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The SEEP Network 
Annual Conference

October 1-3, 2018

Peer Learning Sessions

The 2017 SEEP Annual Conference proposed a wide array of innovative and thought-provoking sessions under each of the four Technical Tracks. Discover the 25 Peer Learning Sessions hosted at this year’s conference below.

Resilience through Market Systems
Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Adaptive Management and Organizational Change


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Making Markets Work for Resilience:  The Transformative Role of Social Norms and Networks

Market systems development and resilience-building approaches both seek to transform how systems perform for the benefit of poor and vulnerable groups, but recent learning suggests they are not automatically reinforcing. So what elements of market systems development build resilience? This session shares compelling evidence of how social networks and norms determine whether and how markets contribute to resilience. We will share the latest field research and first-hand experience from Mercy Corps, ACDI/VOCA and USAID to illustrate these connections, and provide strong "how to" models for leveraging or transforming social norms and networks to ensure market systems work for resilience. 

  • Sarah Sahlaney, ACDI/VOCA

  • Kristin O'Planick, USAID

  • Drew Johnson, Mercy Corps

  • Olga Petryniak, Mercy Corps


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Bringing Market Thinking to Crisis Response and Recovery: Learning about the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards  

Did you know that there are Sphere standards for market and livelihood programs? This session will build your understanding of the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards and how to apply them to improve the effectiveness and quality of market programs, thus improving the lives of the people affected by disasters. Using participatory case-study activities, we will learn how to apply the MERS to programs, as well as how to use them to design new interventions. Work in teams, and compete with your colleagues to see who can be the most creative! Who will have their work "funded" by our "donors"? 

  • Karri Byrne, Independent Consultant

  • Emily Sloane, IRC

  • Sarah WardIndependent Consultant

  • William Martin, CRS


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Making Markets Work for Refugee Resilience: M4R and R2R  

In the past, practitioners have strengthened refugee resilience by focusing on direct service provision.  However, while these responses address the short-term needs of refugees, over the long-term they damage markets and the economic recovery of the affected region.  SwissContact and Palladium are using market-based approaches in Africa to the benefit of IDPs, refugees and their host communities.  In the Middle East, Making Cents is promoting a market system approach for refugees in the microfinance industry including using Digital Economic Identities to help refugees access finance. In this session, learn how to use systems-based approaches to build resilience with displaced peoples and their host populations.

  • Ailsa Buckley, Swisscontact

  • Tim Nourse, Making Cents

  • Shailee Adinolfi, Banqu

  • Debora Randall, Swisscontact/Palladium


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Can Humanitarian Response Contribute to Market Resilience? Systems-based Approaches to Crises  

Can humanitarian response contribute to market resilience? How can emergency market interventions support household coping and recovery? This panel will cover recent evidence and examples from NGOs, university and private sector showing the importance of markets in emergency response and recovery. Panelists will discuss research and lessons showing how programs can support, rather than undermine, the role that market systems play during and immediately following crises. We will discuss: methods for working with different economic actors to support household engagement with markets; recent  research and frameworks for understanding market interventions and market-based coping; and ongoing efforts to improve our approaches.

  • Vaidehi Krishnan, Mercy Corps

  • William Martin, CRS

  • Kimberly Howe, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

  • Arielle Kohr, JP Morgan Chase


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Livelihoods and Financial Strategies During Migration, Conflict and Crisis  

Livelihood and Financial Strategies in Migration, Conflict and Crises – will draw on research that examines the household, socio-political and economic dynamics that shape people's choices in how they: leverage market systems; manage their livelihoods; engage financial strategies. Through a highly interactive session, three researchers from Tufts University will address themes of migration, conflict and crises. Research in the Middle East, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will offer key insights to underscore our discussion.

  • Kim Wilson, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

  • Elizabeth Stites, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

  • Kimberly HoweFeinstein International Center, Tufts University


Track: Resilience through Market Systems
Track logo Small Towns in Troubled Lands: Catalyzing Diversified Market Opportunities  

Through an interactive and collaborative format, this session will explore the challenge of jumpstarting economic hubs in semi-arid/arid lands and successfully integrating a focus on small towns into broader resilience programs. USAID's Center for Resilience will provide a broader perspective about how tackling small-scale economic transformation, even within a thin market and geographically-remote environment, is critical to strengthening resilience and how this fits in major USAID frameworks strategies. Then, ACDI/VOCA will bring a field perspective from a major resilience program in northern Kenya, sharing unique implementation models, learning, and progress towards building transformative capacities. This session will also dive into useful measurement tactics for programs.

  • Greg Collins, USAID's Center for Resilience

  • Kavita Chambrey, ACDI/VOCA

  • Tim Frankenberger, TANGO International


Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Track logo Changing Food and Market Systems to Improve Nutrition

Systemic approaches have been widely used in broader food systems to enhance improved nutrition and reduce food insecurity among extremely poor people. Drawing from a recently published Enterprise Development and Microfinance Journal article, this session brings evidence-based findings and lessons from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Mali and Zimbabwe to answer the critical question of how to utilize systems and other sectoral approaches to link the private and public sector with food insecure households and improve the broader food system. Session participants will learn about creative household and market-strengthening approaches and the evidence of their ability to reduce food insecurity, especially among vulnerable populations. 

  • Rakesh Katal, World Vision

  • Elly Kaganzi Mwesigwa, CARE

  • Abraham Muzulu, World Vision Zimbabwe

  • Dan Norell, World Vision


Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Track logo Sustainable Food Systems, Livelihoods and Healthier Communities through Social Franchising  

Building sustainable food systems presents many challenges along value chains from fields to processing to marketplaces. Can social sector franchising revolutionize the way food is produced and sold in the developing world? What builds capacity of social franchisers to meet market demand while navigating difficult economic ecosystems? This session considers two social sector franchise models; one on production among Cambodian smallholders and their interactions with input farm agent franchisees and one in Nicaragua looking at quality, affordable food accessible to low-income communities from home-based micro-franchise operators. Join us to explore these examples and attempt to address key questions on the role of social sector franchising.

  • Julie McBride, Stage Six LLC

  • Andy Hunter, World Vision Australia

  • Beth Meadows, Supply Hope

  • Keith Ives, Casual Design

Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Track logo Effectively Navigating Tensions in Integrated Nutrition and Market Development Programs  

In recent years, the conversation about nutrition sensitivity has described the natural convergences of agriculture and nutrition that promise accelerated progress toward improved well-being in vulnerable populations around the world. The pathways linking the two sectors are well-articulated opportunities to create nutritional impact through agriculture-related activities. But there are underlying divergences between these sectors, such as how we target participants, balancing dual outcomes and engaging with private sector for nutrition outcomes, that can undermine these linkages if they are not thoughtfully addressed. This session explores these tensions, focusing on using practical experience to illustrate how implementers are tackling these challenges.

  • Kristin O'Planick, USAID

  • Phil Moses, John Snow International

  • Ladd, ACDI/VOCA

  • Cathy Bergman, Mercy Corps


Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Track logo Making Markets Work for Nutrition

How can we leverage growing urbanization to increase nutritious products in the marketplace? In this collaborative session grounded by case studies from Haiti and Rwanda, we will discuss how to design and structure facilitative, demand-driven, market-oriented private-sector partnerships which also have an impact on nutrition, particularly for urban and peri-urban consumers. Together, we will unpack ways to identify new market channels, trigger investments in nutritious and safe food products, and explore methods of employing meaningful, yet cost-effective, ways to assess nutrition outcomes. Participants are asked to bring their examples and ideas to the discussion.

  • Elizabeth Eckert, RTI International
  • Tameeka Norton, RTI International
  • Chantal Umuhire, RTI International
Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition
Track logo Practical Strategies for Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture: Lessons from the Field

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture is a relatively new framework that aims to increase positive nutritional impact of agricultural development activities, but there is still a shortage of practical guidance informed by evidence and experience on how to effectively apply these concepts. This session will bring together implementers from DAI, FHI360 and FAO to explore emerging best practices for integrating a nutrition-sensitive agriculture approach into programs, based on  recent project experiences. The panelists will discuss strategies for translating the theory behind the nutrition-sensitive agriculture framework into practical and high-impact project activities, pitfalls they have encountered, their innovative responses to these challenges, and the strategies that ultimately delivered results.



  • Don Humpal, DAI

  • Whitney Moret, FHI 360

  • Florian Doerr, FAO

  • Bronwyn Irwin, DAI

Track: Markets, Food Systems and Nutrition

Track logo

The Next Generation of Market Actors: Building Market Resilience Through Youth Engagement

As global youth populations and unemployment continue to rise to unprecedented levels, it is reassuring to imagine the development of a resilient, stable, and diversified rural economy powered by youth, with markets and food security growing alongside the agricultural sector. This interactive session is an opportunity to add to the learning agenda on how to engage youth, ages 15-24, in agriculture value chains that have the capacity to absorb them and improve food systems. During this session, we will explore the role of nutrition-sensitive agricultural approaches, investment in surrounding ecosystem activities including the integration of ICT methods and how these approaches can positively transform the market systems in which youth live and work. This interactive session will take a marketplace approach to share lessons from five organizations implementing agricultural sector youth engagement programmes.

  • Peter Saling, Winrock International

  • Phil Moses, John Snow International

  • Magdalena Fulton, Save the Children

  • Malini Tolat, Save the Children


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Understanding the Impact of Savings Groups: The Latest Evidence  

How much do we understand about the impact of Savings Groups?  How do Savings Groups benefit members and their households, and how do they not?  Although prior research has shown encouraging results, evidence for benefits is mixed. Come to this session to discuss findings from the latest research on the impact of Savings Groups, with a special focus on groups connected to formal financial services, groups in multi-component programs, and studies incorporating HIV and health outcomes. We will review what we currently know about outcomes and examine how we can improve our knowledge of impact and make Savings Groups work better for members.

  • Megan Gash, Grameen Foundation

  • Jennine Carmichael, FHI 360

  • Mandy Swann, FHI 360

  • Tomoko HarigayaHarvard University


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment

Track logo Reaching the Most Excluded: Turning Disability into Ability  
There is huge stigma attached to persons with disabilities. Governments fail to recognize them, even though annual GDP loss due to disabilities is estimated at over $1.5 trillion globally. If our goal is financial inclusion, when disasters and conflicts yield even greater numbers of disabilities, it is a failure to leave them behind. This session highlights practical lessons of including this population among your clientele. Equitas will share its inclusive group-lending model in India. Vitas Iraq will share its nation-wide awareness campaign. Fonkoze will share its inclusive graduation model in Haiti. Handicap International will provide a macro-view across 10 countries.

  • John Alex, Equitas 

  • Rola El Amine, Vitas Iraq

  • Steven Werlin, Fonkoze

  • Angela Kohama, Handicap International


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Financial Inclusion of Women at the Last Mile

Following the SEEP Women's Economic Empowerment Forum, this Quick Fire session will examine knowledge gaps on the financial inclusion of women in last mile locations. REPOA will present recent research conducted on mobile phone ownership and the uptake and usage of digital financial services among female smallholder farmers in Tanzania. The BOMA Project will present challenges of fully utilizing m-pesa and the m-chama group savings product with pastoralist women in northern Kenya. The experiences discussed draw on the BMGF Women at Center of Development learning agenda and the session will be moderated by the International Center for Research on Women.

  • Sarah Gammage, International Center for Research on Women

  • Blandina Kilama, REPOA

  • Kathleen Colson, The BOMA Project

  • Amy Pennington, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Digital Labelled Sub‐Wallets for Increased Women Financial Resilience and Empowerment  

Although financial inclusion is recognized as crucial to achieving inclusive growth and is trending, gender gap still hovers stubbornly. Digital financial services offers opportunity for closing this gap, but have yet to reach scale and deepen impact through gender-inclusive financial systems. Join CARE, Post Bank, DoubleX Economy sharing insights generated from a pilot in Uganda that delivered a digital product and household gender and financial counselling. With qualitative data triangulated with psychometric data provides a better understanding of the emotional and psychological journey women undertake to "empowerment" which often has direct bearing on the positive outcome of economic empowerment intervention.

  • Melch Muhame, CARE

  • Linda Scott, Double X Economy

  • Esther Mututta SsenogaPost Bank Uganda

  • Sarah Eckhoff, CARE


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Irrational Exuberance: Balancing Fintech Innovation with Consumer Protection  

Digital financial services (DFS) are rapidly expanding in emerging markets, often with an expectation that these new technologies and channels will have a positive impact on financial inclusion and improved services. From CGAP and DAI’s global experience, however, country context, technology development, regulatory environment and government commitment to financial inclusion and consumer protection matter. This panel will examine three country scenarios - Haiti, Mozambique and Ukraine - from different technology, regulatory, context and financial inclusion/consumer protection landscapes to discuss how financial sector stakeholders are utilizing emerging fintech to enhance financial access for more vulnerable clients, not always to their benefit.

  • Colleen Green, DAI

  • Katherine McKee, CGAP, World Bank

  • Bhairav Raja, DAI

  • Christine Aimy ToussaintCentral Bank of Haiti


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Financial Inclusion for Tea Growers through Digitizing Payments

Access to Finance Rwanda is an M4P programme that has facilitated Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) owned by tea growers and pickers to improve efficiencies in the delivery of financial services to its members. This has been done through a partnership with the Wood Foundation and a Mobile Network Operator (MNO), Tigo Rwanda. The session will detail successful efforts to assist SACCOs serving as payment channels for over 11,000 low-income tea growers to digitize operations and integrate e-wallets yielding greater liquidity and time savings that growers and pickers (especially women) can invest in their livelihoods and families. Rapid expansion demonstrates the potential for replicability to other value chains and countries.

  • Jean Bosco Iyacu, Access to Finance Rwanda

  • Waringa Kibe, Access to Finance Rwanda

  • Philip Kakuru, Tigo Rwanda


Track: Financial Inclusion and Client Empowerment
Track logo Empowering Clients through Data Driven Decision Making, Innovations in Service Delivery, and Technology-driven Solutions  

How can we empower the unbanked and underbanked to understand and safely use financial services, so they can take full advantage of financial inclusion? This session will present three unique strategies to empower clients in savings programming focusing on high quality data collection that yield critical client insights, on leveraging digital technologies for financial education, and on service delivery innovations. Cultural, social and structural roadblocks can prevent clients from effectively accessing and utilizing financial services. We will demonstrate how, by designing interventions that better respond to poor and vulnerable people's context, financial needs and activities, these roadblocks can be removed.

  • Diana Dezso, ITAD

  • Angela Kalambo, CRS

  • Hermann Messan, UNCDF

  • Djo MariusCARE


Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change

Track logo The Human Touch: How People Drive Adaptive Management  

When trying to catalyze transformative change, the complex challenges we face require an adaptive approach, focused on testing, rapid learning, feedback and adaptation. Ultimately, our ability to adapt depends on our people - their mindsets, their capacity, our organizational structure, and the incentives our systems set and signal. Join us to hear how several organizations have been proactive in taking adaptive management to scale by putting adaptation at the heart of organizational systems and culture.

  • Emma Proud, Mercy Corps

  • Dren Selimi, Enhancing Youth Employment (EYE) project

  • Visar RexhaEnhancing Youth Employment (EYE) project

  • Miji ParkMercy Corps


Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change
Track logo Beyond Buzzwords: Practical Steps for Adaptive Management and Organizational Change  

Intentional, iterative learning and adaptation based on evidence is the aim of many development programmes. However, this approach poses difficulties, especially in building and maintaining effective adaptive management processes, M&E systems and organizational cultures. In this session, we will share lessons from a range of experiences; moving beyond buzz-words to evidence based lessons and practical steps to integrating adaptive processes in program design and daily management. The session will highlight systems and tools for flexible M&E, including 'bedrock indicators' and highlight the importance of approaching organizational change in the banking sector from individual’ employees perspectives to understand pathways of change.

  • Naveed Somani, Oxford Policy Management

  • Laurie Dufays, World Savings and Retail Banking Institute

  • Sabasaba Moshingi, Tanzania Postal Bank

  • James Robinson, Itad 


Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change
Track logo Adaptive Management Tools: Embracing the Complexity of Systemic Change 

The project management teams of market systems projects are challenged to balance nimble application of adaptive interventions that catalyze systemic change with donor requirements to adhere to fixed indicator targets, contracting mechanisms, and expenditure budgeting. Projects often see innovation and donor compliance as conflicting goals if management tools are not intentionally adjusted to reinforce technical strategy. Join us for an interview-style conversation and group discussions featuring tested and applied frameworks and methods, including flexible contracting mechanisms, incorporating team learning and knowledge management, and messaging implementation principles to apply systems thinking and embrace a culture of innovation and complex change within the context of donor regulations and priorities.

  • Raquel Gomes, Bureau for Food Security, USAID

  • Margie Brand, EcoVenture International

  • Sarah Wall, DAI


Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change
Track logo Insights from Participatory Evaluation Processes - Adapting to Local Demands

Nothing gets in the way of a masterfully designed program quite like reality. Without structures for learning and adapting based on feedback from local stakeholders, staff, partners and, most importantly, beneficiaries – in our case rural women – Savings Group and enterprise development programs can suffer creeping dropout rates and reductions in credit uptake. Come learn about our package of feedback mechanisms and how it compelled us to redesign our theory of change and exit strategies. We'll compare examples to reveal the challenges and rewards of a truly participatory approach and highlight how feedback from smallholder farmers at the pilot stage can – and must – be integrated as programs go to scale.

  • Stuart Coupe, Hand in Hand

  • Stephen Wambua, Hand in Hand East Africa

  • Peter HarlockVisionFund


Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change
Track logo Understanding Incentives: Making Changes that Matter  

What are the challenges that donors and implementers share, and how can these be addressed together? This session provides an overview of BEAM’s research on the topic and examines incentives and constraints to adaptive programming across donor-implementer relationships; how individual and organizational behaviours influence program design and implementation, and how to create an environment conducive to adaptive management. We know that most organizations struggle to create the right environment for the change they want to see – join us to share your thoughts and questions with members of BEAM Exchange’s Adaptive Management Steering Committee and hear how they helped their teams work in new ways!

  • Leanne Rassmussen, Adam Smith International

  • Emma Proud, Mercy Corps

  • Gun Eriksson Skoog, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

  • Steve Hartrich, International Labour Organization

Track: Adaptive Management and Organizational Change
Track logo Beyond Symptoms: Adaptive Management Pain Points and Practical Solutions for Systems Change  

"Adaptive management" or "CLA" has increasingly become a buzz word with many organizations now working towards implementing adaptively but, for many, this remains mostly a concept. This session presents the newest learning and solutions, drawing from the practical learning under USAID’s CLAIM project. CLAIM is a learning network consisting of five organizations that are exploring how CLA strategies can improve development outcomes. Participants will hear brief presentations and then engage in a world café, small group discussion with each presenter, allowing participants to spend dedicated time unpacking core adaptive management issues. The world café topics will include: a) understanding USAID’s new CLA policies; b) how to conduct an adaptive management self-assessment; c) in-depth exploration of an adaptive management implementation tool; and d) lessons in measuring the results of adaptive management. 

  • Alison HembergerMercy Corps

  • Erin Markel, MarketShare Associates

  • Stacey YoungUSAID

  • Yomna Mustafa, Arab Women's Enterprise Fund

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