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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

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Using Systemic M&E Tools in Feed The Future Uganda: Sensemaker®

by on Jul 29, 2015  |  posted in Market Facilitation, Monitoring and Evaluation  |  1 Comment

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LEO                   BEAM Exchange

Welcome to a new cycle of webinars focusing on inclusive market facilitation tools. In this special edition we have three 1-hour webinars that form a complete set.

In this series, Eric Derks and Leanne Rasmussen  share learning from this five-year, multi-million dollar USAID program, the objective of which is to increase Ugandan farmers’ use of good quality agro-inputs by fostering more inclusive systemic changes in the agro-inputs industry.

As of late 2014, the program developed and began utilizing an M&E scheme that is expected to:

  • Monitor the feedback from actors in the agro-inputs sector on the program’s interventions and use this information to improve their interventions
  • Gauge systemic change in behavior and business practices—in the agro-inputs industry and explore the impacts on smallholder farmers
  • Explore the limits of reasonable attribution to interventions

This third webinar in the series, titled “Using Systemic M&E Tools in Feed The Future Uganda: Sensemaker ®,” looked at how the project team used this tool and method to monitor systemic change. Leanne and Eric shared their experiences with using the tool and provide recommendations to other practitioners who are interested in applying it.

What is Sensemaker ®?

SenseMaker combines an innovative research methodology with patented software to collect and analyze large quantities of narratives in order to understand complex change. It brings together insights from complexity sciences, anthropology, and cognitive science. It uses participants’ narratives to uncover foundational attitudes and norms that inform and influence behavior.

Check back here for details on other webinars in the series!

This webinar was organized by SEEP's Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI), USAID's LEO project and the BEAM Exchange as a part of the "Learning with the Toolmakers" webinar series.
See the first and second webinars!


Recommended Reading


Eric Derks

Eric Derks designs and advises on system change projects, applying concepts and tools from complexity science. He currently advises on several international market systems initiatives. He recently managed a USAID/Uganda Feed the Future agricultural inputs project, focused on shifting patterns of behavior in Uganda's agro-inputs market.

Leanne Rasmussen

Leanne Rasmussen is an Associate with Adam Smith International, where she is currently working as the Technical Advisor on the USAID Uganda Agricultural Inputs Activity, implemented by Tetra Tech. Previously, she supported various market systems facilitation projects and organizations in East and Southern Africa while working with Pollen Group/Engineers Without Borders Canada. Leanne is interested in how complexity and systems theory translates into practice on market systems and M4P projects, especially with how to measure systemic change.

1 Comment

Mary Morgan says:
Aug 08, 2015

Great webinar series- thanks! Sensemaker looks very interesting. It seems that it is best used as a monitoring tool to get feedback and then apply adaptive management to respond to what the feedback tells us. Yet the process in itself seems very time consuming and requires lots of resources (human and time). Just for curiosity sake, how much is the software?

The other question I have is how long does it take to interview each informant- where they tell their stories. Seems that each informant will be telling various stories that they have to interpret themselves with the dyads and triads and any other tools within sensemaker that are used in the data collection stage. When the poor are working, every 20 minutes or more taken from their work takes from their income generating capacity. Just wondering how Feed the Future Uganda gets buy in from the informants to participate in this disruption in the workday every 6 months.

Marcus, you state that the tool should be applied continuously to gather data on behavioral change, what is the frequency then that you propose and do you think this is realistic within the state of the field of MD today?


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