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The SEEP Network 
Annual Conference

October 1-3, 2018

Peer Learning Sessions


The 2016 SEEP Annual Conference brings together a wide array of innovative and thought-provoking sessions within each of the four Technical Tracks under the theme, Expanding Market Frontiers. Discover the 24 Peer Learning Sessions hosted at this year’s conference below. 

Track logo India's Financial Inclusion IPOs: How to Benefit Investors and Clients     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

IPOs are the pinnacle of commercial success, but in the financial inclusion industry, IPOs have been criticized for enriching investors at the expense of the poor. There are risks posed by large amounts of investment coming into the sector at high valuations, but there are also benefits to increasing participation of retail investors and introducing the sector to a new investor base. This session examined the 2016 IPOs of two Indian microlenders – Equitas and Ujjivan - and how their commitment to hardwiring the social mission into their businesses, and protecting clients, sets them apart and drives their success. 

  • Anna Kanze, Chief Operations Officer, Grassroots Capital Management
  • Danielle Piskadlo, Manager - Investing in Inclusive Finance, Accion


Track logo Innovations in Digital Financial Inclusion and Financial Capability Building for Savings Groups     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

Join three leaders in innovation for financial inclusion as CARE, Fundacion Capital and Financial Sector Deepening Kenya share the latest results from their work to help savings groups engage and grow through new technologies. This session profiled two new financial products that are enabling VSLAs to "go fully digital" in East Africa; share results from Fundacion Capital's groundbreaking approach to providing digital training to groups in Latin America and East Africa; and offer insights into the latest progress in FSD Kenya's efforts to offer groups a digital record keeping application, e-Recording and a training app for SGs, the e-Kit. 

  • Christian PennottiInterim Director - Access Africa, CARE
  • Sarah Hewitt, Head of Operations, Fundacion Capital
  • Paul Rippey, Co-Founder and Editor, Savings-Revolution.org


Track logo “New” Digital Technologies and “Old” Partnership Approaches for Financial Inclusion     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

Deepening financial inclusion requires a mix of old and new—combining what we’ve learned about client characteristics and partnerships with the power of digital platforms to reach scale, lower costs, and solve traditional problems. In this session, we explored how three different digital platforms and partnership models have deepened inclusion. In Uganda, a digital application for building farmer profiles is facilitating access to crop insurance and credit. In Tunisia, digitizing sales records and payments underpins a tri-partite financing agreement between rural retailers, a MFI, and a wholesaler. In Egypt and Nigeria, digital IDs are bringing millions into the formal economy.

  • Eileen Hoffman, Director - Economic Growth and Trade Practice, Chemonics International
  • Zilla Arach, Chief Operations Officer, Akorion Company Ltd, Chemonics International Partner
  • Timothy Nourse, PresidentMaking Cents International
  • Sarah Martin, Director of Business Development for the Public Sector, MasterCard


Track logo Applying the Market Systems Approach to Digital Financial Inclusion     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

On behalf of the U.K.’s Department for International Development, DAI implements Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) programs in Zambia and Mozambique. The FSDs have a broad financial market systems mandate working across a variety of products, services, and sector-wide initiatives, including digital financial services (DFS) to advance financial inclusion for the poor. In the Philippines, DAI implemented USAID’s Scaling Innovations in Mobile Money (SIMM) project, which applied a local ecosystem approach to mobile money, particularly to increase local government unit (LGU) digital payments. This session compared the application of these approaches to DFS.

  • John Jepsen, Global Practice Lead, Financial Services, DAI
  • Bhairav Raja, Global Practice Specialist, Financial Services, DAI Europe
  • Nebil Kellow, Deputy Team Leader, Private Enterprise Programme Ethiopia


Track logo Data for Decisions: Using Nontraditional Data to Deliver Services to Poor     Track:
Financial Services and Technology to Promote Resilience

Data holds power. With 36 start-up initiatives focused on digital data for financial services launched in 2015 alone, big data is proving to be a powerful way to bank the unbanked. Digital credit offered by MNOs is enabling instant, automated, and remote loans outside of branches, lowering the cost of serving rural clients. Financial institutions are also looking at new data sets, from new collection methods, for innovative ways of underwriting products more efficiently and serving new clients. However, new models present new risks – providers must be prepared for different ways of engaging with customers outside traditional operational models.

  • Whitney Gantt, Global Director of Mobile Agriculture, Grameen Foundation
  • Xavier Faz, Lead - Digital Finance Frontiers Initiative, CGAP
  • Pearson Njeru, Chief Operations Officer, Musoni Kenya


Track logo Financial Inclusion for Youth: Why Education is Just Not Enough     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

Do you ever wonder if financial literacy and savings and lending products are enough for financial inclusion of youth? Curious to see how a positive youth development approach within the financial services works? Join us to explore how youth in Zambia, Liberia and across sub-Saharan Africa have found inclusion in the financial sector through programs that use of a positive youth development approach. Expect to be involved through demonstrations of capacity building sessions, live product development and for some lively interactions!

  • Anne Greteman, Manager - Technical Services, Making Cents International 
  • Paul Hewett, Senior Associate, Population Council
  • John Schiller, Global Advisor for Savings GroupsPlan International


Track logo Reaching the Poor through Investment and Blended Finance     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

Recent work in market systems development shows blended finance, provision of investment capital and work with the private sector in developing countries are all key components to building pathways out of poverty for the most vulnerable. Different approaches to blended finance range from a commercial perspective working with frontier markets to more supported methods. This panel focused on private-sector approaches and the lessons learned towards showing impacts on the improvement in the lives of small business owners and their communities.

  • Ann Gordon, Senior Consultant and Project Manager, Mennonite Economic Development Associates
  • Jason Dudek, Chief Financial Officer, Mountain Lion Agriculture
  • Robert Webster, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds


Track logo Bridging the Gender Gap: Market Strategies for Expanding Financial Access for Women     Track:
Expanding and Deepening Financial Inclusion

Despite our best efforts, women's access to financial services is still lagging around the world. Donor investments in expanding women’s financial inclusion have made significant gains. Nevertheless, these programs still face challenges achieving targets for female clients. Despite introducing new products and adopting new outreach methods targeting female clients, this gap persists. Join us to hear from three Mastercard/UNCDF Microlead projects - UGAFODE in Uganda, NBS Bank in Malawi and Freedom from Hunger in Burkina Faso to understand the lessons learned and different market adaptations needed to reach female populations.

  • Sybil Chidiac, Director - Africa and Global Savings Program, Freedom from Hunger
  • Jennifer Ferreri, Senior Program Manager, Mennonite Economic Development Associates
  • Esnat Nchembe, Product Development Manager, NBS Bank
  • Jaclyn Berfond, Specialist, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation, Women's World Banking
Track logo Enhancing Food Security through Social Franchising: Lessons from the Field     Track:
Enhancing Food Security through Market-Oriented Interventions

Franchising continues to thrive as a model for business expansion because of its unparalleled ability to scale while maintaining standards. One of the most exciting new trends in franchising is its use in expanding “social” businesses that are designed to increase access to basic needs. This session explored how the model is being used to improve food security for poor and marginalized communities. We examined iDE’s Farm Business Advisor model that, through a partnership with World Vision, improves productivity of poor farmers and catalyzes the growth of their agriculture businesses; and CARE Bangladesh’s Krishi Utsho farm supply shop franchise.

  • Maruf Azam, General Manager - Krishi Utsho Microfranchise, Care Bangladesh
  • Julie McBride, Senior Consultant, MSA Worldwide
  • Andy HunterEconomic Development Consultant, World Vision Australia
  • Chris Nicoletti, Global iQ Director, iDE
  • Bill MaddocksDirector – Social Sector Franchise Initiative, Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise,  University of New Hampshire


Track logo Farm to Supermarket: How to Access Higher-value Local Markets     Track:
Enhancing Food Security through Market-Oriented Interventions

Supermarkets in developing countries theoretically offer a good market opportunity for smallholder farmers. However, smallholders face an uphill battle to access these higher value markets given strict quality and phytosanitary qualifications and lack of market knowledge, market connections, and access to finance. Global Communities and TechnoServe will present and examine four different cases where smallholders have successfully overcome these challenges and begun to sell their products (dairy and horticulture) to local and international supermarket chains. Specifically, the session will examine case studies from Mongolia (EMIRGE program) and Mexico, South Africa and India (Technoserve). The session examined the factors for success observed in each context, and think through the replicability of the approach. We will also analyze barriers to entry faced by smallholders and cooperatives when attempting to break into these new markets. Finally, we discussed concrete best practices for how development programs can harness underlying factors for success while breaking down the remaining barriers to entry so that smallholder farmers can disrupt the cycle of poverty.

  • Tuul TuvshinbayarProgram Manager, Global Communities
  • Kristin WilcoxProgram Manager for Cooperative Development, Global Communities
  • Macani Toungara, Director - Program Development, Technoserve


Track logo Linking Smallholders to Institutional and Commercial Markets for Improved Food Security     Track:
Enhancing Food Security through Market-Oriented Interventions

This session explored diverse models for leveraging public and private sector food demand to build smallholder capacity to reliably supply markets while improving the nutrition and food security of rural households. Models include i) linking producer organizations with school feeding programs ii) connecting public backyard gardening programs with buyers iii) building smallholder capacity to meet grocery store and restaurant demand for sustainable produce and iv) delivering food security initiatives through cash crop buyers. The session documented learning, explored roles of sector players, identified opportunities for PPPs, and assessed how mobile technology can reduce barriers to smallholder inclusion.

  • Dick Commandeur, Senior Technical Advisor, SNV
  • Whitney Gantt, Global Director, Mobile Agriculture, Grameen Foundation
  • Mazen Fawzy, Managing Director Resilience & Growth Group, ACDI/VOCA
  • Sebastian Hernandez, Board Member, Salva Terra


Track logo Building the Evidence Base for Linking Household Incomes to Nutrition     Track:
Enhancing Food Security through Market-Oriented Interventions

Market development programs aim to increase farm household incomes, but often these market-oriented interventions fail to translate to sustained food and nutrition security. Increased incomes may be a necessary but not sufficient condition for improved nutritional status. This session explores existing evidence that correlates family income to nutrition. Through a combination of conceptual and empirical presentations, as well as a highly participatory, experiential exercise, the session will provide participants with practical knowledge that they can use to improve the effectiveness of their own market-oriented nutrition-sensitive agriculture projects.

  • Victor Pinga, Agriculture Advisor, Save the Children Federation / SPRING Project
  • Heather Danton, Food Security and Nutrition Director, John Snow International / SPRING Project
  • Lidan Du, Research Advisor, Helen Keller International / SPRING Project
  • Samantha Clark, Food Security and Nutrition Specialist, John Snow International / SPRING Project


Track logo The Graduation Approach for the Ultra Poor: Is It Worth It?     Track:
Enhancing Food Security through Market-Oriented Interventions

Is the Graduation Approach an effective way to reach the ultra-poor? The World Bank and UN have set a target of ending extreme poverty by 2030. The Graduation Approach has proven successful in creating effective pathways for the ultra-poor living at the bottom of the poverty pyramid where MFIs and government programs struggle to reach. Through careful sequencing and a multifaceted, time-bound approach that is woven together with intense, systematic coaching, graduation pilots have evidenced sustainable improvements in quality of life, food security, health, income generation and financial inclusion. The Graduation Approach and pilot results will be shared and debated.

  • Mariella Greco, Country Director - Paraguay, Plan International
  • Anne Hastings, Global Advocate and Quality Assurance Advisor, Uplift
  • Harshani Dharmadasa, Program Manager - Ultra-Poor Graduation InitiativeBRAC USA
  • Michael Felix, Director of Program Development, Trickle Up
  • Kathleen Colson, Founder and CEO, The BOMA Project


Track logo Applying a Market Development Approach to Financial Inclusion – Lessons from DRC     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

Drawing on lessons learned from ÉLAN RDC (DFID market development programme in DRC), particularly its partnership with FINCA, this interactive session explored how donors/implementers can best position themselves to help financial institutions (FIs) overcome the challenges they face in increasing financial inclusion in complex thin/fragile markets. It covers the role they can play in coordinating, and brokering, new relationships for FIs with competitors, with poor consumers, and with government; funding research/expertise; and sharing/rewarding the risks in expanding services to marginalized communities. It also examined an innovative M&E framework developed to measure income growth from savings made via mobile banking.

  • Andrew Panton, Manager, Adam Smith International 
  • Nathan Hulley, Team Leader, Adam Smith International
  • Jean Kabongo, Head of Strategic Initiatives and New Business Development, FINCA DRC


Track logo Market Development Before, During, and After Conflicts and Crises     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

This workshop explored the changing dynamics of market development before, during and after conflicts and crises. Panelists from Jordan, Sierra Leone, and Gaza will discuss how their programs and strategies adapted in diverse contexts: from Jordan’s USAID BEST and the Jordanian Tourism Board, how tourism market development strategies have changed since the Arab Spring and Syrian conflict; from Sierra Leone, the practical ways that SOBA dealt with the impacts of the Ebola crisis, while keeping a focus on long-term market development; and from Gaza, Mercy Corp’s pivot from economic development to recovery following the 2014 conflict.

  • Ibrahim Osta, Chief of Party - Building Economic Sustainability Through Tourism, Chemonics International
  • Omar Banihani, Marketing Manager, Jordan Tourism Board, North America
  • Kim Beevers, Portfolio Director, Adam Smith International
  • Wafa Ulliyan, Director of Operations, Mercy Corps


Track logo Breaking the Humanitarian-Development Divide: Sustaining Market Systems for Protracted Crisis Programming     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

What happens when humanitarian crises don’t fit neatly into the linear ‘relief-recovery-development’ model? When conflict and instability lead to prolonged displacement and economic upheaval, how can we support local actors to sustain and build markets in the interim? Are market facilitation approaches in these contexts viable and ethical? This panel invites those who currently implement or support adaptive, market-based models in ‘fragile environments’ to discuss lessons and challenges from their work. Panelists considered the role of specific modalities in meeting short-term humanitarian needs while supporting longer-term recovery and development in contexts that will experience instability for the foreseeable future.

  • Alexa Swift, Early Economic Recovery Advisor, Mercy Corps
  • Greg Matthews ‎Deputy Director of Economic Programs for Cash InitiativesIRC
  • Emily Henderson, Humanitarian Advisor Cash, DFID
  • Alexandre Liege, Vice President - International Development, MasterCard


Track logo Challenging Realities: How Market Systems Programmes Operate in Thin Markets     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

Typically, market systems programmes engage with actors that might include large-scale business investors and social enterprises, small businesses and informal sector operators, as well as actors involved in the development of formal and informal rules of the game. But what happens when key participants are simply not there? Based on lessons learned from five programmes (ILO’s Road to Jobs Project in Northern Afghanistan; DFID’s Market Development Programme in Northern Ghana; SDC’s MarketMakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina; DANIDA’s UNNATI Inclusive Growth Programme in Nepal; and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative) we discuss how interventions in challenging and complex environments can be developed and implemented.

  • Mark Thomas, Economist, Nathan Associates
  • Nathalie Gunasekera, Regional Advisor, MarketMakers Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Daniela Martinez, Technical Officer, International Labour Organization
  • Eniola MafeProgram Manager, NDPI


Track logo Exploring the Role of Microfinance in Resilience and Disaster Recovery     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

Microfinance is now a part of most poor communities across the world; but what role does it have to play in resilience and recovery? VisionFund shares its experiences in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, droughts and floods in fragile African states brought on by the 2015/6 El Niño and the recent earthquake in Ecuador to explore new ways that Microfinance can assist poor communities recover from such calamities. We explored how “Microinsurance”, “Mesoinsurance” and “recovery lending” can play roles in resilience, inclusion and recovery.

  • Michael Kellogg, Client Resilience Program Manager, VisionFund
  • Stewart McCulloch, Global Insurance Director, VisionFund
  • Jerry Skees, President and Founder, GlobalAgRisk
  • Greg Lane, UC Berkeley


Track logo From Relief to Systemic Programing: Agricultural Market Development in Afghanistan     Track:
Enabling Market Development in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas

Five implementing NGOs (AKDN, CARE, Oxfam, World Vision and Action Aid) for a USD19m Australian Government (DFAT) funded development scheme in Afghanistan, came together to share their learnings from programing in this highly fragile context. The panelists presented key aspects of their work over the past two years – sighting ways they are working to develop the market system in their agricultural programming. The panelists then opened up the discussion for broader input, sharing experience from around the room. The scheme has made significant progress across Afghanistan in value chains including poultry, bees, wheat, almonds and pistachios.

  • Fazal Ahmed, Coordinator, AKDN
  • Mohammad Wakil, Program Coordinator, CARE Afghanistan
  • Sachitra Chitrakar, Deputy Country Director, Oxfam Afghanistan
  • Andy Hunter Economic Development Consultant, World Vision Australia


Track logo Using Ex-Ante Evidence to Promote Gender-Responsive Market System Change     Track:
Getting and Using
the Right Kinds of Evidence

Conventionally, when we think of evidence, we think of ex-post data aimed at measuring development outcomes. Equally important however, is ex-ante evidence, which is vital for informing programme design; promoting incentive-driven, pro-poor change; and establishing robust MRM systems grounded in contextual reality. Ex-ante data is particularly important for realizing Female Economic Empowerment (FEE) outcomes. Convincing market actors of the commercial case for gender-responsive business models is vital for any truly inclusive market development programme. But to do so, we need contextually-relevant, commercially-focused, and action-oriented evidence. This session explored the successes and failures of using ex-ante evidence across several programmes.

  • Sonia Jordan, Senior Manager - Women's Economic Empowerment, Adam Smith International
  • Victoria Carter, Results Measurement Manager, Market Development Facility Cardno


Track logo Conceptual Frameworks for Systemic Change – from Theory to Practice     Track:
Getting and Using
the Right Kinds of Evidence

Our effectiveness in achieving and measuring systemic change in market systems continues to be limited by our lack of understanding of the inner workings of economic systems and lack of clarity about what constitutes systemic change. Based on preliminary results from BEAM and LEO research projects to investigate theories of systemic change in current market systems projects, participants engaged in a discussion about their own experiences and practices that are most effective to achieve systemic change.

  • Shawn Cunningham, Mesopartner
  • Elizabeth Dunn, Impact LLC
  • Ben Fowler, MarketShare Associates
  • Marcus Jenal, Mesopartner 


Track logo The Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI): Drawing Value from Data     Track:
Getting and Using
the Right Kinds of Evidence

VisionFund International is the biggest user of the Progress out of Poverty Index, with MFIs using it for all clients in 20 countries. The evidence gives a clear baseline of clients’ poverty rates and powerful evidence is growing that shows clients moving out of poverty. World Vision will review use of the PPI as a measure for the effectiveness of its work with communities to build resilience to disaster and create livelihoods. During the workshop, a new development for PPI was demonstrated that showed clients’ progress out of poverty, and a reliable method of sampling was also be reviewed.

  • Johanna Ryan, Social Performance Director, VisionFund International
  • Rachel Huntsman, Social Performance Manager, VisionFund International
  • Mark Schreiner, Owner - Microfinance Risk Management, LLC


Track logo More Informed Decisions Today for Better Solutions Tomorrow      Track:
Getting and Using
the Right Kinds of Evidence

iDE, CARE, Datassist, GeoPoll and Causal Design believe we can design better solutions, manage ongoing processes and more effectively promote inclusive markets by combining data from traditional and non-traditional sources in innovative ways. Session participants were exposed to illustrative case studies in the areas of cost-effective data use and management-oriented M&E and worked alongside session leaders to develop an innovative data plan for a hypothetical market-based solution. Data sources discussed included cell-phone data, project M&E data and other third-party sources. Techniques for integrating data flows into ongoing business processes and streamlining data analysis and visualization were also shared. 

  • Max Richman, Senior Data Scientist, GeoPoll
  • Chris Nicoletti, Global iQ Director, iDE
  • Heather KrauseChief Data Scientist and CEO, Datassist (in partnership with CARE USA)
  • Keith Ives, Co-Founder, Causal Design


Track logo Assessing Systemic Change in Market Systems     Track:
Getting and Using
the Right Kinds of Evidence

Measuring systemic change has proven to be one of the major challenges in monitoring and evaluation of projects applying market systems approaches. BEAM and LEO have engaged in research projects that investigate conceptual background of measuring systemic change and field trial a number of concepts and tools in project settings. In the session, the research team members presented their preliminary findings and engaged in discussions with participants to explore their experiences and lessons.

  • Charley Clarke, Principal Consultant, Itad
  • Ben Fowler, Process Consultant, MarketShare Associates
  • Marcus Jenal, Partner, Mesopartner
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