savings Learning Lab held a discussion on a recent review of evidence on youth savings initiatives. The report is based on an in-depth review of 44 studies that examine the effects of a range of youth savings initiatives. We shared how we categorized the evidence and what we found by different outcome level results. During this discussion, we identified remaining challenges and reflected on learning priorities going forward.

I. SG2020: The Future of Savings Groups Conference 

John Schiller, SG2020 Technical Advisor 

SG2020: The Future of Savings Groups will take place on March 10-12 in Durban, South Africa, and offer a platform for attendees to connect, engage, and learn from each other about the challenges and opportunities they face in supporting Savings Groups worldwide. The SG2020 Agenda includes thematic discussions on women's empowerment; how to reach and better serve vulnerable populations; how to respond to the needs of youth; and how effective technologies and automated processes can promote transparency, group efficiency, and, ultimately, the scale, impact, and sustainability. Participants of this Table Talk learned more about the conference and reflected on the role of Savings Groups in contributing to the SDGs and promoting prosperity for people, now and in the future. 

J. What Interventions are Needed to Build Resilient and Productive Livelihoods of the Most Vulnerable? Insights from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, & Zimbabwe

Dan Norell, World Vision International | Michael Mulford, WVI Ethiopia | Richard Ndou, WVI Zimbabwe | Rakesh Katal, WVI Bangladesh 

The participants interacted and exchanged experiences with the three Chief of Parties implementing the USAID/FFP funded Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) on the following topics: a) Ethiopia - Male engagement in Savings Groups and nutrition programs to achieve better results in women’s economic empowerment; b) Zimbabwe - Producer/Savings Groups linkages with market actors, private sector and financial institutions; and c) Bangladesh – Private sector engagement in the agriculture sector. 

K. Becoming a MERS Focal Point: Benefits for You and Your Organization

Sonya Salanti, The SEEP Network | Karri Byrne, Independent Consultant

The Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) are internationally recognized standards for building economic resilience in fragile settings.  Under a new program supported by OFDA/USAID, SEEP is building a network of MERS focal points who will support and promote strong uptake and application of MERS in regions frequently affected by disaster and crises. Through in-depth training, user-centered resources, and facilitated learning opportunities, SEEP will build capacity of organizational representatives to serve as focal points within their institution and among partner organizations.  Attendees learned about the benefits of participating in this program. 

L. Building Resilience through Technology Adoption at the Community and Household Level

Katie Paguaga, Palladium

Agricultural production and processing technology can increase production volume, reduce post-harvest loss, increase availability of nutritious food, and generate income - but how can we ensure large-scale adoption? This session drew from lessons learned in layering interventions in target communities in Malawi. Our evidence shows that this systemic approach is leading to greater adoption of technologies to improve absorptive and adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in the face of shocks and stressors.


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