We are glad to present the 10 winner projects of the Inequality Challenge:

Assessing BRAC’s Innovative Health Loans in Protecting the Poor against Health and Asset Vulnerability in Bangladesh

BRAC University James P. Grant School of Public Health, Bangladesh

Challenge: Through less healthy working and living conditions, the poor are especially exposed to the risk of ill health while lacking access to formal credit and insurance. Since 2013, BRAC runs its Medical Treatment Loan (MTL), offering medical loans with individually defined, repayment schedules to microcredit clients in need of medical care. However, demand of MTL remains low in general and several access barriers have been identified for the most vulnerable group of clients.

Objective: The project seeks to address these challenges by complementing the existing MTL programme through a decentralisation and digitalisation reform, as well as through innovations in product design.

Target Group: Primary target group for the MTL program is the pool of existing microcredit clients. Bulk of these clients are poor, currently constituting about 24.3% of the population.

Ways of implementation: BRAC will include three additional elements to expand the MTL model, following an experimental model to allow for better monitoring of impacts, implementation processes and costs. To enhance inclusion in the programme and increase speed of reimbursement, the project aims at a) shifting the verification procedure from the district to the village level; b) integrating enrolment and disbursement procedures in the existing BRAC digital information system; and c) testing group vs. individual eligibility, through the establishment of partnerships with BRAC Enterprise Loan Division and local businesses.

Malabika Sarker and Manuela De Allegri presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Michael Uwemedimo presenting his project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Narrative Geographies: Community Mapping and Media in Nigeria

Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform (CMAP), Nigeria

Challenge: Port Harcourt’s informal waterfront settlements are low-lying, flood-prone and with poor access. Residents experience extreme social and spatial inequality and have only limited access to educational and employment opportunities, to health services as well as a lack of voice in municipal decision-making.

Objective: The project aims at connecting a community media initiative and a participatory mapping project that allows residents of the city’s informal settlements to voice their experience and put themselves on the map.

Target Group: Young slum dwellers, particularly young women, who live in Port Harcourt’s informal waterfront settlements.

Ways of implementation: Mapping allows for an evidence-based discourse of engagement, while a community media initiative amplifies a citywide discourse. The project will create a radio drama and discussion series set in the waterfront slums. A mapping team will produce Google Street View maps of communities the drama is set in. The radio drama explores residents’ everyday experiences of urban design and urban violence. Scenes for the series will be performed and recorded in the streets being mapped and embedded in the Street View archive.

Fair Share project

Oxfam, Brazil

Challenge: Brazil is one of the ten most unequal countries on the planet. While the top 10% spend 21% of their average income on taxes, this share is 32% in the case of the poorest 10%. Without a meaningful and progressive tax reform, there will be no structural change in inequalities.

Objective: The project will develop a tax calculator that will provide basic information on citizens’ current individual tax burden, simulating new and fairer tax burdens under scenarios of progressive tax reforms, in order to shift the terms of the debate on tax from ‘less taxation’ to ‘fair taxation’.

Target Group: The bottom 40% of the population, whose average incomes are no bigger than R$ 577,00 (150 EUR) per month, less than a Brazilian minimum wage. The black population and specifically black women are the ones most penalised by the tax system. Proportionally, this group pays more tax than the top 10%, especially indirect tax, which accounts for 80% of this group’s tax burden.

Ways of implementation: The project proposed has three elements: 1) a content background development that will serve as a basis for the calculations and scenarios that will be transformed into a brief report; 2) the development of a detailed description of the methodology of the tool (so it can be used in other countries later); 3) the tax calculator in an online and in an offline version (electronic scoreboard) to be used to communicate and campaign.

Samantha Federici Florence Teixeira and Rafael Georges da Cruz presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Aleksandra Sremčev and Sanja Kovac presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Tackling gender inequality in Serbia through theatre based education among most vulnerable groups

Serbian Association for Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH), Serbia

Challenge: Gender divisions in Serbia are still very strong. Especially (younger) men are least likely to make authentic efforts to understand the positions of women in society.

Objective: The project aims at challenging and changing conservative gender related attitudes and behaviour among youth in five Serbian cities through theatre-based education. Thus changing adopted gender related attitudes, expectations, norms and behavioural patterns, bringing genders closer together, overcoming the re-produced conservative power relations, enhancing non-stereotypical, non-discriminative and non-violent relations.

Target Group: Young Roma and Returnees between 14 and 27 of both gender in 5 Serbian cities (Belgrade, Niš, Kruševac, Zaječar, Pirot). Those young people have grown up in turbulent times, often in cultural and economic isolation, without adequate social care and in poverty.

Ways of implementation: The project will trigger guided discussions about gender roles via theatre-based education, using an original stage play and scenarios produced by SRH Serbia. The production will be a collaborative effort between SRH Serbia and a professional playwright. There will be one simple rule for the play: all female parts will be played by male actors (adopting adequate grammatical genders, gestures, mannerisms, etc.) and vice versa. Thereby letting participants witness ‘typical’ gender topics, situations or problems from a changed viewpoint.

Water Farming for Climate Resilient Agriculture and Disaster Preparedness in India & Bangladesh

South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE), India

Challenge: Waterfront communities in India and Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to natural disasters that eventually induce societal risks of migration and trafficking.

Objective: The project builds capacities in hydroponic farming and aquaculture for marginal indigenous communities in the floodplains as an adaptive mitigation in the climate milieu for vulnerable indigenous communities assuring food security, sustainable livelihood and financial inclusion towards disaster preparedness.

Target Group: 85% inhabitants of the targeted Bangladeshi waterfront community live below poverty line and mostly consist of indigenous groups like mishing and aapatani tribes. In India, the extremely poor tribal communities like Musahar and Madhesi, who still survive on the corps of rodents during flood periods, form the target group.

Ways of implementation: The project will sensitise the community and do a need assessment, resource mapping and vulnerability indexing, followed by trainings on hydroponic farming as well as workshops on disaster preparedness, risk aversion and crisis management. In each village, village disaster management groups will form. This will be accompanied by a village level campaign for inclusion and LNOB in formation of those Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) to ensure gender equitable grouping and shared values. The JLGs will be registered at state level financial institutes, banks and national organisations.

Dipayan Dey and Joy Dasgupta presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Byoung Hwa Hwang presenting her project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Cl♀sing the Gap: Women Empowerment through Digital Financial Services in Jordan

Improving Access to Remittances and other Financial Services through Digital Solutions (Digi#ances), GIZ Jordan

Challenge: In Jordan, the gender gap in access to finance stands at 30%, which is three times higher than the global average. Less than one of three Jordanian women have access to a bank account. In general, digital technologies (especially mobile payment) have extended the access to financial services for those at the bottom of society. Mobile money agents function as ‘human touch points’ to enter the digital financial ecosystem. However, of the roughly 1,200 mobile money agents in Jordan, only a handful are women.

Objective: The project aims at developing a women’s agent and empowerment network for female micro, small and medium (MSME) entrepreneurs who will be trained as mobile money agents to provide better access to digital financial services for women. The project wants to empower women by giving them an active role in advancing their financial and economic inclusion and actively closing the gender gap.

Target Group: Female MSME entrepreneurs form the target group of the project. It is expected that they will have a multiplier effect on other women in their communities.

Ways of implementation: 100 women will be trained as mobile money agents and form a network. They will also be equipped with tailored, multidisciplinary learning sessions to enhance their capabilities as entrepreneurs, so they can grow their businesses. Through subsequent community learning sessions, the women agents will pass on this knowledge and generate further multiplier effects in their communities.

Disability Data App (DDA) in Cambodia

Social Health Protection Program (SHP), GIZ Cambodia

Challenge: People with Disabilities (PwD) in Cambodia are often excluded from participating equally in society. Absence of baseline data makes it difficult to effectively advocate for inclusion and to actively target PwD by government and society. Due to their different functional limitations and environment they live in, PwD have different (un)met needs and barriers to overcome.

Objective: The project wants to tackle the exclusion of PwD by involving the disability community in collecting disability data to fill the information gap as an advocacy tool.

Target Group: The direct target group are Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) that are representing PwD. The ultimate target group are people with disabilities in Cambodia.

Ways of implementation: The project will develop a Disability Data App to collect disability data from a multi-sectorial perspective and allow DPOs to collect data from a PwD perspective. The app thus enables DPOs to map PwD profiles, to actively raise awareness at all levels about service utilisation and unmet needs, barriers, priorities and potential solutions to advocate for inclusion by influencing local and national plans and decision taking processes.

Fried Lammerink presenting his project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Franziska Gehrmann and Nils Fürköther presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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From trash to cash – through crowdsourcing and local economic development to social inclusion of marginalised groups in Mauritania

Programme de Renforcement de la Décentralisation et des Finances Publiques, GIZ Mauritania

Challenge: The Tagant region belongs to Mauritania’s poorest areas. The population of the Haratin, former slaves or descendants of slaves, constitutes 40% of the overall population. After slavery was criminalised in Mauritania in 2007, they were partly released into liberty but are still structurally marginalised. The revenue base in the municipalities of Tagant is low and local authorities have a weak capacity to mobilise own source revenues. As consequence, the quality and quantity of local service delivery is weak.

Objective: The project aims at improving the quality of local waste management and boosting employment creation through combining crowdsourcing and local economic development, thereby including marginalised people.

Target Group: Haratin women and in particular women-led Haratin households are the target group of this project as they are over proportionally affected by discrimination, a low quality of local service delivery and extreme poverty.

Ways of implementation: The project combines crowdsourcing and local economic development. Local economic development (LED) seeks to improve the comparative advantage of cities, strengthens investments and encourages a sustainable use of resources. Crowdsourcing means to outsource deliverables through the public or the private sector to a network of people in the form of an open call. The local population, the so-called ‘crowd’, submits solutions to the problem. The contributor of the solution is in return compensated monetarily. The project will use this combined approach to improve the local waste management It creates a win set between local government and its citizens by enhancing the quality of service delivery, creating employment, boosting the local economy and improving social inclusion.

Improving the Accessibility of TVET Schools in Mongolia

Cooperative Vocational Training in the Mineral Resource Sector Project, GIZ Mongolia

Challenge: Out of Mongolia’s 3 million inhabitants, around 100,000 live with some type of disability. One third of them live in the capital Ulaanbaatar which also has the only Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) school that provides programmes to People with Disabilities (PwD). The other 85 TVET schools do not provide such programmes or are accessible for PwD. Due to lack of accessible buildings of TVET schools, the majority of PwD currently do not have proper access to formal quality TVET and as a result, they do not benefit from employment opportunities in Mongolia.

Objective: The project aims at improving accessibility to TVET schools in Mongolia and as a result, PwD will have a better chance of receiving a formal TVET and increase their employment and living standard.

Target Group: The project targets (young) people with disabilities. Additional beneficiaries are university and TVET students from the construction sector as well as unemployed citizens who will improve their employability through increased practical skills in the process of construction and renovation of accessible measures.

Ways of implementation: The project will develop a mobile application that enables TVET schools to conduct a self-assessment. Moreover, there will be a joint renovation competition (a ‘Buildathon’) among students of universities and TVET schools to improve accessibility at selected TVET schools. Moreover, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection will give an accessibility certification in partnership with a Disabled People Organisation to TVET schools upon successful external assessment, thus raising more public awareness and appreciation for committed TVET schools.

Mungunsor Chimeddorj and Navchaa Tumurbaatar presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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Alejandro Manriquez and Cristian Franco Canseco presenting their project at the kick-off workshop in Berlin, 15 June 2018, © GIZ.

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LNOB Benchmarking

El Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (CONEVAL) and Iniciativa Agenda 2030 (GIZ Mexico)

Challenge: Although Mexico progresses towards the 2030 Agenda, it faces multiple challenges. One key issue relates to the implementation of the principle of leave no one behind (LNOB).

Objective: The objective of the project is to provoke a ‘benchmark competition’ for the best LNOB-performance between local governments. It wants to achieve that by developing and disseminating a digital platform that will allow contrasting the performance of Mexican local governments (municipalities) in LNOB-relevant indicators of the 2030 Agenda. The platform enables citizens to access comparable information between municipalities that share common traits. By these means, the LNOB benchmarking aims at generating positive effects on living conditions of discriminated and vulnerable groups in Mexico.

Target Group: Mexican local governments/municipalities, NGOs and civil society organisations that represent vulnerable groups (e.g. indigenous communities).

Ways of implementation: The idea will be implemented through three components: 1) develop a georeferenced and interactive digital platform; 2) execute a digital and physical communication campaign; and 3) sponsor several peer-learning mechanisms, to foster the use of the platform and the exchange of best practices between the relevant actors.