The SEEP Network
September 19 - 21, 2016
Great progress has been made in expanding financial access. Global Findex reports that between 2011 and 2014, the number of unbanked adults fell from 2.5 to 2 billion adults. Nevertheless, 77 percent of those living on less than $2 a day remain unbanked, dependent mainly on informal savings and credit clubs, moneylenders, friends and family to resolve their financial needs. Furthermore, financial inclusion ―the use of high quality and appropriate financial services―remains a challenge in most markets accessed by the poor. Marginalized populations, particularly women, HIV-affected people, persons with disabilities, youth, and those living in rural areas are significantly underserved. Lack of information, limited financial capabilities of consumers, inappropriate services and underdeveloped delivery channels are among the most intractable market systems constraints. This track will focus on proven strategies to expand and deepen financial inclusion, including the growing number of field-tested digital financial services. Priority will be given to strategies that have catalyzed systemic change and are on a pathway to demonstrating lasting change in how financial markets function for the benefit of vulnerable populations. Participants in this track explored approaches that effectively respond to both demand and supply side constraints that are scalable, sustainable and with potential for replication.
Despite recent progress in reducing global hunger, the FAO reports 795 million people around the world remain undernourished. Food insecurity is caused by a myriad of factors that hinder the availability, access, utilization and price stability of food. These factors include climate change, poor governance, and the unavailability of food locally, driven in part by constraints in local food markets. Market development programs in partnership with public and private sector actors focused on sustainable agriculture production, storage and supply chains have proven effective at addressing these constraints. This track explored the evidence around improving food security by strengthening agricultural market systems and incomes in rural areas. We aimed to highlight lessons learned from programs addressing food security through market-oriented nutrition-sensitive programming and climate-smart agricultural practices, especially those that engage women and/or youth. We also explored indirect efforts to enhance food security, including the role of social protection programs and the influence of on- and off-farm livelihoods on food security. Recognizing fragile contexts and humanitarian imperatives, we focused on programs engaged in push/pull interventions which sequence or pair strategies to build the capacities of the poor to engage in markets (push) and expand the diversity and quality of economic opportunities accessible to the poor (pull).
Conflict, disaster and fragility compound poverty. According to the World Bank, some 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest live in fragile and conflict-affected areas (FCAs). Some FCAs may cover entire countries whereas others exist inside relatively stable contexts. Markets in FCAs are often thin, highly fragmented, and characterized by weak competition, lack of trust, low investment, international aid dependency, weak regulation and the marginalization of women. These markets present unique challenges for both development programs and inhabitants, including host community members, migrants and internally displaced persons, impeding their ability to work. This track explored the distinct dynamics at play when implementing market development programs in FCAs, and consider the importance of cross-sectoral approaches, gender perspectives, graduation methodologies, and community and donor expectations. We examined interventions that use innovative approaches to address the immediate needs of program participants while catalyzing inclusive economic growth. Finally, we explored sustainability and what we have learned from program successes and failures to sustain market development work in fragile contexts.
Efforts to develop insights to influence market systems change favoring the poor will be enhanced if we can expand our capacities to combine the collection and analysis of big data, citizen-supplied data, and other forms of new data with our time-tested research and M&E capabilities. Programs are exploring new methods to assess changes in behaviors, perceptions and relationships among market participants, increasingly by augmenting traditional data collection with digital data drawn from web browsers, mobile phones and social media. This track explored effective methods for collecting both “new” and “traditional” data and then transforming it into useful evidence to understand real-time needs, inform programming, promote learning, drive policy debates, and increase overall development impact. These methods need to be integrated into a wider organizational structure that supports and incentivizes the use of research and evidence internally for program design and decision making, and externally to promote policies to help take proven innovations to scale. Sessions in this track explored such questions as how a combination of new and traditional data at the individual, household and community level can be analyzed to generate evidence to help vulnerable people thrive in complex market systems, support adaptive planning to face ever-changing conditions, design user-centered tools, influence government programming, and identify pathways to scale.