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MaFI (The Market Facilitation Initiative)

Research Alliances

Research Alliances flyerThe Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI) is building strategic alliances with universities interested in providing opportunities for their students to produce useful knowledge for practitioners, policy-makers and researchers working on inclusive market systems development. These alliances will also nurture the students’ careers and contribute to a much needed dialogue between theory and practice in the field of inclusive market development.

Click here to download the informational flyer >>

Why a Research Alliance?

MaFI creates online and in-person spaces for members to learn from each other and offer peer-support on LinkedIn. These online discussions reflect current issues in inclusive market development facilitation, and stimulate learning amongst members through the sharing of new approaches and tools. The content of the discussions, which are arising out of practice, have been informed by theory that is guiding the thinking in our field. For instance, members have questioned the effectiveness of the value chain framework influencing economic development and sustainable livelihoods programs over the past decade because of its linear nature, and are sharing insights from applying complexity theories to market development that includes the most vulnerable.

MaFI recognizes that knowledge construction is a process of investigating and analyzing experiences; it is a sensemaking activity that involves organizing and reorganizing ideas into coherent patterns that can be applied to our practice as professionals. These rich on-line discussions are currently confined to the MaFI network, yet they produce lessons, insights and evidence that can contribute to solve practical problems and inform development policies in a wide range of complex and volatile contexts.

MaFI would like to work with bright and committed students and professors to enhance the impact and outreach of its riches and most relevant discussions.

The rapidly emerging and expanding field of inclusive market development is being influenced and shaped by the theories of institutional economics, economic sociology, social network analysis, complex adaptive theory, embeddedness theory, organizational management, and social capital, to name just a few. Yet inclusive market development practitioners are not necessarily aware of how their work is being influenced by theory, and academics do not have access to current development practice that could inform theory, unless they spend lots of time in the field.  When practitioners understand their work through appropriate theoretical frameworks, they can learn faster and design better research initiatives with improved research design: question selection, data collection and analysis and research methods and tools. Better research design can foster better-designed and, ultimately, more effective projects.


Research Alliances at the Edge of Inclusive Market Systems Development Practice

Academic institutions are preparing professionals who will eventually be influencing development policy and shaping the field of inclusive market development. There is a need for graduate and postgraduate students to have access to the voices of practitioners, the richness of their realities and the messiness of the markets they are trying to improve. MaFI discussions are repositories of the lessons being learned and the honest reflection on current practices and policies that are impacting inclusive market development. Combining current practice with current theoretical debates provides a learning opportunity for students and practitioners alike. This symbiotic relationship can improve development policies and accelerate learning amongst inclusive market development professionals.

Research Alliances at the Edge of Inclusive Market Systems Development Practice

Learn more about how the research alliance works >>


Click here to download the informational flyer >>

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