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Middle East and North Africa Gender Innovation Lab


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Our Mission

 While MENA is close to gender parity in education and health outcomes, gaps still exist in employment, earnings, financial and property ownership,  mobility, digital use and affordable access, and acquisition of soft skills such as decision making and leadership. Equally important is the dearth of disaggregated gender data, particularly on mobility patterns, women's business entry, finances, mobility patterns, and ownership.

 Jobs, assets, and decision making are key levers of change for women and fundamental drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction in the region.

The work of the MNAGIL is motivated by empowering women as a powerful tool for development in the MENA region.

More specifically, the Lab's strategy is to:

  • Develop a better understanding of "what works" for gender equality, by enriching the evidence base
  • Build more systematically on "what works", by bringing the evidence to policy makers, task teams, and clients

The Lab partners with the policymakers in the region to promote the use of evidence and learning for policy design, implementation, and reform. The Lab also engages with the operational teams at the World Bank to contribute to the design and implementation of innovative approaches that effectively target constraints to gender equality.  

 

Our Focus Areas

The MNAGIL has established three strategic pillars, the "3 As", to support the World Bank’s projects, government-wide programs, and partnerships to increase women’s economic opportunities in the MENA region.

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  • Advance women’s workforce development: Strengthen vocational and digital-related training for women to increase mobility and occupational choices. Low level of female labor force participation in MENA signals a strong need for investment in women’s education and skills, health, and nutrition. In this vein, it is crucial to promote fields relating to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and quantitative skills for girls and women, leverage technology and best practices to boost productivity, and support women in entry-level jobs.  
  • Accelerate access to financial capital and property ownership: Owning property (tools, livestock, land, jewelry), controlling finances (having personal bank account), and making an independent decision about resource use are critical for empowering women in MENA. A recent study by IFC notes that the MENA region has the second-highest female micro-enterprise financing gap (29%), a US$16 billion gap between the credit female entrepreneurs in MENA needs and the financing they receive. There is also a significant gender gap in account and property ownership in MENA. 
  • Accelerate women's voice and agency: Enhancing effective representation, participation, and decision making of women,  enforcing equal opportunity laws and regulations, and revamping cultural and social norms barriers that prevent women from participating in the economy, and engaging men, and boys. According to a recent World Bank study, in more than half of the countries in MENA, women are prohibited from working in specific industries. Furthermore, in 65% of the countries in the region, working outside of the house is perceived to be inappropriate and immoral for women. In many more countries, women are unable to inherit wealth and land as men do or open a formal bank account without permission from a male relative. 

 

Our Services

The MNAGIL designs, launches, and oversees rigorous Impact evaluation research [primarily using randomized controlled trials (RCTs)] to generate knowledge and innovative interventions to which policies can effectively work for closing gender gaps in the region.  MNAGIL also conducts inferential and research uptake, provides technical support, organizes workshops and learning events for stakeholders and funds qualitative deep-dive analysis to improve project design and implementation. Finally, MNAGIL partners with regional policy makers and development practitioners to bridge the gap between research and policy with the goal of continuously improving policy interventions to eliminate the many gender gaps in the region, especially in the context of conflict among refugees and displaced women.

The findings of the impact evaluations are published as policy briefs, research working papers, and other analytical reports with a strong emphasis on using the results for policy advice, policy dialogue, and policy implementations.

 

Our Focus Countries 

MNAGIL’s work focuses on Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank & Gaza, Yemen, and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. 

 

Our Partners

The MNAGIL works in partnership with units across the World Bank, aid agencies and donors, governments, non-governmental organizations, private sector firms, and academic researchers. The funding is supported through the World Bank Group's Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE).

Last Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Core Team

 

Lili Mottaghi

Head | Senior Economist

Email: lmottaghi@worldbank.org

Bio: https://blogs.worldbank.org/team/lili-mottaghi

Twitter: @LiliM_WB

 

Ganesh Seshan (Cross Support)

Senior Economist 

Email: gseshan@worldbank.org

 

Maha El-Swais (Cross Support)

Digital Communications Specialist

Email: melswais@worldbank.org

 

Shikhty Sunny

Consultant

Email: ssunny1@worldbank.org

 

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2019

The MNAGIL organizes open calls for expressions of interest (EOI) for technical and financial support of rigorous impact evaluations. Interested teams must submit a completed EOI form and follow the submission instructions on the form before the deadline. The MNAGIL Steering Committee decides which proposals to support based on eligibility criteria, funding availability, and the alignment of the proposal with MNAGIL’s key focus areas. Those teams whose funding is approved collaborate with the MNAGIL team on the development of the impact evaluation (IE) concept note, establishment of the evaluation team, and other IE implementation activities.

The MNAGIL announced its first call for EOIs in May 2019 (see our first call here) and future calls for EOIs will be announced here. While funding opportunities for ongoing activities are limited, please contact us if you would like to learn about opportunities to receive technical support or to explore funding possibilities.

For more information on MNAGIL, please contact Lili Mottaghi at lmottaghi@worldbank.org

 

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2019

NEWSLETTER

MNA Gender Innovation Lab (MNAGIL)

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CONTACTS
Lili Mottaghi
Head
Email
Bio
MNA Gender Innovation Lab (MNAGIL)
1818 H Street NW Washington, DC 20433 USA
Email




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