The Global Fairness Initiative promotes a more equitable, sustainable approach to economic development for the world’s working poor by advancing fair wages, equal access to markets, and balanced public policy to generate opportunity and end the cycle of poverty. The GFI approach:
Since 2002, GFI has partnered with hundreds of marginalized working communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to enhance economic opportunities and build sustainable livelihoods. We have developed innovative programs to preserve and create jobs, empowered women by removing barriers to economic success, advanced fair wages, and expanded revenues so that communities of promise can become centers of prosperity. GFI programs achieve this success through targeted initiatives that:
GFI has become a leader in engaging government and driving public debate on programs and policies to support small producers and create economic opportunity for the working poor. Leveraging a network of leaders and unique vehicles like our Women’s Trade and Finance Council, GFI delivers strategic initiatives that incentivize participation and create lasting links between our constituent worker groups and the governments that serve them.
Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women. Women and adolescent girls provide over 60% of all subsistence agricultural labor worldwide and make up more than 50% of the informal sector workforce. At GFI we believe that women represent the greatest potential for putting an end to the cycle of poverty that undermines development around the globe. GFI programs work with women agricultural and textile producers to remove the economic, technical, and public policy barriers preventing women from bringing their goods to sustainable markets at a fair price.
Sustainable economic development with genuine and large scale impact requires the engagement of a well-trained and productive workforce. Organized labor and engaged workforce communities have always been a cornerstone of civil society and leaders in social equity and human rights movements. By engaging unions and other organized formal and informal worker groups, GFI seeks to expand the reach of our economic development initiatives and broaden the impact of social services in the countries where we work. Whether in post-conflict Guatemala or in the challenging political environment of Nicaragua, GFI creates the common linkages that bring government, private sector and workforce communities together to solve economic challenges and achieve poverty reduction goals.
Access to stable, high-value markets for the working poor is one of the most important poverty alleviation priorities in the developing world today. Building on our unique multi-stakeholder process, GFI is working with private sector leaders to identify market opportunities and remove the obstacles that prevent quality products from reaching markets and producers from earning a fair price. With partnerships built around innovative market data technology, efficient storage and transportation processes, and proven agricultural input technologies, GFI offers an efficient and highly strategic model for eliminating market access barriers for the working poor.
In the modern global economy the greatest challenge developing countries face is to create fair opportunities for everyone to access globalization’s benefits. As nations struggle to define fairness, GFI has led the way to broaden inclusion in the free trade process by bringing traditionally excluded workforce stakeholders to the bargaining table. GFI has successfully created opportunities for worker communities to represent the interests of the working poor – who have the most to gain and lose in a free trade environment.
A major barrier confronting smallholder producers and start-up enterprises is the lack of access to essential financing that catalyzes growth and drives development. For too many promising small businesses a wide gap exists between the available capacity of micro-finance and the accessibility of larger commercial lenders who are often unable by regulation or unwilling by choice to invest in small-scale entrepreneurs. To bridge this “Missing Middle” and deliver leading-edge financial solutions and thought leadership, GFI founded and launched an independent sister organization, The Synapse Market Access Fund. Synapse leverages the work of GFI to deliver innovative financial products and programs that catalyze the expansion of market driven opportunity for the working poor. Learn more at www.synapsefund.org.
The world today is increasingly interconnected through global political, financial, and social mechanisms that create opportunity and drive innovation. These new global structures, however, have worsened economic isolation and significantly increased the income gap for the fifty percent of the population who try to survive on less than two dollars a day. Creating meaningful economic progress for the global poor requires people and programs that connect local knowledge and leadership with global innovation and structures. The Global Fairness Initiative leads the way in weaving together bottom-up capacity with top-down opportunity to create meaningful and sustainable livelihoods for small farmers, textile workers, and other marginalized poor communities around the world.
The Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) is headquartered in Washington, D.C.