FinEquity Blog

GIZ Helpdesk 2.0 – Collaborative Problem Solving for Women’s Financial Inclusion

GIZ's new Helpdesk brings together a variety of WEE experts to solve tough challenges.
Woman working on laptop in office


“How can we establish a holistic approach to gender, that goes beyond a reflection on total numbers and towards the tangible benefits to women and households?” “How do we approach gender-based agency banking in a culturally sensitive environment?” Finding answers to such questions is a challenge for anyone interested in women’s financial inclusion. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could easily pick other gender experts’ brains to inspire fresh ideas to solve the challenges you are facing?

To help GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) staff working on gender issues to find solutions to challenges they encounter in their work, we – the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Team at GIZ – started a new kind of Helpdesk on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

How it works

Organized as a collegial brainstorming session, the “Helpdesk” provides a framework to pool cross-sectoral gender-related knowledge from across the organization. By offering this innovative modality we bring together various perspectives in the search for meaningful and practical advice to foster women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment in GIZ’s project operations.

Every month, GIZ colleagues are invited to present a specific challenge they are facing in their work on women’s financial inclusion in a short (5-10 min) slide deck presentation. Each monthly Helpdesk meeting then focuses on one pitch chosen by the WEE team. The pitch is then presented at the monthly meeting and followed up by a brainstorming session.

A pitch can cover many different aspects and stages of an ongoing or planned project. For example: the specific challenges of reaching certain target groups such as women entrepreneurs; incentivizing implementation partners to increase gender-sensitive product development efforts, or how to best deploy additional funding to promote women’s financial inclusion.

Ideas developed during the brainstorming session are documented and circulated to all participants later the same day by a point person on the WEE Team. In many cases, bilateral follow-ups – often between colleagues working in different departments– take place as a result of the exchange. This generates innovative solutions to dealing with the presented gender challenge.

Over time, we tested different modi operandi and tweaked our Helpdesk model to achieve the most effective mix and number of participants and to take into account the pre- and post-administrative workload. As a result, we moved from hosting a 90-minute Help Desk session every other month to one 45-minute Help Desk session a month.

The Moderators

The moderation rotates between members of the WEE Team. Ideally, there should be two people assigned to each Help Desk session, with both sharing responsibility for the moderation and preparation of the upcoming call. This includes communication with the presenter, quality checks on the presentation as well as the identification and invitation of internal colleagues and external experts who possess the potential to provide the needed knowledge for the challenge at hand.

The Pitches

Since the start of the Helpdesk in March 2020, four challenges have been pitched:


Feedback within the WEE community at GIZ has been great so far.

Within a very short amount of time, we received solution-oriented inputs from real practitioners. No need to search for gender experts from multiple disciplines; no need to request and arrange individual calls with different experts; with one short presentation, we entered an arranged setting to capture all inspirations by a pool of experts.

Gabriela Rosales-Rogge, Head of Financial Sector Component, GIZ ProEcon Program Mozambique

With this new approach, we have been successful in helping GIZ gender-focused colleagues navigate important challenges in their work, and encourage interested readers to test our model, tailoring it to their own needs.

Stay tuned for further news about the GIZ Helpdesk 2.0 on the FinEquity blog, and please free to reach out to GIZ’s WEE Team with any questions. We’re always happy to provide advice on this initiative, which we believe can be a great help in furthering women’s financial inclusion around the world.

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