A Letter From Aude de Montesquiou
Dear FinEquity Community,
I am delighted to follow in Diana’s steps as the new FinEquity Facilitator and am pleased to already know several of you from my previous roles working on economic inclusion of the poorest over the past 15+ years.
This is not my first role with CGAP, as luck would have it. I previously managed the CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Initiative with 10 pilots in eight countries and a thorough research agenda (Science) that garnered genuine enthusiasm for economic inclusion approaches that help the poorest and most marginalized on a path to increased assets, incomes and resilience. As the pilots matured, we grew a Community of Practice from a few pioneering NGOs to a global coalition for the economic inclusion of the poorest. In 2017, we co-created a new Partnership for Economic Inclusion at the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice of the World Bank to help governments scale up these programs through their social protection systems. The uptake of deeply targeted economic inclusion programs is tremendous: The State of Economic Inclusion 2021 (SEI) Report reveals that economic inclusion programs reach approximately 20 million households and benefit nearly 92 million individuals in 75 countries.
Over the past 18 months, I had the honor of working with the BRAC group as a Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the BRAC Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD). Working with partners, I was honing-in on the digital innovations that can increase the impact and scalability of programs. We were asking questions like, “When coaching and mentoring is the ’secret ingredient’ of so many programs focusing on women and vulnerable people, how can digitization help?” From apps that facilitate the management of savings groups, to intelligent client management systems that build in predictive analytics, innovations don’t replace the human touch but can complement human interactions to help decrease costs and increase effectiveness of programs. There is still a lot to learn!
Today, re-joining the CGAP family feels like coming home in terms of workplace culture, collegial spirit and fun, while my horizon is broadened through FinEquity’s diversity, ideas, energy and engagement—including in new geographies with FinEquityAfrica launching on September 20th.
The burning challenge I see on our collective agenda is making sure the financial inclusion sector keeps a relentless focus on gender equality as the world shifts to seriously tackling climate change—women should be central to every step of a “Just Transition.”
I very much look forward to working with all of you. Please do reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to say hello or share ideas and insights.
All the best,