Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

5.6.1. Resources on the Value Chain Approach and Vulnerable Populations

General

  • Market Systems for Resilience, produced by ACDI/VOCA, focuses on the synergy and tensions between market systems development and resilience programming. It describes how markets are essential for resilience, and explores how markets themselves can be made resilient to shocks and stresses. The document proposes a framework for analyzing market approaches to resilience.
  • Early Lessons Targeting Populations with A Value Chain Approach, produced by the Emerging Markets Group and Nissa Felton, is a helpful piece that describes the challenges of reconciling value chain principles with strategies that target specific populations. It draws from three of EMG's projects that have worked with vulnerable populations including women and the very poor to identify six early lessons. Among them, it urges caution in choosing between targeting strategies and describes how being 'inclusive but not exclusive' in targeting can expand the project's reach while avoiding other challenges.
  • Making Value Chains Work for the Poor is a short presentation by Ruth Campbell of ACDI/VOCA that highlights strategies to reach the poor using a value chain approach (e.g., selecting pro-poor industries, facilitating systemic change, addressing relationships and incentives) and their impacts.

Very Poor

  • Public-Private Partnerships in Global Value Chains: Can They Actually Benefit the Poor? by Duke University, draws lessons from three case studies of USAID and other donor engagement with private-sector firms designed to produce development results. These cases—horticulture in Kenya, cocoa in Indonesia, and coffee in Rwanda—inform a set of recommendations on how to structure public-private partnerships to ensure that economic results also translate into significant and sustained benefits for the poor.
  • Pathways out of Poverty: Applying Key Principles of the Value Chain Approach to Reach the Very Poor is a discussion paper and microREPORT #173 by Ben Fowler and Margie Brand. It discusses variations in applying nine value chain principles when seeking to reach the very poor. The principles cover both Program Design and Analysis and Program Implementation. The discussion paper includes a matrix with guidance for practitioners in applying each principle. It closes with reactions by three thought leaders: Harald Bekkers, Jan Maes, and Andrew Shepherd.
  • Pushing the Poverty Frontiers of Inclusive Value Chain Development Briefing Paper presents some emerging guidance around how value chain development can explicitly ‘pull’ the very poor into markets in gainful ways. It highlights program design strategies, examples of adapting value chain development principles, the importance of appropriately sequencing program interventions, as well as some key challenges when working with the very poor.
  • Final Report: Assessment of Commercial Private Sector for Health Care Products in Bangladesh, published by Action For Enterprise, is an early example of conducting value chain analysis on social products and services to identify opportunities for improved provision and outreach to vulnerable groups. Most previous studies had analyzed value chains with potential to alleviate poverty through income generation. As is typical in the markets for social products and services, AFE identifies and analyzes the strong role played by the government and the role of subsidies in affecting the behavior of the private sector.
  • Making Markets Work for Poor, Comparing M4P and SLA frameworks: Complementarities, Divergences and Synergies examines and compares the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) with the making markets work for the poor (M4P) approach. Its author, Mike Albu, identifies five areas where a market-oriented approach can build upon SLA including fully understanding markets, focusing on higher potential value chains, and building sustainable systems for poverty alleviation. He also identifies several areas where SLA can support a market-oriented approach, such as better understanding social relations within the marketplace. While not all of Albu's criticisms of each approach would be agreeable to their respective practitioners, the document provides an important analysis of how they can complement each other.
  • The Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets were all created by DFID to present the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) in greater detail. There are seven guidance sheets in total. The notes on section 4 provide specific guidance on the application of the approach, including practical tools and guidance on their use. The seventh note is also relevant for its description of how SLA was applied to an enterprise project to better understand its impacts.
  • Graduating the Poorest into Microfinance: Linking Safety Nets and Financial Services recognizes that microfinance is unable to reach the poorest in most contexts and that other support is needed before these individuals could become consumers of finance. Syed Hashemi and Richard Rosenberg identify and evaluate two options that microfinance institutions can use to improve their outreach to these groups: linkage to social protection organizations that are providing direct livelihood support or direct, temporary provision by the MFI itself of these services.
  • Linking Poor Rural Households to Microfinance and Markets in Ethiopia: Baseline and Mid-term Assessment of the PSNP Plus Project in Doba is a review of the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) Plus project, implemented by CARE and Catholic Relief Services. PSNP Plus was designed to complement the Government of Ethiopia's PSNP that provides 7.4 million people with food aid and public work projects to improve food security. PSNP Plus uses a value chain approach to support the graduation of project clients from food aid to sustainable productive activities. Although the assessment finds that it is too early to see impacts from the project, it does provide a lot of helpful feedback from participants on the linkages between the savings groups and value chain activities. It is also noteable that the better off within the community are seen as more likely to benefit from the value chain interventions, given the range of constraints faced by the very poor.
  • The Practitioner’s Guide to HEA is a practical, in-depth document produced by the Food Economy Group and Save the Children that describes in detail the application of the Household Economy Analysis framework and its tools, including livelihood zoning, baseline assessment and outcome analysis, and explains how to analyze the data that results.
  • Risk and the Impacts of Microenterprise Services Authors Elizabeth Dunn, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes and Corinne Valdivia authored this analysis of the risk management and loss management strategies used by the poor. The paper provides helpful insights on how these behaviors may impact the engagement of these populations in development programming.
  • Understanding Household Economy in Rural Niger provides a helpful and practical example of how Save the Children UK applied Household Economy Analysis (HEA) to its work in Niger. The document explains the process used to apply HEA, the results that were uncovered, and the application of those results for programming.
  • Participatory Poverty Assessment in Cambodia presents an example of a participatory poverty assessment. Conducted by the Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank, the PPA addresses the characteristics and concerns of the poor, as well as those of particularly vulnerable groups: ethnic minorities, women, and certain urban groups.
  • Portfolios of the Poor Briefing Note #1: The 'Triple-Whammy of Poverty describes one finding from research on financial management of the poor: that low incomes, irregular and unpredictable cash flows and lack of access to suitable financial instruments all create a financial poverty trap. The paper argues that improving access to appropriate financial products is an important aspect of alleviation poverty.
  • Portfolios of the Poor Briefing Note #2: Borrowing to Save explains the tendancy of the very poor to prefer to borrow even at high interest rates rather than drawing down their accumulated savings. The loans are preferred by many for the financial discipline that they offer, whereas rebuilding savings absent a regular mechanism for doing so is viewed as much more difficult.
  • Portfolios of the Poor Briefing Note #3: How do the Poor Deal with Risk? confirms that the very poor are more vulnerable to risk, and discusses some of the common sources of risk in the surveyed countries. In recognition that the poor typically draw from multiple sources to meet financial shocks, it advocates for less expensive financial products that cover a portion of potential risks and that can be paid in installments. It also suggests that saving and loan products are more easily fungible and therefore at times better suited to allowing households to manage risk than insurance is.
  • Catalysts of Agricultural Supply Markets: Case for Smart Subsidies in Zambia, written by Alexandra Snelgrove and Lemmy Manje, describes how MEDA used targeted vouchers to stimulate the market for irrigation technologies among poor smallholder farmers. In contrast to the free distributions that have been used by other development actors, MEDA has found that vouchers are effective in sustainably stimulating both the supply and demand sides of the market. The paper is helpful in describing MEDA's approach in considerable detail.
  • This E-Consultation on Pathways out of Poverty was a two-day virtual event held in January 2012 and facilitated by Ben Fowler to discuss how to best use a value chain approach to support pathways out of poverty. Key themes discussed included approaches to sequencing, targeting, and achieving systemic change. The e-consultation also invited thoughts on where knowledge gaps existed and future emphasis should be placed.
  • The Reaching the Very Poor Session Resources from the two-day Meeting the Challenges of Value Chain Development: A Learning Event include screencasts of the presentations and a report of proceedings. The event was held on February 7-8th in Washington, D.C., and brought together the donor, practitioner and research communities to disseminate the significant learning that has taken place related to value chain development, as well as to generate discussion and share ideas on how to continue the learning going forward.
  • Economic Strengthening for the Bottom Billion: Connecting the Dots was an e-consultation held in May, 2011. Facilitated by Jan Maes, the three-day event generated significant participation around the issues of innovative approaches to achieve economic strengthening for vulnerable populations and the development of a common framework.
  • Pathways out of Poverty: Tools for Value Chain Development Practitioners, microREPORT #180, summarizes critical tools that practitioners can use at the value chain selection and value chain analysis phases of the value chain project cycle, as well as tools applicable for situation assessments. Author Ben Fowler provides an overview of each of the tools listed, the ease or difficulty of use, and an example of their application.
  • Savings Groups on the Pathway to Graduation: PSNP Plus in Ethiopia, written by Ben Fowler and Teshale Endalamaw, profiles the lessons learned by a project working to graduate chronically food insecure Ethiopians. The paper explores the key success factors required in successfully advancing households towards economic empowerment and finds that savings groups are a critical factor. Savings groups enable asset accumulation and investments in value chains while reducing risk.
  • Overcoming Risk Averseness in Homestead Farming outlines the centrality of trust for engaging with the very poor, and how a strategy of encouraging embedded information to improve market efficiency was ineffective in targeting disadvantaged women. The case, written by Rajiv Pradhan and Richard Rose of iDE, also shares experiences on scaling-up and lessons learned.
  • PROFIT: Creating Access to Agricultural Inputs Through an Agent Network Model, by Joe Dougherty and Cinar Akcin of Cardno, looks at the performance of an agent model for agricultural input distribution to smallholder farmers in Zambia. The project did not target the poor directly, but rather created a market system that effectively integrated them into a dynamic agricultural market. It did not, however, reach the very poorest without the assets (e.g., land) to cultivate and questions the effectiveness of such an approach in the Zambian context.
  • Creating Wealth in Inner-City Communities in Kingston, Jamaica discusses an initiative targeting the ornamental fish value chain in Jamaica. Written by Beverly Morgan of The Competitiveness Company, the paper highlights the learning and adaptation that occurred during the project's evolution. While the project intended to purely facilitate, it found it needed to become more interventionist and use greater levels of subsidies given the constraints faced by its target group of young men.
  • AMPATH: Reaching the Vulnerable Using Value Chain Development is a case study of the Academic Model for Providing Access to Health Care (AMPATH)'s work in Western Kenya. Targeting households receiving food aid, the project sought to address dependency by instituting a sequence of interventions that would ultimately end reliance on this support. The case describes the elements of the graduation model, results and several lessons learned.
  • Reaching the Poorest: Lessons from the Graduation Model by Syed M. Hashemi and Aude de Montesquiou, provides a succinct summary of lessons learned during the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee's implementation of a sequenced model to bring the extremely poor out of poverty.
  • Risks and the Impacts of Microenterprise Services, written by Elizabeth Dunn, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes and Corinne Valdivia, is a extremely helpful document profiling the role of risk in enterprise decision making, stability and growth. Written in 1996, its insights into risk and behavior remain relevant.

Women

  • Making the Business Case: Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development provides the rationale that market systems facilitation practitioners can use to engage private sector firms in efforts to empower women. From identifying partners to articulating the mutually beneficial value of women's inclusion, the paper offers guidance and real-world examples to help companies empower women working at every level of the economy.
  • A Pro-Poor Analysis of the Shrimp Sector in Bangladesh is a good example a value chain analysis that intentionally integrates a gender analysis. In addition to incorporating the standard aspects of a value chain analysis (e.g. assessment of end markets and linkages), the study also examines women's relative position at different levels of the value chain.
  • Sarah Gammage of Development and Training Services presents a summary of their value chain analysis from Bangladesh in this breakfast seminar. The presentation summarizes the key findings of the analysis.
  • The World Bank provides online access to this Key Gender Employment Indicators database, providing information on working hours, pay, employment rates, and more.
  • Evaluation Study: Gender and Value Chain Development is a report produced by the bilateral agency DANIDA evaluating the gender outcomes of value chain programming. It looks at three distinct types of value chain projects - those that mainstream gender, those that target only women, and those focused on sustainability standards - as well as on value chain projects with a gender component but no explicit strategy ("generic" interventions). The evaluation finds that all projects should incorporate an up-front gendered value chain analysis to understand gender relations that will inform project design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. It posits that generic interventions will have limited impact in conservative cultures and will struggle to incorporate many new female participants into the value chain. In such conservative areas, a targeted approach is advocated as being more likely to bring about benefits for women.
  • A discussion paper entitled Promising Approaches to Address the Needs of Poor Female Farmers: Resources, Constraints, and Interventions summarizes literature on efforts to improve female access to agricultural resources (e.g., land, extension, credit, inputs) in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia between 1998 and 2008. The paper provides a good overview of various approaches that have been used to address access issues and their results. It concludes with a few general lessons, but notes that the lack of rigorous evaluation of most projects is limiting.
  • Training for Rural Development: Agricultural and Enterprise Skills for Women Smallholders draws from a literature review, a review of practices and fieldwork to present a range of lessons on providing training to female small-scale farmers. Developed by the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development, the publication offers findings in six areas: the role of enterprise training, barriers to access, systematic approaches to training, learning within groups, technology development, and reducing risks to applying training. Practitioners looking for concrete findings to apply to implementation will find a lot in this publication.
  • Gender and Value Chains: Manual for Gender Mainstreaming, produced by CEPAC and CORDAID, is divided into two parts. The first provides a process to incorporate gender into value chain programming and into the implementing institution(s). The second provides various tools and guides to assist with analysis and implementation, such as a gender-disaggregated agricultural calendar and access to information matrix.
  • Gender and Rural Microfinance: Reaching and Empowering Women - Guide for Practitioners is helpful in assisting those focused on finance as a supporting service in their target value chains. Although designed for use by those engaged in the provision of rural microfinance, the provided tools are relevant for a broader audience. The gender questions that are provided to support program and product design, for instance, would be equally helpful in conducting an analysis of women's access to financial services more broadly.
  • Guide to Gender Sensitive Indicators is produced by the Canadian International Development Agency. While somewhat dated and not focused specifically on value chains, it nevertheless provides a solid guide to indicator development. The section of project-level indicators is most relevant, in which numerous examples are provided of qualitative and quantitative indicators across a range of areas, such as empowerment.
  • A Project-Level Handbook: The Why and How of Gender-Sensitive Indicators is also produced by the Canadian International Development Agency, and goes into greater depth than their Guide to Gender Sensitive Indicators. While also not focused on value chains specifically, the handbook provides sample indicators for measuring participation and empowerment, while also addressing helpful checklists and guidelines to use in indicator development.
  • Only two pages long, Practical Tips for Gender-Sensitive Value Chain Mapping by Annina Lubbock is a very easy-to-use listing of things for practitioners to consider when incorporating gender analysis into their value chain mapping process. It also contains a checklist to review how well a value chain project has been designed to address gender issues.
  • Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook is an extremely comprehensive publication issued by the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Fund for Agricultural Development. It is an important resource with insights on many aspects of gender and agriculture, including service markets (e.g. rural finance, water), end markets, and upgrading (i.e. agricultural innovation).
  • Innovative Approaches to Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment is produced by the United Nations Development Programme. Oriented towards addressing the third Millennium Development Goal (MGD) to promote gender equality and empower women, the publication provides several recommendations for how to accelerate progress in achieving the MGD and many short but informative case studies in how advancements have been made.
  • Women Hold Up Half the Sky is a short economics paper by Goldman Sachs that argues education is the key to achieving improved economic and social outcomes for women. It will provide an important support for longer-term economic growth.
  • Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains: Handbook presents and describes the gender dimensions framework as an approach to understanding gender issues within a value chain. It discusses gender issues that are specific to agriculture (e.g. access to land), and presents a five-step INGIA-VC process to developing gender interventions in value chain programming. The INGIA-VC process assumes that the reader has already selected the value chains that will be targeted, and guides through the process of identifying, prioritizing and addressing gender-based constraints that have the greatest impact.
  • Gender in Value Chains: Emerging Lessons and Questions is a draft working paper that summarizes work done since early 2008 by its collaborating members in striving to make value chains work more effectively for women. It draws highlights from eight cases, all focusing on agricultural value chains. The working paper raises more questions than answers, and makes the case that additional research is required.
  • Engendering Benefits For All is a short article that discusses the constraints often faced by women in value chains. It dismisses the notion that women must always be protected from other value chain actors through their own associations as based on often faulty assumptions, and argues that integrating gender equity into all value chain interventions will have strong and wide-ranging positive impacts.
  • Steps for Action to Promote Gender Equality is a publication by the donor agency GTZ that highlights approaches to improving general equality. It focuses on economic empowerment as a method to achieving pro-poor growth, but also on women's rights and trafficking against women. The publication lists its recommendations as one or two sentence steps and does not get into significant depth. Nevertheless, the publication is useful in providing a menu of interventions for practitioners to consider in their programming.
  • Enhancing Women’s Access to Markets: An Overview of Donor Programs and Best Practices, written by Sarah Gammage, Nancy Diamond, and Melinda Packman, reports the findings of a survey of Development Assistance Committee members engaged in improving market access for female entrepreneurs. The survey spanned a broad range of projects targeting labor, goods, services, and financial markets. It differentiates between projects focused on improving entitlements and capabilities, and lists eight lessons of relevance to practitioners engaging in market linkage activities for women.
  • Enhancing Women’s Market Access and Promoting Pro-poor Growth is a short paper by the OECD. It briefly discusses how gender affects access to financial, labor, good and services markets. Most importantly, it includes short lists of some controversies that exist in applying private sector development with women and best practices.
  • Applying a Gender Lens to Katalyst Market Development Activities is an analysis of gender issues in two subsectors that was prepared by Mary Morgon for the Katalyst project in Bangladesh. It provides guidance on how gender can be incorporated into each step of the value chain development program cycle and makes specific recommendations to Katalyst on how it can adjust aspects of its work to more effectively benefit women.

Youth

  • Guide to Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessments is applicable to the design of a new youth-focused value chain initiative or to understand how youth can be incorporated into an existing project. It was prepared by the Education Development Center to inform youth-oriented programming through an understanding of the overall context and enabling environment. More information on the Guide is available here.
  • Impacts of Microfinance Initiatives on Children: Overview of the Study Report presents the findings of a multi-country study on the impacts of microfinance on children. Written by two NGOs, Partners in Technology Exchange and Mennonite Economic Development Associates, the report finds that increases in family income are generally directed to expenditures that benefit children. Health and education are the two highest priorities, while housing and nutrition were also found to be important spending priorities.
  • The World Bank's World Development Report for 2007, Development and the Next Generation, provides an extremely useful overview of global youth development trends. It adoptes a three-lens framework consisting of building educational, employment civic opportunities for youth, building the capabilities of youth as decision makers, and offering second chances that allow reentry into the educational and labour markets.
  • Youth Microenterprise and Livelihoods: State of the Field is an annual publication released by Making Sense International profiling innovative programming and approaches to improving youth livelihoods. The publications cover a broader range of approaches than value chain development alone, including microfinance, savings mobilization, and vocational training among others.
  • Developed by the Education Development Center, the Youth Livelihoods Development Programme Guide presents approaches to strengthening four key aspects of youth livelihoods: human, financial, social and physical capital. Of value for value chain practitioners, the guide provides helpful guidance on strategies to address identified gaps among target youth in one or more of these types of capital. More information on the Guide is available here.
  • Market Assessment Toolkit for Vocational Training Providers and Youth: Linking Vocational Training Programs to Market Opportunities is a toolkit produced by the School of International and Public Affairs at Colombia University for the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. The toolkit is designed to assist vocational training providers to understand growing market opportunities with potential for future employment requirements. Based on the findings of the assessment, it provides tools to analyze the implications for vocational offerings. Finally, it is also intended to assist youth to determine which vocations are most appropriate for their own needs. The toolkit contains a number of blank tools that practitioners and others can use during their own assessments.
  • Note from the Field: Utilizing Youth-Responsive Market Research is a very short piece providing examples of how Save the Children has used different tools and approaches to understanding youth livelihoods. The note mostly describes approaches rather than tools, with the exception of a 'Money Flow' tool that was applied in Morocco to understand how youth access, control and use money.
  • Youth Financial Services: The Case of BRAC and Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh is a summary of BRAC's experience in striving to economically empower adolescent girls through their comprehensive Employment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) and Social and Financial Empowerment of Adolescents (SOFEA) programs. ELA provides basic skills, financial services, and training in income generating activities to its clients. Several important lessons are highlighted, including the challenges of youth mobility and relatively small credit needs, and greater need for guidance on how to invest loans relative to adults.
  • The Role of Youth Skills Development in the Transition to Work: A Global Review offers a broad perspective on the changing nature of skills development for youth. Written by Arvil Adams of the World Bank, the paper highlights challenges specific to reaching disadvantaged youth and supportive conditions (e.g. access to support services, links to further education and employers) that improve the likelihood of success.
  • Youth Savings in Developing Countries: Trends in Practice, Gaps in Knowledge is a publication that reviews the potential of youth savings accounts as a tool to mobilize youth resources. It concludes that while initial results are promising, there are significant knowledge gaps that need to be addressed before the effectiveness of such savings accounts can be concluded decisively.
  • Empowering Rwandan youth through savings-led microfinance is a publication of Catholic Relief Services. It discusses the introduction of savings groups with youth and orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda, following the realization that vocational and business skills training were insufficient to facilitate enterprise creation among new graduates. It provides examples of how its saving group methodology has supported various assets: financial, social, and human. While the report does not provide a lot of quantitative data on the impacts of the approach in Rwanda, it suggests a number of ways in which combining savings group with the facilitation of important support services can be mutually supporting and lead to better outcomes for participants.
  • Dreams Deferred: Educational and Skills-building Needs and Opportunities for Youth in Liberia presents the findings of an assessment on youth employment training for young people that have been offered since 2003. Produced by the Women's Refugee Commission, the report finds that programs were most successful when they combined training on practical vocational skills with literacy, numeracy, and life skills education. The three key recommendations for future programming are to support a broad range of educational services and the support services (e.g. finance) that contribute to the applicability of the training, to focus particularly on the agricultural sector and public works programming, and to provide training in multiple skill areas and entrepreneurship in recognition that the majority of the population relies upon multiple income sources and may opt for self-employment.
  • Of relevance in contexts where access to financial services is a barrier to value chain development, the Youth Inclusive Financial Services Portal is a website focused on financial services for youth. Its content includes a map of agencies, discussions and a resource library.
  • YouthWORKS Microfranchising Project Evaluation provides a very interesting look at a pilot implemented by the International Rescue Committee in Sierra Leone. Well written and succinct, the evaluation is a helpful reference for how microfranchising can be used to link youth with value chain opportunities and also of aspects that need to be considered and addressed when considering this approach.
  • Evaluation of Economic Strengthening for OVC: Using the WORTH Model in Uganda presents the findings of an evaluation of a project of the Salvation Army in Uganda. Aimed to benefit orphans and vulnerable children, the WORTH model worked with an integrated program of savings-led microfinance and basic training project, run by the Salvation Army to benefit orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda.