AVPN Mekong Meet-up Series: Gender Lens Investment, Standards and Equitable Workplaces


This virtual meeting is the first of our AVPN Mekong Meet-up Series.

The Mekong region is one of the most dynamic regions in the world for investors, and one where women play a disproportionately more important role in SME and social investment ecosystems than many investors realize. In this virtual convening we will provide concrete examples of the importance and role of women in investment decision making and discuss the impact of gender lens investing.

With 50-member organizations based in the Mekong region (out of 600 globally), AVPN plays a pivotal role in creating opportunities for connecting, learning and leading across the Continuum of Capital. The Mekong Meet-up series seeks to exemplify what we can do as individuals or organizations and communities to strengthen the relations among social investors across the Mekong region, and address vital issues and regional priorities which are needed in creating sustainable and socially inclusive growth.

During the session, there will be a discussion segment where participants can choose which breakout room to participate in. Please find the description for each breakout room below and indicate your preference in your registration.

Group A: Innovation in Women-led Businesses
Led by Josephine Price, Anthem Asia

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘’innovation’’? For many the answer will relate to high-tech or creative products, while innovative practices or mindsets might get overlooked. In this breakout session we will discuss the different types of innovations, from products to mindsets, that are needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, we will apply a gender-lens to this discussion to discover why and how women-led enterprises can be at the core of leading the innovations for achieving a more ethical and sustainable world.

Group B: The W+ Standard – More Than Just An Accreditation 
Led by Nisha Onta, WOCAN

The W+ Standard, created by WOCAN, is the first women-specific standard that measures women’s empowerment in a transparent and quantifiable manner. The W+ Standard endorses projects that create increased social and economic benefits for women participating in economic development or environment projects, including those that provide renewable energy technologies, time and labor-saving devices, forest and agriculture activities, and employment opportunities. In this breakout session you will learn more about the W+ Standard and how it can be applied to your initiatives.

Group C: Workplace Democracy: A Force for Empowering Women
Led by Bhagyashri Dengle, Plan International

We demand democracy in global governance, but few people have democracy where we spend perhaps over 70% of our waking life, at work! The workplace is a place of governance which controls people’s lives to a massive extent, and yet many companies are yet to modernize their approach to corporate governance, particularly in regard to giving women an equal voice. Hierarchical power structures in workplaces are corrosive if they do not fit the purpose of an organization’s values, mission and goals. This breakout session will discuss, specifically through a gender lens, the benefits and adaptation challenges to achieving workplace democracy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Synthesized the AVPN connect, learn and lead ethos with genuine gender lens focus
  • Gained insights and learned essential skills to improve gender lens investment
  • Shared insights, from the Mekong Meetup, with others to help them also think and act with a gender lens when planning and implementing strategy


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

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