Gender Mainstreaming and Social Inclusion in Business Environment Reform (BER) Programs: The GESI Story of the Essor Program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Business environment constraints are not gender-neutral. This statement is contrary to the widespread perception amongst many business environment reform programs. Drawing predominantly from interviews with former Essor GESI advisors, as well as annual review and evaluation documents, the first part of this brief explores Essor’s GESI mainstreaming experience, identifying key successes and lessons learned from this journey. The second part of this report offers an updated framework for GESI in BER, as well as guidance for BER programs seeking to effectively mainstream GESI. This document is intended for BER practitioners, as well as donors financing BER programs.


Credit: Art work courtesy of Eddie Budiongo


Senior Consultant

I work across markets, business and supply chains, impact investing, agriculture, and women’s economic empowerment. I am an experienced monitoring, evaluation, research and learning consultant and project manager with expertise in the use of mixed methods, theory-based approaches and data collection and analysis. I have been working in M&E for market systems development for 10 years now, and going strong.