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The SEEP Network 
Annual Conference

October 1-3, 2018

Session Descriptions



Track logo People on the Move: Islamic Finance for Pastoralists in Africa     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

In 2015, Islamic finance will reach $2.5 trillion in global assets. Yet most of the 20 million pastoralists in the Horn of Africa have not benefited from this growth due to their mobile nature and despite congruent ethical considerations – being a predominantly Muslim population. In this workshop, Mercy Corps and Takaful Insurance of Africa Company, will address market barriers/opportunities and approaches meeting the unique demand and risk profiles of pastoralists. We will detail tools to build resilience of pastoralists through a range of Islamic financial services (savings, loans, and micro-insurance) and delivery channels, highlighting examples from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

  • Thea AndersonDirector for Financial Inclusion, Mercy Corps
  • Netsaalem Bahiru GebrieLivelihoods Advisor, Mercy Corps
  • Hassan BashirFounder and Group Chief Executive, Takaful Africa Group
  • Abdillahi Farah AdenDeputy Alternative Livelihoods and Financial Service Advisor, Mercy Corps


Track logo Insuring Farm and Family: Innovative Risk Management Strategies in Developing Markets     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

Poor households don’t wake up with a deep desire to buy insurance. They wake up worrying about risks. Development programs focused on moving households out of poverty realize a sudden shock can wipe out years of anti-poverty initiatives, which has led them many to start focusing on integrating safety net solutions. The session will showcase two very distinct, innovative insurance programs: one from South East Asia that offers coverage to more than 600k households, and a pilot in West Africa that covers drought risk for 5,000 small farms. Both will showcase the diversity of models, risks covered, and stages of delivering safety net solutions to low income households.

  • Mamadou DiopFinancial Advisor, Engility
  • Jason Meikle, Deputy Director, Pact Global Microfinance Fund
  • Aung NaingProgram Officer, Pact Global Microfinance Fund
  • Thierry Van Bastelaer, Vice President, Abt Associates
  • Jean-Michel VoisardChief of Party, Feed the Future Senegal


Track logo Increasing Resilience through Hospitalization Coverage: Case Studies from the Middle East and Africa     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

Health issues, especially those resulting in hospitalization, can financially devastate low-income families. The total costs of hospitalization—including medical fees, transportation, food, lost income and more—often exceed available savings on hand and low-income families cope by depleting assets, borrowing, selling valuables and/or relying on family and friends. The ripple effects can often last far beyond the health issue. Come to this panel discussion to learn about the latest research and approaches to "hospital cash"—including the unique ways that they are marketed to clients using the product for the first time, and how hospital cash can be a gateway to broader health insurance coverage and promoting resilience.

  • Anjali Banthia, Specialist, Product Development, Women's World Banking 
  • Mazen NimriDirector, Jordan Insurance Company
  • Thierry Van Bastelaer, Vice President, Abt Associates


Track logo Pathways to Resilience: Evaluating the Role of Financial Services     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

What is the role of financial services in building resilience? Using evidence-based approaches to define, measure, and develop financial services that help communities and households prepare for and bounce back from shocks and stresses, the moderator and panelists will frame the role of financial services in the context of global approaches to resilience, offering specific evidence from research from the Philippines and Burkina Faso. Based on the evidence presented, session participants will be asked to consider when and under what circumstances financial services are appropriate, effective, useful, and even transformative in building resilience.

  • Sybil ChidiacDirector of Africa & Global Savings, Freedom from Hunger
  • Megan GashResearch Director, Freedom from Hunger
  • Lena Heron, Senior Rural Development Advisor, USAID
  • Vaidehi KrishnanRegional Economic Opportunities Advisor, Mercy Corps
  • Olga PetryniakRegional Resilience Advisor, Mercy Corps


Track logo Sustainable Approaches to Digitizing Savings Groups     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

Savings Groups have emerged as an effective way for the rural poor to access financial services. Today, roughly 8.4 million Savings Group members have mobilized $100 million in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their success demonstrates enormous market opportunity, and this workshop will explore how mobile technologies can accelerate that opportunity. Digitizing groups helps secure cash, opens access to more and better-tailored financial products, and enables visibility into group transactions, which the market can use to design more appropriate products for members. The panel will discuss how banks, telcos, and users have profited from successful models in East Africa.

  • Lauren HendricksExecutive Director of CARE USA Access Africa Initiative, CARE
  • Lisa KienzleGlobal Director of Financial Services, Grameen Foundation
  • Matt WilsonAssistant Vice President, Global Community Investment, Barclays


Track logo Addressing Unpaid Care Work to Improve Women’s Economic Empowerment     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

Unpaid care work is a major constraint to women’s economic empowerment. The disproportionate responsibility for care and domestic work that falls on women creates a ‘glass wall’ that limits women’s time, mobility and access to economic opportunities. Yet it is often overlooked because practitioners fail to recognize it or lack tools to address it. This session will support you to analyze unpaid care in programs and take action that helps reduce and re-distribute care responsibilities. It will explore the role of Governments, business and civil society in changing social norms, improving infrastructure and developing relevant business models.

  • Felicity ButlerEthical Consumption Expert, PhD Researcher, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • John ChettleboroughManager of Agricultural Markets and Enterprise Unit, Oxfam GB
  • Jodie ThorpeResearch Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, The BEAM Exchange


Track logo Unpacking Measurement Practices in Women's Economic Empowerment     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

As women’s economic empowerment grows as a priority of economic development programming, practitioners are gaining practical experience in monitoring and measuring economic empowerment. This experience has created a deeper understanding of the complexity of empowerment, and acknowledgement that the impacts of private sector development programs on women and girls cannot be understood simply through sex-disaggregated data. This session will explore key challenges and lessons learned in measuring women’s economic empowerment—from defining and identifying female beneficiaries within mixed-sex households/enterprises, to determining measures for women’s economic empowerment, to ensuring data is collected in a gender-responsive manner that minimizes bias and is itself empowering to women.  

  • Rebecca Furst-NicholsSenior Programs Officer, United Nations Foundation
  • Emilie Gettliffe, Associate Consultant, Marketshare Associates
  • Sonia JordanGender Equality and Social Inclusion Lead, Adam Smith International
  • Hazel Malapit, Research Coordinator, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)


Track logo Graduation Model: Do Women Benefit More or Less than Men?     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

Focusing on improving the lives of the extremely poor, Concern Worldwide took on the Graduation approach back in 2005. In 2011-2015, Concern (implementer), IDS (researcher), and Irish Aid (funder) joined forces in Burundi and Rwanda to reduce extreme poverty of 4,600 households, while advancing the knowledge about the effectiveness of the approach through rigorous research. The programs’ key performance indicators will be presented—disaggregated by gender—to discuss how women-headed households tally against men-headed households; and whether girls and boys equally benefit. Implications for future programming will be discussed from three perspectives: implementation, research, and funding.

  • Stephen DevereuxDirector, Center for Social Protection, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
  • Irina IgnatievaMicrofinance and Markets Advisor, Concern Worldwide
  • Julianna Lindsey, Vice President for Programs, Women for Women International
  • Melissa Victor, Financial Sector Analyst, CGAP


Track logo Promoting Women’s Engagement in Local, Regional and International Trade     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

This session will explore efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment by expanding women’s roles and participation in trade, examining interventions at the local, regional, and international levels. Through a panel-format sharing three diverse perspectives, it will feature case studies from Women for Women International’s work to promote the use of mobile technology to assist traders in the DRC, Banyan Global’s work to promote project-wide gender integration on the USAID/Southern Africa Trade Hub, and USAID’s work in South East Asia and Southern Africa to support regional trade associations and the creation of gender equitable trade policies.

  • Veyrl AdellAssociate Director, Africa Economic Empowerment, Women for Women International
  • Wade Channell, Sr. Economic Growth Advisor, Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, USAID
  • Lisabeth MeyersGender Specialist, Banyan Global


Track logo Navigating the Empowerment Nexus: Economy and Agency     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

How does individual and collective agency of vulnerable women and girls lead to economic empowerment? In this session, panelists from diverse organizations will discuss why individual and collective agency are vital for women and girls to be empowered economically as well as how economic empowerment influences agency, efficacy and voice. For example, interventions that look to increase individual and collective action can be strengthened through partnerships with market-based actors to enable women to become socially and economically empowered. The panel will provide new evidence around integrating empowerment, collective action and financial access into economic development programming and explore ways that these elements interrelate, the measurement implications, and what we can learn from promising practices to date.

  • Rajshree Das, Parivartan Program Manager, PCI India
  • Sarah Emerson, Director, Women Empowered Initiative, PCI
  • Katherine FritzDirector, Global Health and Development, International Center for Research on Women
  • Anna MecagniDirector of Program Design and Development, Women for Women International
  • Neha Misra, Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister


Track logo The Role of the Private Sector in Women's Economic Empowerment     Track:
Women's Economic Empowerment

What are the main drivers for the private sector (PS) to pursue Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) in its supply chain? What are the main challenges and lessons learned? What is the role of the civil society in working with the PS for this purpose? These are the main questions that this session will explore, building upon Oxfam’s and CARE’s experience from different angles and from a global vs. local dimension: one from a campaigning perspective, the other from an implementing partner perspective. The PS will also participate and offer its own vision and the “business case” for WEE.

  • Anna BryanCoffee Industry Support Project Manager, CARE International
  • Aslihan Kes, Economist and Gender Specialist, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  • Gianluca NardiSenior Private Sector Advisor, CARE UK
  • Anna SwaithesSustainable Development Director, SABMiller
  • Sarah ZoenSenior Advisor, Private Sector Development, Oxfam America




Track logo Innovations and Experiences in Bundling Finance with Services for Smallholders     Track:
Small-scale Producers in Resilient Agricultural Systems

Most of the world’s poor are farmers, and the microfinance sector is not currently meeting their needs—from accessing credit to integrating into supply chains. Furthermore, smallholders don't have these needs in isolation. Agricultural service providers must evolve new models that go beyond delivering a single service, to ones that address the interrelated needs of smallholders in a coordinated way, providing a holistic suite of services promoting market linkages alongside access to finance, inputs, and technical assistance. This session will examine the practical experiences of various innovative strategies that have been developed by practitioners to tackle this major challenge. 

  • Whitney Gantt, Global Director of Agriculture, Grameen Foundation
  • David HongGlobal Senior Policy Analyst, One Acre Fund
  • Adam Keatts, Agricultural Knowledge Manager, Fintrac Inc.
  • John Magnay, Head of Agriculture Finance, Opportunity International


Track logo Four Ways to Build Smallholder Resilience     Track:
Small-scale Producers in Resilient Agricultural Systems

Panelists will share four diverse experiences building smallholder resilience, which is essential to ensuring long-term gains for poor households and sustained transformation of markets. The Nigeria MARKETS II project will show how a supply solution for processors led to mitigation of a recurrent shock for smallholders; Liberia LAUNCH will discuss interventions that led to increased resilience of youth input-providers during the Ebola crisis; Uganda DESIGN will present how resilience has been built through cooperative actions and how studying behavioral hypotheses is leading to improved outcomes; and Haiti WINNER will share innovative technology investments that increased resilience to environmental shocks. 

  • Ilisa GertnerDeputy Chief of Party, Chemonics International
  • Mario KerbyDirector, Chemonics International
  • Hillary ProctorDeputy Director, Technical Services, Making Cents International
  • Kristin WilcoxProgram Manager, Global Communities


Track logo Using a Systems Approach to Ensure the Resilience of Farmers     Track:
Small-scale Producers in Resilient Agricultural Systems

This session will lead a discussion of the rationale and challenges for integrating market systems and resilience programming from the perspective of practitioners, researchers, and donors. The session will share emerging learning on determinants of resilience, including how different systems, such as ecological and social, affect each other. The session will present USAID’s Market Systems for Resilience framework and the Rockefeller Foundations’ approach to resilience through multiple systems responses. Mercy Corps will offer lessons from a current program in Nepal increasing rural resilience through market systems approaches discussing how the framework can be successfully applied and challenges that arise when addressing interconnected systems.

  • Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Associate Director for International Development, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Laura BrunoRegional Program Manager, Mercy Corps
  • Bronwyn Irwin, Practice Manager, Agriculture and Food Security, Engility


Track logo Working through Non-Traditional Market Actors to Impact Marginalized Producers     Track:
Small-scale Producers in Resilient Agricultural Systems

This session shares practical strategies of a replicable market systems development approach to benefit marginalized producers by working through non-traditional market actors. The approach, recognized by DfID as a successful model to build resilient markets, is currently implemented in multiple regions in East Africa. The model involves coordinating interventions between local university internship programs, large cooperatives, local management firms, and rural input-suppliers. The case study shared in the session explores how the model is being taken to scale with rural dairy producers across Kenya. This interactive session includes working with tools to strengthen business models of market actors, including highly effective simulation training methodologies.

  • Margie BrandExecutive Director, EcoVentures International
  • Annah MachariaProgram Manager, TechnoServe
  • Francis Wambalaba, Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Global Agribusiness Management & Entrepreneurship Center (GAME) at United States International University - Africa




Track logo Pitching to the Private Sector: Cases from Thin Markets     Track:
Private Sector Partnership Models for Enhancing Scale and Impact

As market facilitators, getting our ‘offer’ to the private sector right is the key to building a successful partnership that results in market system change. In thin markets, whether due to conflict or other market disruption, marginalization, or simply small populations, it can be difficult for companies to identify market opportunities. In this session, we hear from private sector partners across market development programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Kenya and Sierra Leone alongside team members from Adam Smith International. They will discuss the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of partnerships that work for business, resilience and inclusive growth.

  • Hassan BashirChief Executive Officer, Takaful Insurance of Africa
  • Laura RovamaaSenior Manager, Adam Smith International
  • Chloe Stull-LaneMarket Systems Consultant, Adam Smith International


Track logo Connecting the Plots: From Start-Up to Scale-Up for Smallholder Irrigation     Track:
Private Sector Partnership Models for Enhancing Scale and Impact

Smallholder farmers represent a vast potential market for small-scale irrigation solutions, such as drip irrigation, and an opportunity to enhance food security and income among some of the world’s poorest rural populations. To date, drip irrigation has failed to truly penetrate smallholder markets at commercial scale. However, there is a significant opportunity to reach large numbers of smallholders using market-based strategies that bring together the combined efforts and partnerships of many different players across the value chain. Join iDE, iDEal Tecnologias, Toro Micro-Irrigation, and USAID to discuss opportunities to open up the smallholder irrigation market at scale.

  • Rob Henning, ESPartners
  • Chris Holmes, Global Water Coordinator, USAID
  • Eduardo MendiasSenior Global Development Manager, Sustainble Agriculture, The Toro Company
  • Sarah NuernbergerTechnology and Innovation Project Manager, International Development Enterprises
  • Nadja Schaefli-KraenzlinGeneral Manager, International Development Enterprises


Track logo How Private Equity Enhances Scale and Impact     Track:
Private Sector Partnership Models for Enhancing Scale and Impact

This workshop will unravel the seemingly distant and nebulous world of private equity to development practitioners. Partnership between development actors and private equity firms, dubbed by the World Bank as a “capital plus” approach, has gained traction over the last several years, resulting in real-world, actionable models these partnerships can take to finance SMEs. In this workshop, Mercy Corps, will present and discuss its innovative partnership with Renew Strategies in Ethiopia, a private equity firm operating in sub-Saharan Africa, and compare its model with that between TechnoServe and Phatisa’s African Agriculture Fund.

  • Jane AbramovichGlobal Advisor, Access to Finance, TechnoServe
  • Tom ScrivenPartner, General Counsel, Renew LLC
  • Bethel TsegayeInnovation and Investment Fund Manager, Mercy Corps
  • Lorenz WildSenior Economic Technical Advisor, Mercy Corps


Track logo Catalyzing Investments in Smallholder Development: It's a Bumpy Road     Track:
Private Sector Partnership Models for Enhancing Scale and Impact

This session will compare and contrast ACDIVOCA's work with three programs in which their private sector partner made or is making a significant (>$2 million) investment. Presenters will summarize each of these programs, and draw lessons from them with regards to commercial success, effectiveness at including and improving the livelihoods and incomes of smallholders, as well as lessons for the future. These cases show that the better aligned the public good and private interests are, the greater the chances of success.

  • Kwesi Korboe, Chief Technical Advisor/USAID Embedded Advisor, Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ghana
  • Olaf KulaSenior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement, ACDI/VOCA


Track logo Leveraging Partnerships around Disruptive Technologies for Systems Change     Track:
Private Sector Partnership Models for Enhancing Scale and Impact

CARE and BRAC Dairy, a private dairy processor, will hold a candid discussion about challenges and successes in their cross-sector partnership to create systemic change in the Bangladeshi dairy value chain. Together, they introduced a new disruptive Digital Fat Testing (DFT) technology into the BRAC Dairy supply chain, and developed a network of entrepreneurial milk collectors in remote villages using this technology. The aim was to improve transparency in the supply chain, ensure consistent buying behavior and fair market prices for farmers, and incentivize dairy producers to improve their livestock practices to ensure a consistent supply of quality milk for BRAC Dairy.

  • Kevin McKague, Cape Breton University
  • Scott MerrillSenior Technical Advisor of Markets and Livelihoods, CARE USA
  • Taufiqur Rahman Mollick, Director of Dairy and Food Enterprises, BRAC
  • Nurul SiddiqueeTechnical Advisor of Sustainble Agriculture, CARE USA
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