1 September 2022 admin

More and more NGOs and donors are switching to Market Systems Development (MSD) as a new approach for their international economic development programs. They anticipate that MSD will be more effective in creating large scale opportunities for poor people to access and benefit from markets that will sustain after their development interventions end. CAFOD is one of these NGOs working towards an MSD approach in its inclusive economic development programs. Together with F&S they started a journey to get familiar with the MSD approach and to apply it to their economic development programs in Africa. 

What is MSD?

MSD is an economic development approach that aims to create a large scale and sustainable impact, by removing constraints for poor people to access or benefit from a market system. The major difference between MSD and conventional economic development approaches is that solutions for these constraints for poor people are identified in the market. Hence, after a profound analysis of the root causes of the constraints, the private sector is assisted to define and provide solutions, through developing a viable business model that benefits them and their (poor) clients. For more information: this 4 minutes video of BEAM Exchange gives a brief overview of the MSD approach. 

CAFOD gets familiar with MSD 

The MSD trajectory of CAFOD Africa and F&S started with a primer for the management of the 10 Africa offices. In this half day interactive online session, F&S briefly presented the MSD approach. Moreover, in participative break-out sessions participants had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the impact of the MSD approach on their programming. 

The next step is a face-to-face training for four different CAFODs country teams. The first training was given from 1-5 August for CAFOD Kenya & Uganda, in Nairobi. During the five training days participants were introduced to the concepts of youth and gender-sensitive value chain mapping and analysis and to the MSD approach. Moreover, through analyzing the market systems featured in three of their own projects, they got a better and more practical understanding of the MSD approach. The participants applied their new skills immediately, by making new results chains for their projects, with the potential to reach more scale and sustained impact. In addition, a visit to the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank gave the training participants a different look at their target group: not as beneficiaries, but as potential clients.  

“The training covered every aspect of MSD and used a lot of practical examples.”- Training participant 

“The training methods were interactive and participatory and we could apply the MSD theory through group work; from value chain analysis to business model development.”- Training participant

The next steps 

F&S will keep supporting CAFOD with their journey into MSD. In the coming weeks, the CAFOD teams in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and DRC will be trained on MSD. After that, F&S will support CAFOD with market analysis, the design of MSD interventions for its future projects and resource mobilization.  

Our joint journey has just begun and we are looking forward to the adventures we will encounter on the road!  

MSD for you as well? F&S provides customized MSD training and support 

F&S customizes its MSD training modules to your needs, project partners and target groups. We give our trainings face-to-face or online, ensuring interactive training methods and practical application of the MSD theory. We can also support you with market systems analysis, coaching on MSD project design and implementation and PMEL.   

More information: 

Annelien Meerts: annelien.meerts@fairandsustainable.org  

André Vording: andre.vording@fairandsustainable.org