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Systemic Change in

Market-Development Programs

Dossier:

By Melanie Lazelle and Michaela Cosijn

1. Introduction
Systemic change is the core goal of the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P), or market-development
approach. M4P focuses on addressing the underlying causes of market barriers and failures and improving
the functioning of the market system through catalysing systemic change within the supporting functions
and rules of the market system1. Improving the efficiency of market systems and expanding access to
markets can lead to economic growth and poverty reduction for smallholder farmers if they are integrated
into the system. To ensure these impacts are achieved, the DCED Standard for Results Measurement2
recommends capturing systemic changes in market systems.

Systemic change takes many forms and is a challenging concept to define, identify, and measure.
This dossier provides an overview of what systemic change looks like in practice, frameworks for
implementing and measuring systemic changes, and some suggestions for improving the program
cycle to achieve systemic impacts based on the Australian aid context. Practical experiences and
insights are presented from Australias Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) marketdevelopment programs3, supported by information from the Donor Committee for Enterprise
Development (DCED) systemic change guidelines4, and Palladium and Swiss Contact M4P training5.
This document is intended for donors, implementing partners, and program managers and staff to
support knowledge sharing of M4P approaches and improve performance of programs in
achieving systemic changes within complex market systems.

1DCED

(2014). Assessing systemic change implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard, p. 3.
The DCED Standard for Results Measurement provides programmes working in complex market systems with the framework, tools and incentives
to monitor their results in a systematic way. It includes all of the elements now accepted as 'good practice', including articulating the Results Chain
or programme logic; defining indicators of change based on the logic; measuring changes in indicators, applying good practice; estimating
attributable changes; capturing wider changes in the system or market; tracking programme costs; and reporting results.
3Presentations, examples and recommendations from practice were provided during DFATs Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Portfolio Reflection
Meeting in Canberra supported by the Food Systems Innovation (FSI) initiative on July 21 22, 2015. The meeting brought together a range of DFAT
programs and representatives from other organisations to discuss the challenges and lessons learnt within market-development programs.
4 DCED (2014). Assessing systemic change implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard, p. 3.
5 Palladium and Swiss Contact presentations during the Orientation to Market Systems Development Workshop, 29 Sept 2 October 2015.
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Key points
Markets for the Poor (M4P) programs aim to affect systemic change by improving the functioning of
market systems in order to achieve scale, sustainability and resilience, and impact positively upon
the poor through improved income-generating opportunities and access to essential goods and
services.
Systemic change takes many forms; it can be large or small, global or local but it should aim to
impact on multiple actors at different levels, and provide lasting benefits for the poor.
The Adopt, Adapt, Expand, Respond framework (AAER) framework is aimed at identifying and
measuring systemic changes in market-development programs, or programs can adapt an
appropriate framework to embed systemic change within programming and results measurement.
Program designs should allow for flexibility and adaptation, consider portfolio approaches, allow
time for systemic change to be achieved, and aim to transform systems.
Final outcomes should be clearly articulated in results measurement systems and indicators should
measure systemic change, sustainability of impacts post-program, impacts on the poor and
Womens Economic Empowerment (WEE) in addition to activity achievements.
Donors have a valuable role to play in fostering an understanding of systemic change, supporting

flexibility and adaptability, and encouraging strengthening of systemic change in programs.

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2. Systemic change in practice


A change in underlying causes of market system performance that can bring about a better-functioning
market system6
Systemic change is a multi-faceted, evolving process that aims to address the functioning of the market in
each context. The process aims to catalyse behaviour change among the organisations, players and rule
sets operating within the market so that the market and associated systems function more efficiently.
Practitioners are developing a deeper understanding of the core characteristics of systemic change. The
Market Development Facility (MDF), building on DCED standards7, has recently defined six characteristics to
support managing, monitoring and communicating systemic change. These parameters, described below,
are central to the design and implementation of their programs8.
Market actors
Businesses & Institutions: Are there
appropriate incentives for market
players that interact with poor people
to continue, expand and adapt new
business models?

Beneficiaries: Is the adoption and


adaptation of the new business model
continuing to serve the interest of poor
people?

Market Parameters
Autonomy: Independent business action by business or other market players to adopt and/or
improve a business model promoted by the program.
Sustainability: The extent to which the business model promoted by the programme is sustainable
and/or profitable.
Resilience: The extent to which the market system supporting the business model can adapt to stay
competitive, take advantage of new opportunities and recover from adverse shocks
Inclusiveness: The extent and depth to which the business model as practiced by the market players
includes and benefits the target group.
Scale: The proportion of the potential target group that gets goods, services and/or jobs promoted
by the programme.
Womens economic empowerment: The extent to which the business model includes and benefits
women in income, access to opportunities, assets, life chances, jobs workload and decision making.

Figure 1 Parameters with Systemic Change Framework

However, there is no clear definition of what systemic looks like in practice. In addition to these
overarching guiding characteristics, experienced program staff within the Australian aid context have also
identified that systemic change can be achieved through a range of changes based on the context, such as9:
Changes in behaviours and decision-making processes across multiple levels including individuals,
institutions, and rules;
Changes to policy, trade relations, the enabling environment, and removing trade barriers;
Direct and indirect impacts which extend further than individual partnerships and interventions; to
changes in the operation of markets, systems and sectors;
Smaller-scale, local impacts, or global-level market changes; and
Longer-term changes in resilience and autonomy, and reductions in vulnerability.

6Springfield

Centre (2008). A Synthesis of Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach
DCED (2014). Assessing systemic change implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard, p. 4.
8 MDF (2015). Achieving Changes in Markets: The MDF Framework for Defining and Populating Pathways for Systemic Change. Strategic Guidance
Note no 3, p. 10.
9 DFAT Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Reflection Workshop, 21-22 July 2015.
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Case study one: Off season mango production in Indonesia - AIP-PRISMA10


AIP-PRISMAs off-season mango intervention is an example of a DFAT-funded program leading to systemic
changes within a market. Mangoes are Indonesias largest fruit crop, but the prices were highly seasonal and
farmers were only producing for the main seasonal market. Syngenta had developed an early flowering plant
growth regulator for other crops but had not engaged with the mango sector to apply this technology. AIPPRISMA partnered with Syngenta to apply the technology to mangoes, with AIP-PRISMA providing technical
information and some financing and then developing the key partnerships. Initially the intervention was aimed
at working with collectors who were thought to be the best source of information for farmers as they rent trees
to mango farmers and buy mangoes during the selling season. However, as an understanding of the market
system evolved it became evident that a broader approach was required to reach farmers, retailers, and
collectors at scale as the role of collectors was not as extensive as initially anticipated. The intervention which
focused at all time on the private sector partner engagement and active implementation then focused on field
trips and visiting demo plots to reach farmers and collectors, training of retailers, establishment of collector
agents to provide services and information, and a series of promotional Expos to market mangoes.
The intervention is successfully creating an early-season mango market in Indonesia and aims to increase the
incomes of 10,000 farmers by 2015. Pro-poor impacts are being evidenced with farmers receiving far higher offseason prices and mango tree rents increasing, and expanding of farmer, collector and retailer interest. The
intervention is seeing systemic changes in the mango sector and with actors involved in the mango supply chain
adapting the intervention, sales increasing, and support from collector agents and retailers, who are being
trained by Syngenta. Wider changes are being seen with crowding-in by other sectors such as a local agriculture
vocational school and a university incorporating mango education into courses, the Ministry of Agriculture
showing renewed interest in the intervention, other countries showing interest, Rambutan being identified as a
potential new market for the technology, and competitors crowding-in.

10

Example used in the July 2015 DFAT Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Reflection Workshop and Palladium and Swiss Contact presentations
during the Orientation to Market Systems Development Workshop, 29 Sept 2 October 2015.
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Case Study two: Vegetable Growers in Bangladesh - Katalyst11


In Bangladesh before the Katalyst intervention, there were low levels of levels of production and low incomes in
the vegetable sector. This was due to farmers low levels of awareness of quality inputs, farmers not using
appropriate cultivation techniques, and wastage during transportation due to poor packaging. The initial
boundaries for systemic change focused on farmer education through the Syngenta retailer network. Retailers were
trained by Syngenta with financial support from Katalyst so that they would be seen as trusted advisors and would
pass information to the farmers. As the project became more successful other agricultural input suppliers such as
East-West and Bayers started to crowd-in by also providing information on products to farmers. As it became clear
that the services being supplied were critical to increased production a telephone helpline was established which
retailers and farmer could contact, thus increasing scale and impact. The boundary of the systemic change
expanded further with government extension including staff becoming involved and being trained, and curriculum
being developed by the Universities as training suppliers and developers of strategies for agri-input suppliers. The
model is being adapted to other sectors, such as fisheries, maize and poultry. The change has been slow and
incremental over approximately 15 years but this has ensured resilience and sustainability at each stage of change.

Figure 1 Schematic of the boundaries of systemic change shifting

11

Example used in Palladium and Swiss Contact presentations during the Orientation to Market Systems Development Workshop, 29 Sept 2
October 2015..
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3. Systemic Change Frameworks


To embed systemic changes within interventions and to measure impacts and systemic changes12,
programs can utilise existing systemic change frameworks or develop appropriate frameworks for specific
interventions.

3.1 The Adopt, Adapt, Expand, Respond (AAER) framework


The Adopt, Adapt, Expand and Respond (AAER) framework13 is intended to help programs manage and
measure changes in market systems and is a guide that outlines market behaviours in response to marketdevelopment interventions and systemic changes. The framework identifies initial steps of the innovation
being adopted by the original innovator and then enlarges, alters or improves the technology or innovation
and further investments. The market may then expand the initial innovation as competitors take it up (i.e.
crowding in) and implementing the innovation. Interrelated markets may then respond to the change in the
initial market adjusting their practices accordingly. The model can assist with planning and decision-making
by highlighting milestones that can be achieved, and for monitoring progress towards systemic changes and
identify where further intervention is required to achieve systemic changes.
(relatively)
independent
tailoring,
investment
SUSTAINABILITY

RESPOND

initial innovation
buy-in, viability

functions, rules
and interconnected
markets crowd in
(depth)

ADAPT
EXPAND

other players, areas


or sectors crowd in
(breadth)

ADOPT
SCALE

Figure 2 AAER model

AIP-PRISMA is one DFAT-funded program which uses this model in these ways14. AIP-PRISMA have also
found the framework useful to communicate their progress and future plans to donors which can be
challenging for M4P approaches which are characterised by their flexibility and increasing scope over time.

12For

more information on DCED recommendations on measuring systemic change, refer to the DCED (2014) Assessing systemic change:
Implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard
13 Developed by Katalyst and The Springfield Centre; more information about the model can be found in The Springfield Centres (2014) AdoptAdapt-Expand-Respond: A framework for managing and measuring systemic change processes. Katalyst is a market based programme operating in
Bangladesh rural areas which aims to contribute to increased income for poor men and women by increasing the competitiveness of farmers and
small enterprises by facilitating changes in services, inputs and product markets. The Springfield Centre is a UK based independent consulting,
training and research organization focuses on inclusive development with an orientation towards markets.
14

Presented by Goetz Ebbecke, AIP-Rural (2015). Systemic Change PowerPoint.

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3.2 Market Development Facilitys (MDF) systemic change


framework15
MDF developed a framework to apply systemic change concepts to their programming that extends further
than the DCED standard indicators and the AAER framework. Their framework aims to measure the
outcome of systemic change for the poor as well as the change itself at the output level. The framework
considers impacts on both business actors and beneficiaries (poor female and male farmers, employers,
and consumers) and considers autonomy, inclusiveness, and womens economic empowerment (WEE) to
be essential components to achieving systemic change and pro-poor impacts in addition to the standard
DCED parameters. Their framework is designed to reflect that changes happen at different speeds, and is
designed to comment on the quality of the changes and not be limited by a focus on crowding in, as other
changes can be positive such as market actors working with new groups of beneficiaries.
The framework maps a pathway to systemic change in each intervention. It is used to measure and assess
progress across different levels of systemic change from beginning state to expected high state using
progression indicators and specific questions for each indicator. MDF have started using this framework in
Fiji and are extending it to other implementation countries.
Market actors

Market
Parameters

Beginning State

Businesses &
Institutions:

Autonomy:

Beneficiaries:

Ini= Initial

Expected High State

Assessment

Other than what has been agreed with


partner in the agreement there is no active
interest to expand supply chain.

Major exported see the value of interacting


directly with farmers as supply chain and
initiate activities on their own to include
more farmers on their own time

Sustainability:

Exporters are reluctant to invest in


strengthening a supply chain that includes
small farmers and prefer spot transactions

Exporters widely recognise the business case


of setting up and managing their supply
chains and providing extension services to
small farmers as a profitable, long term
strategy

The business is
showing more
ownership but
needs to be
supported
more to make it
more resilient
and more
commercially
driven

Resilience:

There is limited and dysfunctional


public/private cooperation in the agro input
market sales; input providers lack finance and
logistical support and doesnt readily adapt to
new market opportunities

The sector enjoys robust public/private


cooperation, appropriate finance and
logistical support and readily responds to new
market opportunities

Inclusiveness

Most farmers have limited access to export


markets to increase productivity and volume,
diversify and commercialise

At least 25% of farmers are integrated into


export supply chains to increase productivity
and volumes, diversify and commercialise

Scale:

Exporters tend to choose larger farmer as


regular suppliers; hardly any include small
farmer as suppliers other than MDF
partnerships. For these farmer, farming is
their sole income

Exporters actively manage supply chains and


cooperate with small suppliers in long-term
win/win relationships. Beneficiaries report
significant change in productivity and income

Womens
economic
empowerment:

Women are integral part of farming


households but struggle to get market access,
access to skills, farm employment leading to
low income, women work on average 6 hours
on farm beyond household activities

Exporters are doing more to actively involve


women because the benefits to their
business. As they do, farm households and
women benefit in terms of better access, skill
and employment. Owing to introduction of
appropriate technology, work hours for
women in agriculture is reduced. Overall
women in horticulture feel more empowered

Int=Intermediate

Adv = Advanced

I
n
i

I
n
t

A
d
v

M
a
t

Good impact is
being achieved
in terms of
inclusiveness
and scale. The
impact on WEE
is likely to
follow soon.

M = Matured

Figure 3 Example of the MDF framework16

15

Vicky Carter & Mujaddid Mohsin, MDF (2015). Canberra Conference Slides, and MDF (2015). Achieving Changes in Markets: The MDF Framework
for Defining and Populating Pathways for Systemic Change. Strategic Guidance Note no 3.
16Vicky Carter & Mujaddid Mohsin, MDF (2015). Canberra Conference Slides, p20
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4.

Implications for the program cycle

To ensure systemic changes are catalysed, a range of interventions can be applied to programming across
the program cycle. Lessons/ suggestions from practical experiences for improving an interventions ability
to achieve systemic impacts include17:
Sector analysis and Intervention design
By taking an investigative approach and collating information on the whole enabling environment, initial
analyses can identify opportunities within the context to understand where markets exist that could benefit
the poor and consider the constraints that exist to their participation. Data can be drawn from a range of
sources, including stakeholder feedback, tacit knowledge, desk research, and examining trends identified.
Approaches should allow for long-term interventions based on the local context as systemic problems
require long-term approaches, and time is required to identify opportunities and for systemic impacts to be
realised and evidenced. Program plans can clearly follow a path to systemic changes by articulating the
changes expected, the desired end state/outcomes and what success looks like at different stages, and
mapping the causal pathways of how activities will achieve these changes18.
Where appropriate, programs can test interventions with phased approaches or pilots, assess their success
and failure using monitoring information, then adapt and scale up often working with a different set of
partners rather than simply replicating or enlarging an initial pilot. Programs can also consider portfolio
approaches, collaborative approaches, and a range of delivery methods appropriate for the specific
context.
Program implementation, adaptation and M&E
Measuring and attributing systemic changes which are by definition non-linear, complex and achieved over
time, can be challenging. The DCED Standard for Results Measurement is a results measurement
framework that can be used, which is centred on a results chain. This adds more granularity to causal
relationships between project activities with partners, and their outputs at the market system level,
improved performance at the beneficiary level and ultimately poverty reduction. Each step is measured
and changes are made accordingly if certain stages are not reached, or other things happen as a
consequence. Hence this is also a management as well as a measurement tool.
It is advisable that programs adapt the DCED framework and develop their own indicators that assess short
and longer-term changes within their market system; for example the number of innovations, number of
farmers and enterprises that crowd-in, deeper investigation of impacts beyond outreach and income, and
sustainability indicators to demonstrate that impacts last beyond funding (i.e. ex-post).
It is essential with market-development programs that designs, theory of change, and M&E frameworks are
flexible and adaptable so that they can respond to feedback, including opportunities and failures to
improve the likelihood that they will achieve planned systemic changes. AIP-PRISMA suggests taking an
investigative approach to monitoring and evaluation and to engagement with stakeholders to identify
impact. Programs could also invest in rolling baselines to identify impacts as the program approach evolves
over time.

17

Recommendations were provided during the July 2015 DFAT Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Reflection Workshop. Further program planning,
implementation, and results measurement information can be found in the resources and through the DCED and The Springfield Centre.
18 DCED (2014). Assessing systemic change implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard.
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Donors and implementing partners


Donors could best support M4P programs where systemic change is key by allowing flexibility and
adaptability in program designs, and accepting the time it takes for sustainable results to appear and lack of
clarity around outcomes. They can also contribute to outcomes by drawing on relationships with senior
government and business leaders to push for meta-level systemic change, such as in trade relations and
policy changes.
A role for analysis and research

There is a need for more empirical studies, practice notes on implementer experiences on what
systemic change looks like in differing contexts with a key focus on ways to catalyse change from
which others can learn. Key to this is also research on wider policy dimensions as an embedded
part of these programs to enable new way in which organizations and institutions are able to
function in the market and generate the changes required to decrease poverty through market
systems and not further embed inequalities

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Appendices
A.1

Acronyms

AAER

Adopt, Adapt, Expand and Respond

DCED

Donor Committee for Enterprise Development

MDF

Market Development Facility

M&E

Monitoring and Evaluation

WEE

Womens economic empowerment

A.2

Resources

AIP-Rural (2015). Systemic Change PowerPoint, DFATs Agriculture and Food Security Portfolio Reflection
Meeting, 21 - 22 July 2015. Presented by Goetz Ebbecke.
Cambodian Agricultural Value Chain Programme (CAVAC). Sustainability Strategy.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Reflection Workshop,
21-22 July 2015.
Department for International Development (DFID) (2013). Review of Making Markets Work for the Poor
(M4P) evaluation methods and approaches.
Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) (August 2014). Assessing systemic change:
Implementation guidelines for the DCED Standard.
Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED). (2015). Standard for Results Measurement.
Market Development Facility (MDF) (2015). Canberra Conference Slides, DFATs Agriculture and Food
Security Portfolio Reflection Workshop, 21 - 22 July 2015. Presented by Vicky Carter and Mujaddid Mohsin.
Market Development Facility (2015). Achieving Changes in Markets: The MDF Framework for Defining and
Populating Pathways for Systemic Change. Strategic Guidance Note no 3.
Palladium/Swiss Contact (2015). Conference slides, Orientation to Market Systems Development
Workshop, 29 September 2 October 2015. Presented by Goetz Ebbecke. .
Springfield Centre (2008). A Synthesis of Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach.
The Springfield Centre (2014). Adopt-Adapt-Expand-Respond: A framework for managing and measuring
systemic change processes.

A.3

Acknowledgements

Gavin Blake from Fever Pitch for the animation pictures in this document drawn during the DFATs
Agriculture and Food Security Portfolio Reflection Meeting, 21 - 22 July 2015.

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