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Our funding with Visa Foundation aims to transform Asia’s care economy

IDRC and the Visa Foundation announced their joint support to strengthen private sector innovations to transform the care economy in Asia.
Children wearing jackets sit at tables outdoors while a woman serves porridge at a kindergarten in Vietnam.

The COVID-19 pandemic reversed progress on gender equality and increased the amount of unpaid work that women do, including caring for children, the elderly, the ill and the disabled, in addition to cleaning, cooking and other household tasks. Responsibility for this invisible and undervalued work falls disproportionately on women and girls and it is a key barrier to their empowerment.   

The private and public sectors are beginning to respond to the need for affordable care services with several innovative solutions. While the public sector needs to invest in care and move towards comprehensive care systems, there is also promise in private sector development of entrepreneurship and livelihoods in the care economy. 

Through parallel grants, IDRC is contributing CAD550,000 and the Visa Foundation is contributing CAD1,375,000 to:  

  • create innovative entrepreneurship models to provide care services in low-income communities; 
  • accelerate business (training, mentorship and access to networks and finance) for small and medium enterprises in the care economy; and  
  • increase dialogue and engagement with key players (such as governments, investors, corporations and civil society organizations) to transform care-economy investing into a mainstream activity. 

Led by the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, implementing partners include Bopinc, Dharma Life, the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets and Seedstars.  

This IDRC and Visa Foundation partnership seeks to nurture an ecosystem in which care entrepreneurship can thrive and women and their families can access affordable and high-quality care services. 

Read the UN Women press release about this funding partnership