Intervention Case

Labour System

How MSD programmes can work to build pre-impact investments

Market systems development (MSD) programmes use analysis to identify systemic constraints to a defined pro-poor impact; this means identifying areas where, based on the incentives of different public and private actors, there is an opportunity to innovate that will impact on large numbers of people in a sustainable way.

In vibrant markets, small changes can make a big difference. Partnering with an innovative private partner to offer a new product can result in instant uptake and these pro-poor benefits being realised within a relatively short period of time, which can then continue and scale through roll-out by a partner and emulation within the market.

However, the less developed the market, the more complex the change, and the bigger the distance to viability, the longer the journey towards impact. In conventional MSD programmes and, moreover, in most aid delivered with a new public management approach, such interventions would likely not receive funding as they would not deliver results within the desired timeframe with many more risks along the way.

This case study tells the story of how in one example, LIWAY has helped to move along long-term impact pathways towards large-scale sustainable impact. This is not, as yet, a story of 10 million jobs created or huge impacts in farmer productivity. Rather this is a story of incremental change impacting on a fundamental and sticky issue that has huge potential to create impact if and when it matures.