The Inclusive and Equitable Local Development Programme, 2017-2020

Switzerland is supporting the Global Programme on Inclusive and Equitable Local Development (IELD) to promote the economic empowerment of women through gender responsive policies and inclusive finance. Direct beneficiaries include women associations, women led enterprises, farmer associations and industry associations. This support also aims to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of a joint UN programme at global and country levels.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Employment & economic development
Employment creation
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
Business support & economic inclusion
01.12.2017 - 30.12.2025
CHF  3’000’000
Background Gender inequality is one of the major obstacles to development, women being not only more likely to suffer from poverty but also less likely to access health, education, decision-making positions, financial resources as well as the market economy. According to a 2015 report by McKinsey Global Institute, if women participated in the global economy identically to men there would be a 26% increase in annual global gross domestic product over the next 10 years.
Working together in a coherent manner in order to deliver better results on the ground is a central pillar of the ongoing reform of the UN Development System. This joint program incorporates this vision by building on the comparative advantage of three agencies working toward a shared goal.
One of the seven objectives in the Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017 – 2020 is to strengthen gender equality and the rights of women and girls.
Objectives The IELD global program aims to support women’s economic empowerment through three levels of intervention: at local government level, at private commercial level and at the level of women’s entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is to enable women to have increased access to public services (water or health services) that reduce their unpaid care work and to access local financing for income generating activities.
Target groups

Direct beneficiaries of the IELD Programme are women associations, women entrepreneurs, farmer associations and industry associations who will benefit from direct support of the programme. Local governments and the private sector will also benefit from capacity-building and the creation of a more enabling environment for inclusive local development.

Tanzania, Bangladesh and Uganda have been selected as pilot countries to start with. As a global programme, IELD aims to be active in 15 countries and systematically grow the country presence leading to ultimately 48 least developed countries.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Women have greater access to information and have better ability to develop effective business enterprises.
  • Barriers to women’s economic empowerment reduced and enabling environment for women’s local economic empowerment created.
  • Domestic financing unlocked and increased for gender sensitive local basic services and local economic development.
  • Successful Cooperation between UN Agencies demonstrating increased effectiveness and efficiency to achieve development results.

Expected results:  

  • Barriers to women’s economic empowerment identified at the local level.
  • Policy makers supported to mainstream gender in local government plans, budgets, and investments.
  • Capacity of business regulatory bodies and financial institutions to simplify regulation and increase outreach to women strengthened.
  • Capacity of women entrepreneurs and women's business associations strengthened.
  • The midterm review informs the strategy to bring the program at scale with an adequate resource mobilization.

Results from previous phases:   N/A

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Capital Developoment Fund

Other partners
Government of Luxembourg, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Government of Norway
Coordination with other projects and actors SDC Employment and Income Network; FDFA Gender Network; Experiences with M4P/Market System Development Projects, Cooperation strategies Tanzania and Bangladesh
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’967’500
Project phases Phase 1 01.12.2017 - 30.12.2025   (Current phase)