Finance, Employment & Skills Development
Our vision: Inclusive growth and economic opportunities for all
We address questions like:
- How can the practice of socially motivated FIs be improved to better service clients’ needs?
- How can financial service provision be tailored to conflict environments?
- How can government, industry and supervisory stakeholders support inclusive insurance with the aim of sustaining livelihoods of the vulnerable and poor?
- How can TVET be organised to meet the private sectors’ needs? How can micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs profit from and contribute to skills development?
- How can labour-intensive infrastructure development and cash-for-work approaches balance the goals of short-term job creation and contributing to wider change?
- How can refugees be integrated into the labor market and what are legal barriers?
Examples of our work:
Remote Ex-post Evaluation of a microfinance institution in Syria
Context: A Microfinance Institution in Syria was recapitalised to diversify its financial services. During the lifetime of the programme, the Syrian civil war started and tremendously changed the programme environment. In 2015, the programme was selected for an ex-post evaluation.
Services: We conducted the ex-post evaluation of the programme. It found that despite the challenges (high inflation, physical damages to branches, payment defaults), the MFI was still in business and serving its clients. Strikingly, it even had adapted its services to their clients’ changing needs (e.g. start-up loans for internally displaced persons, secure money transfers between branches).
Approach: Without being able to travel to Syria for security reasons, we remotely managed local consultants, who conducted focus group discussions and interviews in different regions of the country. We ensured the quality through initial coaching, close interaction and extensive debriefing. Among MFI staff, an online survey in Arabic shed light on the institutional changes and processes in the face of conflict.
Innovative approaches for skills development and employment promotion for Africa
Context: A very young and growing population in many developing and emerging countries require an increasing number of jobs. For this reason, German development cooperation is increasing its engagement to develop skills and improve employment opportunities. Addressing these challenges requires new and innovative project approaches.
Services: We summarized the key objectives and lessons learned taking a broad perspective on employment promotion: Jobs should not only increase in number but also be productive and safe, allowing for the provision of decent livelihoods. We assessed approaches that 1) strengthen framework conditions for employment, such as policy-based operations, 2) promote the private sector and innovation, such as venture capital, business development services or technical skills for SME employees and 3) support industrial zones as catalysts for regional growth and future-orientated labour intensive sectors, such as the emerging “green” construction sector.
Approach: We analyzed the current academic discourse on employment creation and the specific economic challenges different African regions face in order to establish criteria for the development of innovative approaches. Attractive two-pagers were developed for communication purposes, highlighting the main implementation modalities and impact of the approaches.
Developing a TVET approach for industrial parks in Ethiopia
Context: Ethiopia’s new industrial parks promise to provide sizeable employment opportunities for young people – including refugees - and particularly women with limited formal education and skills. The challenge of providing TVET and economic opportunities to refugee youth and host communities in remote areas goes beyond the opportunities that industrial parks can offer.
Services: In a multi-stakeholder workshop, we analyzed the occupational profiles required in an industrial park with local TVET authorities, TVET providers and private-sector actors. On the basis of stakeholder consultation and on-site visits, we proposed a methodology of arriving at innovative solutions for the provision of TVET and assessed possibilities to support the integration of refugees and youth from host communities into the TVET system. Proposed solutions included improving cooperation between public TVET institutes and industrial park companies to provide tailor-made training and to extend TVET to areas close to refugee camps.
Approach: With the help of participatory workshops, we analyzed private sector needs to inform the strategy of public TVET institutes close to industrial parks. On the basis of broad stakeholder consultations, a methodology was proposed on how to harness existing NGO experience to develop adapted modes of TVET delivery in regions close to refugee camps.