People

Kym Cole

Kym Cole

Initiative Director - WEE-DiFine & WEE-Connect

kym.cole@bracu.ac.bd

Kym Cole joined Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Brac University as Initiative Director – WEE-Difine. Kym holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Kym has worked as a consultant at the World Bank and as a Research Manager with IPA Ghana, where she managed the country office’s private sector portfolio. Most recently, Kym was a Senior Program Manager in the Impact Evaluation division at Social Impact, where she managed large-scale quantitative evaluations, including the high- profile Ghana Early Grade Reading Program Impact Evaluation and the Feed the Future Population-Based Survey in Nepal. Kym is passionate about the intersection of rigorous research and women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion, and SME development.

Advancing Financial Inclusion for Women in Bangladesh Requires a Focus on Financial Capability

Advancing Financial Inclusion for Women in Bangladesh Requires a Focus on Financial Capability

Bangladesh's financial inclusion strides, highlighted at the BIGD Conference, show a 21% rise in overall account ownership in the past decade. Despite progress, the gender gap widened to 20%, emphasizing the need for targeted efforts to empower women in the digital finance landscape.

Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh: Scope and Progress

Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh: Scope and Progress

According to the Global Findex Database 2021, financial account ownership in Bangladesh - be it a digital wallet or a traditional bank account - has grown substantially over the past decade. Specifically, among Bangladeshi adults, it grew by 22 percentage points, from 31% to 53% over the ten-year period of 2011 to 2021. Upon deeper investigation, the numbers reveal an intriguing story.

Better Than Cash? Smartphones for Realized Financial Inclusion

Better Than Cash? Smartphones for Realized Financial Inclusion

Analysis of midline data is intriguing. As expected, smartphone distribution, in conjunction with training, increased women’s phone ownership and mobile money use. However, participants in the cash group were much less likely to invest in mobile technology.

An Opportunity to Deepen Women’s DFS Engagement: Baseline Findings of a Pilot RCT in Bangladesh

An Opportunity to Deepen Women’s DFS Engagement: Baseline Findings of a Pilot RCT in Bangladesh

The study’s results will hold implications for the estimated 9.5 million female domestic workers in Bangladesh, who stand to benefit from enhanced financial inclusion. It will help DFS providers better understand the needs of women living in poverty in Bangladesh more generally, and lead to gender-sensitive DFS and wage digitization innovations.

BIGD’s WEE-DiFine Initiative: Two Years in Review

BIGD’s WEE-DiFine Initiative: Two Years in Review

WEE-DiFine is pleased to celebrate its second anniversary: much has already been accomplished, but exciting developments continue to unfold!  Over two years, WEE-DiFine has built a robust portfolio of 18 projects spanning nine countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa through three Request for Proposals (RFPs). Our projects have a mean funded value of approximately $90,000, with awards ranging from $15,000 to $360,000.

Announcing WEE-DiFine’s Peer Donor Profiles!

Announcing WEE-DiFine’s Peer Donor Profiles!

WEE-DiFine seeks to expand funding opportunities for high-quality research, especially for academics from our countries of focus. As such, the WEE-DiFine team has compiled a list of peer donors supporting rigorous research broadly related to our interests, including gender, financial inclusion, and digital infrastructure.

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance (WEE-DiFine)

WEE-DiFine is a research initiative (2019–2024), which aims to generate a comprehensive body of evidence around the impact of digital finance (DiFine) on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and the causal mechanisms between the two through funding rigorous research studies across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Women's Economic Empowerment and Digital Connectivity (WEE-Connect)

WEE-Connect is a pioneering initiative addressing the persistent gender gap in digital connectivity in the Global South, aiming to bridge barriers for women, foster economic empowerment, and establish evidence-based strategies through inclusive research, best case practices, and the creation of a scholarly community focused on the intersection of digital connectivity and gender.

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