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Pathways to Scale & Collaboration with the Private Sector

Pathways to Scale & Collaboration with the Private Sector

Humanitarian Innovators Network – July 24th, 2019

Both Scaling, and Collaboration with the Private Sector, are consistently being discussed as two of the most problematic components of Humanitarian Innovation. The World Economic Forum recently published an article highlighting an in-depth research  on ‘Pathways to Scale’, with a specific focus on the Private Sector Engagement with Refugees. The article highlights valuable insights on the Private Sectors perspective on tools to collaborate better with the humanitarian sector, in order to for pilots to be scalable and thereby successful.

This extensive research into impact and scaling barriers was conducted by the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) together with The Bridgespan Group. Although the researched initiatives and case studies were focused on Private sector engagement with specifically Refugee’s, the research offers a set of common pathways for private sector engagement that go beyond funding. The findings also offers a case study example for each pathway where this approach has successfully been implemented in a Refugee context.

Pathways to Scale & Case Studies

Sharing Capabilities: Such as technology or technical expertise – to provide access to humanitarian assistance, education, or financial services

Case Example:

IrisGuard’s iris recognition technology has streamlined the process of registering and delivering services to refugees in Jordan and beyond. Refugees no longer have to wait at distribution points, are less susceptible to theft and corruption, and have more agency in how they receive assistance.

Extending Services: By adapting current business models to sell goods/services to refugees

Case Example:

For Equity Bank, which has made banking available to low-income families in East Africa for more than 30 years, reaching out to refugee groups is a natural extension of its financial inclusion work. Equity Bank now provides banking products and services to thousands of refugees in Northern Kenya and is looking to expand.

Enabling Employment: By providing job training and/or entrepreneurship support to refugees

Case Example:

Luminus Education is Jordan’s first private institute to provide employment training for refugee youth. 70 to 80 percent of Luminus’s refugee students find employment—and in some sectors, like hospitality, all of them do

Integrating into Value Chains: By hiring refugees directly and/or working with smaller enterprises that hire refugees through sourcing or subcontracting work

Case Example:

Sanivation is using an innovative approach to bring more hygienic sanitation
solutions and cleaner fuel alternatives to refugee communities in Kenya, while also providing a range of employment opportunities, from manufacturing to sales.

Building a Business: Through the selling of goods and services tailored to refugee populations

Case Example:

Inyenyeri’s innovative cooking system is addressing cooking needs, household air pollution, and fuel efficiency issues in refugee homes in Rwanda. This affordable, market-based solution aims to reach 3,500 households in Kigeme Camp and start expanding into several other camps in 2019.

Shared Criteria for Successful Impact & Scale

The research presented a clear consensus from key stakeholders that there are 3 critical, shared-criteria for successful impact and scale within private sector partnerships.

  1. Flexible Financing: A caller for smaller, flexible, need-based funding for proof of concept at pilot stage, that could aid the identification of risks and mitigation strategy ad prove their success.
  2. Cross-Sector Partnerships: Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. 80% of the respondents cited that collaboration with other sectors was the second most important in Private Sector Engagement engagement (number 1 being positive impact on the affected community)
  3. Investment Information: This refers to data from the field – Private Sectors do not have access to information concerning field context, local needs, and existing efforts. An informed investment would aid the collaboration from the start.

(Retrieved: Summary Report)

Alongside a needed shift in policy environment to enable these changes to be realised, the World Economic Forum article summarised the research findings as follows:

Perhaps most important of all is a change of mindset. We are at a turning point, and there is an opportunity to engage with refugees and refugee contexts in new and innovative ways. By seeing and interacting with refugees for the entrepreneurs and economic actors that they are, we can collectively promote self-reliance and create durable solutions. The private sector is by no means a cure-all, but it can be a central part of creating long-term solutions”.

DCHI look forward to continuing our increased engagement with private sectors. We will do this in order to realise greater impact within the Humanitarian Sector, whilst more efficiently using the expertise and resources that are already out there within the private sector.

To read the IFC report see here.

Image: Kakuma Camp in Kenya has an economy worth $56 million per year; Image: REUTERS/Baz Ratner. Sourced from World Economic Forum Article