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A Year of Progress: GIF’s 2020 Impact Report Published

By Alix Peterson Zwane, CEO  |   Posted 25th March 2021

The onset of COVID-19 in March of last year had a profound impact on the way we all live and work, but particularly in the case of the world’s poorest people, who were disproportionately affected by the devastating health and economic effects of a virus that has eradicated decades of development progress, leaving more people in GIF’s target market than there have been in recent memory.

At GIF, we quickly turned our focus to the role that we could play in COVID response and recovery, and I am delighted today to launch our 2020 impact report which illustrates how we have used our flexible model, sector agnosticism, and appetite for experimentation and smart risk to play an outsized role in addressing the immense challenges the pandemic has inflicted on the lives and livelihoods of people throughout the developing world.

We worked hard in 2020 to protect our portfolio as part of our strategic pandemic response. Innovators across our portfolio were hit hard by COVID-19, whether through more or less demand for their products and services, impact on the health and wellbeing of their staff and their customers, or in some cases broader economic or regulatory factors, and we worked closely with the organisations in our portfolio to support them as they navigate these unprecedented challenges.

We also leveraged the GIF model to respond to the pandemic. We redirected our energy and resources towards investing in innovation that explicitly responds to the worst effects of the pandemic, working with partners to combine behavioural nudges with stay-at-home messaging, to improve the quality of information that pharmacies have about the virus, and to track infections and outbreaks in novel ways in low-income settings, to give just a few examples of the innovations we have funded this year.

Alongside our pandemic response work, I am so proud of the progress we made during 2020 in advancing our commitment to gender equality, not only in terms of the grants we have made to inspiring innovations like Breakthrough, but in the way that we have built gender metrics into our measurement of impact so we can better understand where to deploy our resources most effectively, incorporated a gender lens and gender analysis into our investment process, and developed online tools to help and encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to place gender equality at the forefront of their own thinking.

This report also tells the story of the impact we are seeing across our portfolio. Since we began investing in 2015 we have committed more than $100m to 51 innovations which, taken together, are on track to improve the lives of 130m people annually by 2030. Between 2015 and 2020, just five of our early investments generated more than $400 million in social benefits, and we project that our portfolio will have a catalytic impact around 200x greater than cash transfers.

None of our progress would have been achieved without our funding partners, whose steadfast support and guidance make our past, present, and future achievements possible.

I am proud of the way that our team adapted, worked hard, and met the moment in 2020, and I am delighted to launch an impact report which shines a light on the incredible innovations we have partnered with, the social impact that we have generated and expect to generate, and just as importantly, the many lessons we have learnt during such a unique and challenging year.