Early Lessons Targeting Populations with a Value Chain Approach

  • Date Posted: December 13, 2011
  • Authors: Nissa Felton
  • Organizations/Projects: Emerging Markets Group
  • Document Types: Evaluation
  • Donor Type: U.S. Agency for International Development

The value chain approach has been applied with a pro-poor focus for many years by different donors. By applying this framework to specific target populations or to specific settings, such as post-conflict, USAID takes the approach one step further by tailoring interventions to meet the needs and circumstances of specific groups. A unique aspect of this approach is that it takes a market-driven methodology and applies it under circumstances of regional instability, or when tribal tensions, disease, or psychological trauma are prevalent. Using a value chain approach to improve the lives of vulnerable target groups creates a new challenge for practitioners and program designers – how to minimize market-distorting subsidies while addressing the immediate, and often dire, welfare needs of a vulnerable group.

In order to identify some of the effects of applying a value chain approach to specific groups, this paper documents early lessons from three projects implemented by Emerging Markets Group. Each project takes a unique approach to integrating a market-based approach with social objectives. The USAID-funded COPE project, which operates in four countries (Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda), trains orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers in market-based income-earning opportunities while also supplying them with subsidized non-economic benefits. The USAID-funded Uganda SPRING project focuses on creating economic initiatives for peace through an inclusive approach, and focuses investments in three value chains in northern Uganda. The Nike Foundation ‘Value Girls’ Project, which operates in Kenya, is unique in that it takes an exclusive approach targeting adolescent girls, something that has not been seen elsewhere.

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