ANDE Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI) Action Labs Curriculum Building

D-Lab is working with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) to develop a tailored design curriculum for a series of global Action Labs as part of their Gender Equality Initiative.

ANDE Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI)

Women-led enterprises, women employees and women consumers are consistently underserved, in spite of evidence that investing in women in these roles leads to prosperity and innovation. 

Small and growing businesses (SGBs) are equipped to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 by promoting investments and effective support services for women-led SGBs, improving gender-inclusive employment practices, and scaling gender-focused business models. Through a variety of initiatives including the ANDE Gender Action Labs, ANDE seeks to increase their members’ contributions to SDG 5 in those three areas.

ANDE Gender Equality Action Labs 

Although effort and resources are already being allocated towards improving gender outcomes for small and growing businesses, inequalities persist. Evidence suggests that lack of will, lack of evidence, and lack of experience all contribute to the lack of progress. The ANDE Gender Equality Action Labs therefore seek to push sector participants from discussion to action: to finally put into practice new or not-yet-implemented-here solutions.

This 9-12 month series of virtual engagements, implemented in parallel in all eight of ANDE’s regional chapters, will convene practitioners and spark actionable collaborations at local and global levels of engagement to promote experimentation around solutions to systems-level challenges obstructing progress for ANDE members in achieving SDG 5 goals. The action labs’ curriculum follows D-Lab’s 4-stage design rhythm of Learn, Imagine, Create and Test  and incorporates our Participatory Design methods to support the Action Labs in systematic problem-solving that actively engages those experiencing the problem. 

By the time they wrap up at the end of 2021, each Action Lab is intended to produce 1 or more vetted ready-to-fund initiatives, backed by early-stage evidence supporting this initiative’s ability to generate its intended impact.

The program is also intended to serve as a prototype of a central, consistent, and sustainable model that can be replicated in ANDE’s other top issue areas.


Amanda Epting, MIT D-Lab Inclusive Business Manager