News: Limestone to Assist MCC in Integrating Gender & Social Inclusion into Program Development

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US Government foreign aid agency, has awarded Limestone Analytics (Limestone) a $2.1 million contract to lead a consortium focused on gender and social inclusion (GSI) analyses. Over the next five years, Limestone, together with Social Development Direct and Causal Design will work with MCC to develop and implement guidance integrating GSI into MCC’s early analysis for designing development programs and projects.

Integrating gender and social inclusion (GSI) is critical to MCC’s approach to achieving poverty reduction through economic growth. MCC is working to consider GSI throughout programs life cycle: from the initial country selection and early analysis to the development and design of projects, project implementation, the monitoring of program results, and evaluation of program impacts. Limestone is aiding these efforts by helping the agency incorporate GSI analyses into the early stages of project design and planning.

Such efforts will help MCC more effectively work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and to promote equality and social inclusion more generally.  This is especially important as governments and organizations work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased many gender and social inequalities worldwide. 

During the five year project, Limestone Analytics will lead a consortium that also includes Social Development Direct and Causal Design. The project will review the existing approaches to integrating GSI considerations into MCC’s constraints and root-cause analyses, develop new consolidated guidelines, and apply them to select countries. The team composed of experts on GSI, economic analyses, and evaluation is well prepared to conduct the challenging project. 

“We will identify the alignment between the business case and gender and social inclusions; understand the barriers to opportunities and provide practical recommendations,” said Isabelle Cardinal, Technical Director at Social Development Direct. 

Inclusion and inequality issues are complex, often depending deeply on both institutional fabric and social norms. Understanding and addressing the underlying causes is critical for designing successful development projects and achieving better outcomes across different population groups. 

“Robust understanding of social norms and gaps in a given context is a critical starting point for any program,” said Bahman Kashi, President, Limestone Analytics. We will develop the framework to ensure that GSI analysis provides a good basis to i) identify patterns of disparity and ii) understand how gender and social inclusion characterize the economy and intersect with the binding constraints to growth.