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Request for Proposals: Research Initiative to advance Women’s Economic Empowerment

Request for Proposals: Research Initiative to advance Women’s Economic Empowerment

Deadline: 25-Nov-20

WEE-DiFine, a Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) led initiative with the funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is requesting proposals for research projects that enhance the understanding of the role of digital financial services in the economic empowerment of women by generating evidence on the causal mechanisms between the two.

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WEE-DiFine is a research initiative, which aims to generate a comprehensive body of evidence around the impact of digital finance on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and the causal mechanisms between the two through funding rigorous research studies across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Financial inclusion or access to finance has an impact on many aspects of the lives of poor and marginalized people. It helps them smooth consumption and absorb financial shocks, and some evidence points to the potential for financial inclusion to facilitate productive investments in education and commercial enterprise. Digital finance also has the potential to empower women economically through various pathways. However, there are currently only a handful of rigorously designed studies from very specific population samples that demonstrate the impact of digital finance on WEE.


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This call for proposals is dedicated to funding for the following categories:
Large-scale Greenfield Evaluations: Intended for greenfield projects explicitly designed on strong theoretical grounding to target key questions in the initiative’s research agenda.
Extensions to Existing Studies: Intended to add extensions to existing experimental research designs that would yield results of central relevance to the initiative’s research agenda. Researchers often lack the funding for accommodating the necessary sample size that would allow decomposing the mechanisms mediating the impacts of interventions, particularly in randomized control trials (RCTs) for impact evaluations. Alternatively, researchers may not have the budget to effectively include a sufficiently large strata of women in an experimental sample, particularly in cases where women are less represented than men. This tier of funding will enable researchers to add additional intervention arms, female strata to samples and/or other extensions to existing study designs, enabling researchers to investigate mechanisms influencing women’s economic empowerment. This tier of award is expected to yield results more quickly than funding for new projects, enabling funding to be distributed more evenly across the duration of the Initiative. As such, funding will be awarded to proposals that clearly focus on adding survey rounds or samples to current studies or adding a WEE-DiFine targeted treatment arm to an existing study.
Funding Information
Large-scale Greenfield Evaluations: The maximum award amount for this grant type is USD 500,000.
Extensions to Existing Studies: The maximum award amount for this grant type is USD 200,000.
Regional Focus: WEE-DiFine will support empirical research studies in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, as well as countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Eligibility Criteria
Researchers working in higher education institutes or other non-profit research institutes are eligible to apply for funding though their institute. Graduate students working with a research adviser are also eligible to apply. They will only accept proposals submitted by an individual researcher who is not institutionally affiliated in exceptional circumstances in which the researcher has a demonstrated record of high quality research.
A single institution is allowed to submit multiple proposals during the same call for proposals. A single researcher can also be included in more than one proposal. If multiple proposals are submitted, the researcher and/or institutions involved should have the capacity to conduct the research according to the proposed timelines.
Institutions can apply as a single institution as well as in partnership with multiple institutions. In case of a partnership, one institution must be identified as the lead institution, which will be responsible for submitting the proposal. Only the lead institute will have a contract with BIGD and will be responsible for the successful delivery of the project.
For more information, visit https://bigd.bracu.ac.bd/all-projects/womens-economic-empowerment-and-digital-finance/request-for-proposals/

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