Inclusive Market Systems Approach
Since 2009, Helvetas has been using the Market Systems Development (MSD) approach which is also known as the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach. While derived from the field of private sector development, the MSD approach increasingly serves as a strategic framework for development work in other areas as well, including governance, education, infrastructure, environment, policy and science, etc. Hence, the approach is now also commonly referred to as the ‘inclusive systems approach’.
Helvetas is recognized as one of the leading institutions in understanding, applying, and promoting the MSD approach for an aligned engagement with the private sector. This is done through promoting changes in the behaviors and capacities of private sector actors, as well as their relationships with each other.
Helvetas believes that change is driven through local ownership and initiative of system actors. In our approach, we work not only with the private sector but also with public-sector actors and civil society organizations. We always ask ourselves: who is the best fit to make systems more inclusive?
Three Core Principles
1. A clear vision for sustainable and scalable change
2. A deep understanding of the market system
3. A pledge to put local partners into the lead (for this, we use a facilitative approach that emphasizes local ownership of change).
Helvetas uses the MSD approach in project implementation in order to reach sustainable impact on scale. In our approach, we use the Adopt-Adapt-Expand-Respond Framework, a tool used to manage and measure systemic change processes better.
In Mozambique, Tanzania, and Benin, we apply the MSD approach to postharvest management and different value chains (e.g. cashew, peanuts). In Nepal, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Guatemala, and Madagascar, the approach is used in various agricultural market sectors, including export value chains such as cocoa and the natural ingredient/bio-trade sector. In the Balkan region (Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania), Helvetas has multiple projects (funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Sida) that are fostering youth employment and applying an MSD approach by focusing on the different dimensions of the labor market.
To achieve lasting change that is inclusive and benefits the most, we need to address the relations between actors and provide incentives for behavioral change. While this takes time, it promotes changes from within the system, increasing the long term impact of the projects and conferring sustainability to the interventions.
Our colleague Zenebe Uraguchi presents an interesting insight into MSD through this blog.
Also take a look at our publication on applying a systemic response during COVID-19.
Helvetas has a number of interesting projects that apply the MSD approach, take a look at some of them below:
Helvetas has developed its own training courses on MSD that lead through all the modules of the revised MSD operational guide. Furthermore, some of these trainings have been tailored towards employment-related topics (such as labor market systems development for youth employment).
The courses have been offered both to our project staff and external clients and audiences. They have been conducted in some 20 countries worldwide. Some of our external audiences have included: USAID Bureau for Food Security, SDC, Sida, IFAD, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and NGOs.