If all can participate, all will benefit: our focus on inclusion and equity

Inequality can affect how governments spend their money. The results can be devastating: People in marginalized communities frequently experience lower-quality public services, from public education and transportation infrastructure, to healthcare and beyond. Many small women- or minority-owned businesses are systemically locked out of the $13 trillion global government marketplace because of overly burdensome and opaque procurement processes, creating yet another barrier for these entrepreneurs to growing their companies and sharing their innovations with the market.

Public procurement is embedded in larger, often antiquated public financial management policies and systems that reinforce existing inequities and exclusion. Procurement is more likely to perpetuate the status quo than to challenge it. To create fair outcomes for businesses and deliver higher quality and more equitable public services, we need better public procurement.

Our work

We help local changemakers achieve their goals around equity and inclusion by making procurement more open, fair and effective. Through our Lift impact accelerator, we are working with teams to live their values around equity and improve opportunities  for small business owners that have traditionally been excluded. These teams include the cities of El Paso, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Lille, France; and Mexico City, Mexico, as well as Ekiti State in Nigeria, and a partnership between the national government of Paraguay and a civil society organization.

We’re also supporting teams that seek to improve service delivery. The civil society-led project in Assam State, India, will support a more equitable distribution of public goods, services, and works procured for flood relief. We’re also continuing to support our Lift alumni team in Mexico City, Mexico, which is working to expand their bike share system so that more people in more neighborhoods are able to access this green and affordable public transportation network.

We help our partners promote and achieve inclusion in their projects through these approaches:

  • Inspire and connect people to create a shared understanding that procurement is a lever for social change. 
  • Co-create and gather input from community members during project design and implementation. 
  • Redesign systems and processes to share power and reflect values. 
  • Set objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand if activities are making a difference.

Our emerging results

Working in more than 50 countries, we are seeing how open contracting is improving lives:

Resources and tools

Inclusive and effective public procurement

Findings and lessons from research in 12 countries

The OCP/UN Women Policy Brief

Empowering women through public procurement and enabling inclusive growth

Oxford Insights inclusion assessment frameworks

Qualitative and quantitative frameworks for assessing the inclusiveness of public procurement systems.

Contact our experts

Kathrin Frauscher,
Deputy Executive Director