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Using MSD to Unlock Private Investment & Support Climate-Resilient Food Systems

Climate change has been a slow-moving risk for some time now, but what is often missed, which this blog points out, is that there are immediate consequences affecting most people around the world, especially the most vulnerable. As the blog highlights, increasing weather variability is a challenge for most smallholder farmers, including in Uganda. At the same time, the ability to effectively forecast weather has remained low, which creates a circumstance of increasing risks since erratic weather patterns mean farmers are often caught off guard damaging crops and reducing productivity.

What’s the Inception Phase Got To Do With It?


Holly Krueger
In this blog post in the Equitable Inclusion series by the Canopy Lab, I spoke with USAID FTF Transforming Market Systems Activity (TMS) Deputy Chief of Party, Dun Grover, about the crucial role their inception phase played in shaping how they, as a market systems develop

Value Creation for Low-Income Homebuilders


Aleksandros Spaho
In the second blog in the series, the authors focus on the importance of using a retail distribution market systems lens to gain insights into the business realities of selling construction products and services to low-income customer segments. For example, low-income customers buy in smaller lots and often have important considerations related to decision-making, coping strategies, and trust that require specific business strategies and tactics. The blog examines a few examples from TCIS’s work in relation to how they applied systemic thinking related to retail distribution to improve housing outcomes for incremental builders.

Beyond Downloads, Views, and 'Likes,' How Do You Know Your Research Is Having an Impact?


Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships,
Laura Kim,
Michelle LeMeur
This blog is written by Laura Kim and Michelle LeMeur of the Canopy Lab for the Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnership (MSP) Activity. How does one know if their studies have had any influence in the real world? With the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror (for many), we set out to answer this question following the dissemination of our 2021 and 2022 studies on the impact and implications of the pandemic on the global development workforce.

Beyond Economic Growth: Rethinking the Path to Global Food Security


Swasti Gautam,
Emily Janoch,
Florence Santos
Does economic growth improve food security? The short answer is no. Although mainstream economics suggests that sustainable economic growth is essential for ensuring global food security, empirical evidence is mixed, at best. Over the past decade, the world saw notable economic growth with decreasing global economic inequality between countries, yet food insecurity continued to rise.

Lessons on Doing Market Systems Development for Housing


Abigail Martuscello,
Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter
This post was written by Habitat for Humanity's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and was originally published on the Vikāra Institute's website.

Synergies in Learning: USAID CATALYZE EoG Hosts Regional Event to Ignite SME Financing in the Western Balkans


USAID CATALYZE Mobilizing Private Capital for Development
Belgrade, Serbia — September 15, 2023 — The USAID CATALYZE Western Balkans Engines of Growth (EoG) Activity successfully concluded its regional learning event, “Synergy in Learning: Catalyzing SMEs Financing in the Western Balkans,” held in Belgrade, Serbia on September 14th and 15th, 2023.

Incentivizing Financial Partners to Provide Loans to Women and Youth in Niger’s Agriculture Sector


USAID CATALYZE Mobilizing Private Capital for Development
Niger, a landlocked country in the Sahel, faces numerous threats such as terrorism and climate change. As more than 80% of Nigeriens rely on subsistence agriculture, increasing food security and resilience through access to finance for agriculture sector actors is essential to combat the threats the country faces.

Market Support According to Vendors: Learning from a Participatory Design Process in Puntland


Emily Sloane
In a USAID/BHA-funded research project underway in Somalia’s Puntland State, the IRC is trying to understand how to design effective and equitable market support programming. Market support is a type of humanitarian intervention that aims to ultimately benefit crisis-affected populations by improving the function of critical market systems, like those for staple foods and key non-food items.

Increased Food Safety, Reduced Food Loss


Food Enterprise Solutions (FES)
How Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety is building capacity for small- and medium-sized food businesses to be leaders in food loss solutions

Working with Transaction Advisors: Setting the Right Incentives


Kristin Jangraw,
Sharon D'Onofrio
Around the world, donors like USAID are focused on helping small businesses thrive. These businesses create the lion’s share of formal jobs in emerging markets, and they provide the goods and services local communities need. Still, many small businesses struggle to grow because they can’t access the financing they need. Enter transaction advisors: private sector firms that work with small businesses and investors, structuring and closing investment deals between them.

Seeds2B Helps Smallholder Farmers to Access Good Seeds in Sub-Saharan Africa


Camille Renou
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is currently estimated at 1.2 billion people,1 and is projected to double by 2050. The continent’s smallholder farmers (SHF) account for 60% of the population,2 and produce 80% of the food consumed.3 These figures highlight the critical role that agriculture and SHF play in the continent’s food security and development.

The Beauty of Local Autonomy Within a Global Organization


Abigail Martuscello,
Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter,
Vikāra Institute
One of the most difficult challenges of applying a systems thinking approach is how to handle complexity that requires both context-specific change pathways and pathways that are informed by important and generalizable learning. The blog describes how TCIS has tried to tackle this challenge by creating a more dynamic organizational structure that embraces local learning while also investing in staff learning related to systems thinking principles and concepts. TCIS also provides examples of how local offices catalyze change via local attractors but also creates dynamic learning between HQ and local offices that help improve which investments are likely to be most catalytic.

Coffee Market Systems Development to Protect Watersheds in Honduras


Catholic Relief Services
What does protecting watersheds have to do with the coffee market system? Surprisingly, a lot! Since 2014, Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Blue Harvest Program has worked with local partners in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua to restore water resources and transform coffee livelihoods. The mountainous, coffee-producing areas of Central America provide drinking water for millions of people. As land degradation and climate change threaten coffee production and contribute to growing water scarcity, the link between the coffee market system and natural resource management has never been more important.