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Annual Conference Image

The SEEP Network 
Annual Conference

October 1-3, 2018

Session Descriptions

Housing and shelter are among the top three priorities for poor families, but 1.6 billion people have inadequate shelter.  Seventy percent of the world’s population accesses housing through 'incremental build' and 30% of microfinance (MF) loans are diverted towards housing and shelter needs. Despite this demand, only 2% of the global MF portfolio is in housing. There are a number of reasons that underlie this chasm between supply and demand. In this workshop, experienced practitioners discuss the housing value chain and how financial institutions and others can promote access to housing through a combination of financing for housing services such as improvements/ incremental building, and construction technical assistance.

  • Hala Farid, Deputy Director - Citi Office of Homeownership Preservation (OHP), Citi Community Development
  • Sashi Selvendran, Director of Partnerships, MEDA
  • Henry WallerDirector -Technical Assistance Center (Housing Microfinance),  Habitat for Humanity (India)
  • Genzo Yamamoto, Director of Knowledge Management, Opportunity International
Bios Here >>

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) can strengthen markets by empowering buyers and producers through effective supply chain management. This session explores how to connect human and ICT networks to provide appropriate supply chain incentives, strengthen information access, support certification access, and allow for shared producer and buyer planning strategies. A case study will explore how to improve the quality of life of smallholder farmers in Latin America, specifically in Colombia, through Grameen Foundation's "Connected Coffee Producers" project. Participants will interact with technological platforms while highlighting both the impact ICTs have generated and future outcomes. 

  • Alberto Solano, CEO - Americas,  Grameen Foundation
  • David Myhre, Americas Regional Advisory Council, Grameen Foundation
  • Pablo RamirezEthical Sourcing Manager, Starbucks Coffee Company
Bios Here >>


Youth joblessness is undoubtedly one of the major challenges of our time: a challenge of both quantity and quality! Despite the urgency for effective interventions and a greater appetite for evidence, only 7% of youth employment programs implemented over the last decade have measured impact with some rigor. More and better evidence is needed to bridge knowledge gaps and refine program design and delivery. This session will demonstrate how to use and combine experimental evaluations to assess what works, how, and why in entrepreneurship and value chain development for youth.

  • Silvia Paruzzolo, Independent Consultant
  • Susana Puerto, Senior Youth Employment Specialist, International Labour Organization
  • Matthew Ripley, Chief Technical Advisor, Market Systems Development for Decent Work, International Labour Organization
Bios Here >>

The panel will discuss creating and shaping an inclusive digital financial services ecosystem, to deliver services to the un/under-banked in emerging markets. The discussion will include the various elements of the ecosystem such as agent networks, aggregators, payment processors, the MNOs, the financial institutions, NGOs, government, and donors.  Panelists explore various types of systems that have evolved in specific countries as a result of the policy, industry, and economic factors.


  • Shailee Adinolfi, Project Director, USAID Mobile Solution Technical Assistance and Research Program (mSTAR)
  • Jesse FrippManaging Director - Capacity Solutions, Enclude 
  • Nandini HarihareswaraStrategy and Operations Team Leader, Digital Development Division, USAID
  • Joyce Lehman, Independent Technical Advisor
  • Nick LesherGeneral Partner, OpenRevolution LLP
Bios Here >>

 The rise of digital financial services presents new scenarios for savings groups linking to formal financial service providers. A recent study led by Bankable Frontier Associates with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation investigates the incentives for commercial banks and mobile network operators to serve saving groups. These include deposit mobilization, liquidity, acquisition of new clients, transaction fees, and data on customer financial behavior.  However, there are questions whether these benefits may come with potential tradeoffs for the savings groups and their members. This session will discuss the means to align incentives of all parties and will explore the potential benefits and risks of scaling digital linkages. 

  • Daryl CollinsDirector, Bankable Frontier Associates
  • Lauren HendricksExecutive Director - Access Africa, CARE
Bios Here >>

Does the rapid growth of Savings Groups (SGs) put their members at risk? Do diverse implementers with varying agendas compromise SG principles or service quality? Amidst the enthusiasm for Savings Groups, how do practitioners ensure that their programs do no harm to the SG members? As there is a growing concern that the rapid expansion of SGs by organizations with differing experiences, visions and goals could lead to varying program quality, in some cases possibly putting SG members at risk. The Social Performance Guidelines for Savings Groups are being developed by SEEP's Savings-Led Working Group to ensure that  every savings group member has a safe, sustainable place to save.

  • Eloisa Devietti, Oxfam America (co-facilitator of SEEP's Savings-Led Working Group)
  • Joanna Ledgerwood, Team Leader, Financial Sector Deepening Project, DAI ( Zambia) 
  • Paul Rippey, Independent Consultant, Savings-Revolution
Bios Here >>

 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have proven to be key driver of behavior change in market systems development. This session will explore how ICT can shift market actors’ behaviors and drive benefits to small producers and the poor. Practical examples from East Africa will include discussions on how ICT can shift management practices for the benefit of the system; why customer-centric strategies are beneficial to the poor; which ICT tools are effective for driving change in the agricultural sector; and how development projects intervene in this sector and work through local ICT firms to influence behavior.

  • Anoushka Boodhna, Market Development Consultant, EcoVentures International
  • Rachel Brooks, Director, EchoMobile
  • Caroline Fowler, Program Assistant, EcoVentures International
  • Mike Field, Director of Portfolio, Adam Smith International (via video)
Bios Here >>

Small entrepreneurs are transforming agriculture markets. They are much more than ‘petty traders’ and are often the last-mile link between producers and larger, outside private firms. This session explores lessons from programs working with rural entrepreneurs to link farmers and firms, in order to connect push and pull approaches. Panelists from Tajikistan and Tanzania, as well as a global value chain specialist, will explore diverse experiences and experiments with different models in which entrepreneurs link push and pull approaches.

  • Kishwar Abdulalishoev, General Manager, Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, Aga Khan Foundation (Tajikistan)
  • Mike Bowles, Market Development Advisor, Aga Khan Foundation (Switzerland)
  • Henry Panlibuton, Economic Development Specialist and Trainer, Independent
  • Sally WalkermanSenior Program Officer, Rural Development, Aga Khan Foundation (Tanzania)
Bios Here >>

Evaluating the effects of economic strengthening and financial services programs on children and youth involves several challenges and raises important issues. It has broad implications for evaluation practice as a vehicle to inform the scaling up of more equitable policies and more effective programs. We need to better understand how household economic well-being translates into child well-being, what the appropriate methods to evaluate these outcomes are, and how knowledge can influence policy. This session will introduce participants to a well-researched child M&E framework for economic development programs and share experiences in making youth evaluation relevant and applicable through presentations, facilitated small-group discussions, and Q&A.

  • Megan Gash, Research and Evaluation Specialist, Freedom from Hunger
  • M. Emrul HasanDirector - Program Effectiveness and Quality, Plan Canada
  • Diana Rutherford,  Principal Investigator - STRIVE, FHI 360
  • Tricia Vanderkooy, Manager - Evaluation and Learning, The MasterCard Foundation
Bios Here >>

Improved market linkages can enhance poor households’ ability to become more resilient to shocks and stresses. The organizations represented on the panel have employed a combination of economic strengthening activities and market facilitation strategies to enhance engagement of returnees affected by conflict into market systems in northern Uganda. The panel shares experiences in creating demand and facilitating supply in key service and product markets including inputs, tillage, information, financial services, postharvest handling, and output markets. Strategies include relevant skills training, cost sharing and productive asset generation, savings mobilization, and collective access to markets, while market facilitation approaches focus on addressing the underlying constraints of access, quality, cost, and skills.

  • Robert Kintu,  Principal Consultant /Managing Director, FIT Uganda
  • Brian Ssebunya, Economic Recovery and Development Coordinator, The International Rescue Committee, Uganda 
  • Melaku Yirga, Chief of Party RAIN, Uganda, Mercy Corps
Bios Here >>

Disjointed programming between push/pull activities within or between projects can impede the effectiveness of engaging extremely poor households (consuming less than $1.25 a day PPP) in input and output agricultural markets.   Working with only push or only pull strategies present challenges to bringing extremely poor households to the levels where they can engage in agricultural markets.  Well-functioning and coordinated strategies facilitate pathways that integrate the extremely poor into markets leading to sustained improvements in incomes and nutrition. This panel explores how organizations have integrated this work in Bangladesh, Haiti, Malawi, and others.

  •  Dun Grover, Associate Director - Technical Learning and Applications,  ACDI/VOCA
  • Laté Lawson-LartegoDirector, Economic Development & Knowledge Management,  CARE USA
  • Dan Norell, Senior Technical Advisor, Economic Development, World Vision Inc.
Bios Here >>

 There are significant opportunities to address the sanitation challenge through market-based approaches that explore the role of the private sector and the potential of sanitation businesses to deliver ongoing services. This session compares successful strategies that have been used to grow sanitation markets across several countries in urban and rural contexts. Presenters will explore multiple intervention points promoting market-based approaches, including technology development, cost of sanitation, viable sustainable financing, ongoing triggers of hygiene behavior change, effective government policies, and middle level financing issues.  

  • David Bloomgarden, Lead Private Sector Development Officer, Multilateral Investment Fund
  • Alison Griffith,  Senior Policy and Practice Advisor for Markets and Private Sector, Practical Action
  • John Sauer, Sanitation Advisor, International Programs, Water for People
  • Roshan Shrestha, Program Officer - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team,  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bios Here >>

Poor women face multiple challenges to entering market systems.  Violence and insecurity alongside structural gender inequalities constrain women’s ability to be entrepreneurial.  The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Zardozi, the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Institute (ECDI) work with women informal sector workers and agricultural labourers to provide the push required to enter market systems.  But pull strategies also are key.  The session explores factors that can help push women into market systems and the opportunities and challenges to engage with commercial actors on pull strategies for sustained growth.

  • Christine Faveri, Director, Women's Economic Opportunities, MEDA
  • Perveen Shaikh, President, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Institute (ECDI) Pakistan
  • Kerry Jane Wilson, Director, Zardozi - Markets for Afghan Artisans
Bios Here >>

This session explores how market development strategies can be used to significantly improve water access and water quality for poor communities and poor farmers in rural and peri-urban areas. Innovative strategies to be explored include: Financing models for capital investments and utility expansion; Public-private community partnership models for sustainable operation of water projects; Market development strategies to lower non-regulated water usage and grow the customer base for quality water; and business models to set up private water service providers. The session includes the successful case of revitalizing public and private water provision throughout Kenya and changing the behavior of stakeholders in the water market system. 

  • Tara Panek Bringle, Director of Global Programs, Development Innovations Group
  • Chiranjibi Tiwari, WASH Sector Leader and Team Leader for Water Sector of the Dfid-funded Market Assistance Programm, SNV Netherlands Development Organization, Kenya
  • Rajesh Advani, Infrastructure Specialist - Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid, World Bank
Bios Here >>

  Despite advances in clean technologies, energy suppliers and NGOs are challenged in getting energy products to households in sustainable, market-driven ways. The session explores effective roles of NGOs, MFIs, energy companies, and donors in energy market models. It explores multiple models which have been developed and tested for sustainable delivery of clean energy products, depending on the characteristics of the market, the consumers, the supporting environment, and the social and cultural context. This session will compare solutions such as consumer financing, aggregated distribution channels for multiple products, sales agent models, and decentralized energy market mapping processes.

  • Ewan Bloomfield, International Energy Consultant, Practical Action
  • Kate Montgomery, Director of Global Partnerships, D.light Design
  • David Nicholson, Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Mercy Corps
Bios Here >>

This session explores how to extend the benefits of mobile and e-payments to rural communities by aligning incentives of stakeholders in agricultural market systems. Presenters will contrast perspectives on how traditional mobile finance business models can be successfully adapted for rural and agricultural communities, which have different population, cash flow, and market profiles. Presenters will discuss the Rice Mobile Finance Project to explore both seemingly “obvious” and innovative approaches to expand and implement agriculturally-focused mobile and e-payment activities in rural communities.

  • Kwame Oppong, Commercial Manager for Millicom International Cellular (Ghana), Tigo Cash 
  • Kwesi Korboe, RiMFin Program Director / ASI Ghana Country Manger, ACDI/VOCA
  • William Sparks, Research & Development Vice President, ACDI/VOCA
  • Jordan Weinstock, Director, Advisory Services, OpenRevolution
Bios Here >>

Over the past decade, Savings Groups have spread rapidly as a way to introduce basic financial services to the rural poor. Diverse development practitioners have also embraced them as an effective platform from which to launch non-financial programs and services. Yet little documented experience is available to guide such integrated program design, sometimes referred to as ‘Savings Group Plus’. This session will explore lessons learned from emergent experience from a broad selection of integrated programs in Africa and a case study from Pakistan, where an SG intervention  increased women’s access to neonatal care.

  • Kishwar AbdulalishoevGeneral Manager, Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, (Tajikistan)
  • Mike BowlesMarket Development Advisor,Aga Khan Foundation, Switzerland
  • Candace Nelson, Co-facilitator of the Savings-led Working Group (SEEP Network)
Bios Here >>

 USAID/Ethiopia, building on the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia, was a pioneer in using a push/pull approach framework as part of the Feed the Future strategy.  Nearly five years into implementation of that strategy, USAID - plus representatives from multiple projects focused on different elements of the overall push/pull theory of change – reflect on lessons learned, discuss challenges, and share impact observed to date.  The session focuses on practical experience over theory, highlighting issues including coordination at the mission and implementer levels; the geographic and pathway links between “Productive” and “Hungry” Ethiopia; and key observed drivers in successful, sustained poverty reduction. 

  • Vanessa Adams, Chief of Party, USAID/Ethiopia Agricultural Growth Program, Agribusiness Market Development, ACDI/VOCA
  • Karri Goeldner Byrne, Chief of Party - Pastoralist areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME) Project, Mercy Corps
  • Adrian Cullis, Chief of Party, USAID/Ethiopia's Agriculture Knowledge, Learning, Documentation and Policy Project, Feinstein International Centre, Tufts University
Bios Here >>

Savings groups have emerged as a simple, scalable and low-cost strategy for promoting economic strengthening and providing vulnerable households a potential pathway out of poverty. Recent experience has shown that they are especially useful in working with vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV/AIDs and their households.  The session brings together a combination of perspectives on this emergent economic strengthening area and addresses several key questions, including the benefits of savings groups can be made available to the most vulnerable populations, while upholding core savings group principles.

  • Jackie Aldrette, Program Manager, AVSI
  • Michael Ferguson, Project Director, ASPIRES (FHI360)
  • Colleen Green, Chief of Party - IMARISHA, DAI
  • Jason Wolfe, Senior Household Economic Strengthening Advisor, USAID
Bios Here >>

The market for affordable sanitation products is often characterized by a lack of formal commercial linkages between local and national market actors. This session identifies and balances context-specific strategies for basic services across a spectrum of market facilitation and social enterprise approaches. Participants will explore how Human-Centered Design (HCD) can be used as a replicable process that localizes product and business model innovation in sanitation, including how HCD can be combined with real-time monitoring of business metrics to generate compelling evidence of impact. The session shares scalable models and lessons learned from a project implemented in rural Bangladesh and compares it to a model closer to social enterprise implemented in Cambodia.

  • Conor Riggs, Technical Director - Programs,  iDE (Bangladesh)
  • Stuart Taylor, Director - iQ Performance Measurement, iDE (Canada)
  • Yi Wei, Global WASH Innovation Manager, iDE
Bios Here >>


While both women’s economic empowerment and market systems have gained significant traction as development approaches in recent years, there remains a limited understanding of how programs can effectively focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment, while also facilitating a market systems approach to reach scale in terms of impacts on women.  To address this gap, the panelists explore key conceptual issues in developing market systems that are responsive to women’s economic empowerment and discuss the practical implications and lessons learned. The session moderates a discussion around the new Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) framework on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Inclusive Market Systems, learns about putting theory to practice in Bangladesh and discusses key ways forward, such as how to integrate employment and labor market concerns. 

  • Linda Jones, International Consultant, Inclusive Private Sector Development
  • Erin Markel, Principal Consultant, MarketShare Associates
  • Fouzia Nasreen, General Manager - Making Markets Work for the Chars, Swisscontact (Bangladesh) 
  • Sally Roever, Urban Research Director, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
Bios Here >>

For decades, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) efforts have tended to fall flat – latrines languish; water systems break down; and harmful sanitation and hygiene practices continue. With the planet facing rapid urbanization, effective WASH strategies are even more essential. This session explores economic/social empowerment approaches for WASH linked to innovative household level financing mechanisms including savings groups and microfinance service providers. The session will feature case studies that share examples of successful strategies implemented and the lessons learned in Guatemala and in Kenya.

  • Kaelyn De Vries, Program Officer, Project Concern International (Guatemala)
  • Sarah Emerson, Director, Women Empowered Initiative, Project Concern International
  • George Muruka, Consultant, MicroSave Consulting Ltd (Kenya)
Bios Here >>


 How do we move beyond enterprise-level results, to capture wider changes in market systems?  The SEEP Network’s Systemic M&E Initiative has been exploring innovations in the theory and practice of measuring systemic impacts. This session, chaired by the new BEAM Exchange team, will showcase the guidance being developed by DCED, as part of their results measurement Standard, and the practical challenges of ‘Making Sense of Messiness’ emerging from a pioneering program (Samarth) in Nepal. We will discuss what it means to measure change in systems and look at experiences of putting systemic measurement into practice.

  • Marcus Jenal, BEAM Exchange
  • Sanju Joshi, Results Measurement Manager, SAMARTH Nepal, Adam Smith International
  • Jim Tanburn, Coordinator, Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)
  • Tim TuckettTeam Leader, SAMARTH Nepal, Adam Smith International
Bios Here >>

Investing in multiple research methods to understand clients and beneficiaries can generate actionable insights to inform efforts to scale products, programs and policy. YouthSave is a multi-method research learning initiative that rigorously collects data on the impacts of savings on low-income youth’s financial capability and development outcomes. Through randomized experiments, transaction-level bank data, and individual interviews with young accountholders and other stakeholders, YouthSave builds the case for helping youth to access and utilize savings. The panelists will use an integrative and interactive approach to share examples from YouthSave on how to triangulate multiple methods to inform market-based solutions for greater financial inclusion of low-income youth.

  • David Ansong, Co-Principal Investigator, YouthSave/Assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Monique Cohen, Member, Expert Advisory Board, YouthSave
  • Lissa Johnson, CSD Director of Administration/YouthSave Data Systems Architect, Center for Social Development at Washington University
  • Li ZouInternational Director,  Center for Social Development at Washington University
Bios Here >>
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