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GDI’s 2022 Year in Review

GDI is coming up on its eighth year since our founding in 2014. We continue to be guided by our core values: we stand on integrity; we follow our curiosity; we’re doers, not talkers; we embrace taking risks; and we see strength in diversity.  

This year, we’ve made big pushes in new areas that we see as fundamental to addressing the most pressing global challenges, including climate, migration, inclusive societies, and localization – the latter, both with our portfolio and within GDI.  

Portfolio: Climate, Migration, Economic Opportunity, and Inclusive Societies 

On climate, we are continuing to support Emergent, a global trading platform to create a new marketplace in large-scale transactions of high-integrity carbon credits at the jurisdictional level, and are now launching the Resilient Water Accelerator, a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to address water security challenges and unlock climate financing to fund these projects in emerging markets.  

On migration, we’ve launched the Migrants Resilience Collaborative in India (working with internal migrants), Refugee Investment Network (refugees), Malengo and Labor Mobility Partnerships (educational and labor migrants), and the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (human trafficking). Recognizing that we are working on a portfolio of efforts that have siloed the various migration communities, we’ve launched a broader push around “People on the Move.” 

In the employment and livelihoods space, we’ve continued to build the Global Opportunity Youth Network, a significant effort to implement place-based, collaborative solutions to youth unemployment and underemployment around the world. GOYN’s Convening in Bogota was the highlight of this year and a testimony to the achievements of the network since its 2018 inception. In East Africa, the Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond exceeded targets, sustainably improving the livelihoods of 95,000 East Africans — including 70,000 women and children. Our work with the Kenyan government on the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP) has started demonstrating the potential for positive transformation and uplifting of households out of extreme poverty. In the last 6 months, more than 7,000 participants have received a combination of training, support, asset grants, and mentorship. So far, the savings of the extreme poor has surpassed 7 million Kenyan shillings. KSEIP will generate evidence to inform the government’s continued investment in social economic inclusion.

Finally, with respect to building inclusive societies, our approach has been to support the foundations of those inclusive societies in a non-partisan and potentially transnational way. We’re launching Public Mind, which applies AI technologies to the conversations unfolding on social media to track, measure, and represent public opinion in a completely new way, and RedBrain BlueBrain (research working name), an intervention to improve attitudes and behavior across divergent, diverse perspectives – starting across red and blue America. 

Localization: Portfolio and GDI

Over the last year, we’ve explored how GDI can help accelerate the field to localize development. Our team has continued a thought leadership series on localizing development, unpacking the supply and demand barriers, and outlining a series of interventions. At the same time, we realized that we needed to do some introspection and consider how we demonstrate our own commitment to localization. We shared our assessment in a candid and transparent article representing where we are right now and where we need to go further. In our efforts to expand our global reach, we have formally launched our GDI South Asia office in India.

In 2022, we received remarkable support from our donors and partners preparing GDI for continued growth in service of our entrepreneurs, initiatives, and global systems change. While we have not promoted widely given our focus on empowering entrepreneurs and the people they serve, we are excited to share that we have been given a MacKenzie Scott Award. The unrestricted funding will be used to provide catalytic support to build GDI’s capacity and to continue our shift to be a global organization with deeper roots in the global south. We envision this funding helping to make GDI a better talent hub and engine, with funding going to sourcing talent for GDI and our initiatives, and potentially adding a broader leadership program for our initiative leads and their management teams.

What’s Next

We continue to expand the sourcing of our work and leadership as we restructure our governance structure. After starting in the US, we have more staff in the global south than the global north, and most of these people are from the countries and regions in which we work. You can learn more about our regional entities and many global career opportunities here.

As we look to next year, we remain strong believers in the capacity of humanity to address our most intractable and challenging problems. In 2023, we will share quarterly updates to inform you of our progress toward our mission of driving system-level change.

Thank you for being a valuable part of our journey as we continue turning good ideas into great social impact. We look forward to continuing our work together.