Applying design to gender equality programming
This case study explores the application of design methods and tools in women’s rights programming and feminist grant making - both areas that are, despite growing interest and evidence on potential benefits, still rather underexplored. In 2018, following its first independent evaluation and with the aim to increase its grantees‘ qualitative impact, the Fund for Gender Equality, a grant-making mechanism of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, launched Re-Think. Experiment., an initiative exploring the potential for design to serve as a tool for innovation of programs. Through providing training in key principles of the design process and a safe space for experimentation, nine women-led civil society organizations operating in eleven countries have been equipped with tools and methodologies tailored to their needs to address specific project challenges. This case study introduces context, process and initial results of the initiative and discusses whether hopes for design to serve as a tool to foster innovation were met. Furthermore, it offers a critical reflection on its limitations, the need for contextualizing tools, and growing opportunities by marrying design methods with other social innovation disciplines.