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Assessing Systemic Change Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Assessing Systemic Change: Implementation Guidelines for the DCED Standard

Assessing Systemic Change: Implementation Guidelines for the DCED Standard

Summary

When markets work well, they enable the poor to find a job, sell what they produce, and purchase essential products and services. Across the world, however, many poor employees, producers or consumers are not able to access functional markets. Private sector development practitioners are increasingly focused on trying to better understand the ways in which markets work, and intervene to improve the ability of the poor to participate and benefit. This requires practitioners to understand market systems, commonly defined as an arrangement through which people and organisations produce and exchange goods and services.

The market system comprises three main sets of functions. These are the core functions of exchange, supporting services such as finance and information, which are necessary for the exchange to take place, and rules which govern how the other functions can operate. A market system comprises multiple actors, including the private sector, government and civil society. The DCED Standard for Results Measurement recommends that practitioners capture wider changes in the system or market that they work in. Doing so will enable practitioners to learn more about the market system, track the emerging results of their intervention, and continually adapt their approach to maximise their impact. It will also enable programmes to assess and report the broader benefits from a more functional market system, demonstrating the value of a market development approach to funders.

This guide is written primarily for practitioners in market development programmes. It recognises that assessing changes in market systems poses significant challenges, both operational and theoretical. Given the current investment in programmes with systemic objectives, however, there is a real need for practical guidance that will help field staff to monitor market-level changes. Consequently, this document outlines a simple, flexible structure which will help programmes using the DCED Standard to outline, review, and monitor a causal pathway to changes in the market.



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