The 2019 SEEP Annual Conference theme – Building Resilience through Market Systems – highlighted proven and experimental strategies that harnessed the potential of the market to support people, enterprises and communities that are highly vulnerable to the shock-stress-shock cycle. Shocks and stresses are increasing in frequency and intensity around the globe. Climate and weather variability, population dynamics, local and global price shocks, illness and disease, political instability, and conflict are intersecting in complex ways that threaten the lives and livelihoods of people and erode hard-fought development gains. Consequently, SEEP members are becoming increasingly focused on strategies that identify opportunities to mitigate risks and decrease vulnerabilities for priority populations including women, smallholder farmers, refugees, internally displaced persons and other marginalized groups. Market systems approaches are an important means to this end.
SEEP Members chaired 20 engaging Peer Learning Sessions around the conference's four technical tracks. The technical tracks were created by the Advisory Committee and respond directly to our members' work in financial inclusion, fragile and conflict-affected environments, women's economic empowerment and the application of data. Sessions in each of the tracks were cross-cutting, representing dynamic and relevant issues related to multiple tracks.
This track explored both proven and innovative strategies to develop resilience in financial systems, communities and households, and looked at products, services and technologies that help households and enterprises better mitigate risks associated with climate variability, illness and disease, political instability, and conflict.
Using Innovative Strategies to Build Resilient Savings Groups
Chaired by Catholic Relief Services
If savings groups are a great model for sustainable empowerment, why do so many lose engagement and dissolve after the initial project ends? This session explored compelling new evidence from three innovative models challenging this trend. These solutions leverage the power of mobile apps, social entrepreneurs and trusted community networks in creative ways that build resilience at the group and community level. NGOs using these approaches have seen increases in group engagement, member motivation and group ROI long after the funded project ends. Speakers shared lessons on how to get started, what works and what doesn't.
Leveraging Financial Services to Build Resilience and Accelerate Post-Disaster Recovery
Chaired by World Vision
In this session, speakers demonstrated how post-disaster recovery microfinance enabled rapid recovery to build resilient livelihoods for over 27,700 families and more than 100,000 people affected by disasters without doing any harm. With case studies from both slow-onset and rapid-onset disasters in the Philippines, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Myanmar and Ecuador, we showed how recovery lending can be affordable and not lead to over indebtedness of clients.
The experience from Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka showcased how Savings for Transformation (S4T) groups and digitization has empowered vulnerable families, particularly women and persons with disabilities, to better withstand shocks and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of disasters.
Supporting Customer Resilience through Product Design and Delivery
Chaired by Itad
This session explored innovations from partners of the MasterCard Savings Learning Lab. Speakers quoted four examples of financial service providers from Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria (Access Advans, LAPO, FCMB) that prioritize customer resilience when approaching product development and delivery. We identified financial products, services and engagement strateies designed to increase low-income families' resilience to shocks including insecurity, climate and seasonality. Panelists also informed the audience on research and strategies that have enabled families to move forward and pinpoint early signs to determine impact of these products.
How Financial Inclusion Can Build Resilience
Chaired by RTI
Accessing financial services is the key to building resilience and enabling people to accumulate savings, access insurance and/or borrow money. At one end of the spectrum, financial assistance programs have focused on developing savings groups while at the other end of the spectrum, programs have helped banks increase access to lending and insurance products. Many practitioners are now asking about what defines the middle of the spectrum and when they should use specific financial services. This session discussed the prerequisites for a range of market-based financial services and how financial inclusion can build resilience across different regions, including the Sahel.
The Business Case for Financial Services in Conflict and Post-Conflict Areas
Chaired by Chemonics
Can there be a business case for reaching rural, remote clients with formal financial services - even for a commercial bank? Can financial service providers maintain and grow portfolios in protracted crises where flare-ups mean drastic fulctuations in client risk profiles? The answer to both of these questions is "Yes, and..." To find out what comes after "and" , Chemonics chaired a lively discussion on how development, non-profit, and for-profit financial sector practitioners has been providing and encouraging formal financial services to some of the most vulnerable and remote business from Colombia to the West Bank - and how you can too.
This track focused on promising approaches that successfully use the potential of markets to build resilience in fragile settings. In this track, we examined how public and private sector actors address systemic constraints that hinder access to and participation in markets. We also explored how market engagement at the individual, household and community level can build resilience for local populations and the local market system itself.
Can Markets-Based Water Programming Build Community Resilience?
Chaired by Oxfam
There is limited evidence on what has worked and not worked in Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and markets-based programming as modalities for the delivery of humanitarian WASH. The Global WASH cluster encourages partners to consider CVA where feasible. This session drew learnings from Oxfam and CARE on the different models in Cash for Water that have worked to stimulate markets in fragile contexts. We're sure you have many questions in your mind. This session helped discover these answers together supported by examples from Somalia:
Why use CVA in water? What worked and what didn't? Is it sustainable? Does it create ownership by the community? Is it cost effective? Are Sphere's humanitarian standards met?
How Market Systems Resilience Can Be Effective in Conflict-Affected Countries
Chaired by DAI
This session showcased successful strategies to incorporate market systems resilience (MSR) activities in Value CHain (VC) projects. After introducing the MSR approach and how it differs from a VC approach, we reviewed the advances and disadvantages of including an MSR approach in VC projects. Panelists showcased two field examples of how they layered MSR approaches onto their VC projects, delivering increased resilience in conflict-affected environments, social capital formation and shared value creation between communities and business. The session featured an interactive component where in guided groups, participants practiced developing MSR approaches to layer onto VC project scenarios for improved resilience.
How the Global Coalition to Alleviate Poverty is Building Displacement-Inclusive Markets
Chaired by Norwegian Refugee Council
What does it take to integrate 500,000 displaced households into the market economy? Norwegian Refugee Council chaired a highly-interactive panel discussion to find out how the Global Coalition to Alleviate Poverty among Refugees and Host Communities - an ambitious initiative between 13 organizations (11 NGOs, UNHCR and PEI) - wants to scale-up the Graduation approach to help build resilient and displacement-inclusive markets in 35 countries.
Applying a Resiliency Framework in Environments with Climate and Conflict Shocks
Chaired by EcoVentures International
Interested in exploring how concepts of resilience are/can be applied to make market systems more dynamic and inclusive, even in the face of market, political, and climatic stresses and shocks? EcoVentures International hosted a discussion of the Resiliency Framework, funded by USAID’s Center for Resilience, and took a closer look at its application in both cyclone-ravaged Mozambique and Kenyan conflict zones. Additionally, participants learned how to redesign and monitor systemic change interventions that are more durable, contextual, cost-effective, and better align market systems thinking and resilience concepts.
Making Market Systems Work for 69 Million Forcibly Displaced People
Chaired by Relief International
The Private Sector and Protection. These two 'Ps' do not often go together, but by using a market systems approach, the private sector and protection actors have found pathways for sustainable models to support resilience for the most vulnerable. Relief International chaired an engaging armchair chat with private sector actors and protection experts that explored how vulnerable populations, especially forcibly displaced people, are leveraging markets for resilience in Asia and the Middle East. With the rising number of today's 69 million displaced persons worldwide, the need to learn how we can promote markets systems approaches to work for them is greater than ever.
This track explored how gender relations - the relation of power between men and women - are a critical factor in women's economic empowerment and influence resilience strategies at the household and community levels. The committee is interested in exploring gender approaches around: increasing investment in the face of risk; strategies for risk reduction; facilitating risk preparedness; and responding positively and proactively when a shock hits.
Changing Social Norms to Engage Young Women in the Technology Sector
Chaired by International Youth Foundation
How do we effectively remove barriers restricting young women to fields with a lower earning potential? In this interactive session, participants experienced being part of a girls' focus group to identify key decision points, norms and gatekeepers while also hearing from NGOs and the private sector about scalable approaches to achieve this goal and shift norms about women's work. Based on a systems change program from Guadalajara, Mexico, participants learned about a new tool to identify young women's perceptions of expectations, norms and barriers as they start making economic decisions.
Breaking Barriers: A Transformative Approach for Young Female Entrepreneurs
Chaired by VSO
Women generate nearly 40 percent of the world's GDP. However, women's entrepreneurship involves considerable risks, hard work and enormous sacrifices. This session showcased a tailored business development services approach enabling female business leaders to reach their full potential, in turn creating opportunities for others in their supply chains and through employment. The Tanzania Women's Chamber of Commerce, a national strategic partner, highlighted the learnings from this gender transformational approach to business. Rose, a successful youth entrepreneur shared how she and other 1,150 female entrepreneurs are breaking barriers in the business world.
Innovative Strategies to Maximize Resilience in Women's Economic Empowerment
Chaired by Women for Women International
This session actively engaged participants in three expert-led round tables focused on practical approaches that maximize women's economic empowerment, reduce risks and improve resilience.
They discussed and debated on:
After an introduction to the approach, participants discussed replication and scaling up, any contextual adaptations and ways to maximize resilience.
Agency for Women and Girls as a Path Toward Resilience
Chaired by BRAC
Agency is a critical tool to build resilience for women and girls, enabling them to become active decision makers in their lives and enhancing their ability to respond to and cope with shocks. At this session, you could hear from two organizations as they shared their approaches to build resilience through agency that have been implemented in multiple country contexts. Panelists shared evidence from an adolescent safe space program and a village savings and loan association (VSLA). Together, we will also previewed results from J-PAL's upcoming literature review on women's agency.
What Women in Humanitarian Contexts Have to Say About Economic Empowerment and Resilience
Chaired by International Rescue Committee
With forced migration on the rise, fragile and conflict-affected settings have the greatest need to strengthen resilience. Women living under these conditions face increased economic burdens and greater threats of violence and exploitation. We are well aware that women's economic empowerment is critical to enhancing resilience, but very little is known about the exceptional barriers facing displaced women as well as defining and measuring success in their context. This session explored methods and lessons from consultations with displaced women on their perception of economic empowerment in order to better understand the nature of the challenges and inform better programmatic and policy solutions.
Sessions in this track illustrated how we use proven and emerging measures, methods and evidence for strengthening the resilience of households, communities and market systems and how we empower people with data. The sessions featured both new data and ways of measuring, as well as new uses or analysis for existing datasets. Because resilience is a multi-faceted concept, understanding how systems-level change supports or negatively impacts resilience adds to this challenge.
Evidence on Pushing Frontiers in Gender and Financial Inclusion
Chaired by ICRW
The discussion covered a range of topics in extending financial services to low-income women, including government payments and formal bank linkages and examine how these services build resilience and empowerment. Researchers and implementers from four financial inclusion projects provided evidence on the use of financial services that have reduced vulnerabilities and improved household responses to shocks and stresses. They further demonstrated the importance of tailored interventions accounting for harmful gender norms around literacy, numeracy, technology use and transaction preferences.
Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Capturing and Analyzing System-level Resilience Data
Chaired by ACDI/VOCA
You thought resilience measurement was hard? Add systems into the mix! This session highlighted the experience of several projects who have tried to generate, analyze, and react to evidence on how risk is experienced and managed at the market system level, using new tools and existing data/methods, analyzed through emerging lenses on MSR and its determinants. This included an enterprise survey-based Market Systems Diagnostic piloted in Honduras, network analysis, and a consensus-based MSR Index in Bangladesh. Participants learned about each tool, the users' experience (benefits, challenges, insights), and refined it through peer problem-solving and a design-your-own activity.
How Data Can Help Design Climate Resilient Programs
Chaired by Chemonics
As the frequency and magnitude of climate-related hazards increase, people's livelihoods are increasingly affected, particularly those of rural and vulnerable populations. We must improve our predictive and responsive capacities in equal measure, and data will be key in this effort. Panelists presented various methodologies, tools and frameworks for data collection, data analysis, and data application and how they can be used to foster greater resiliency for household and community level livelihoods in response to climate-related shocks. The session also included lessons learned from projects that are integrating climate data to help communities adapt livelihoods in response to such climate related events.
What Works: New Research in Preventing Violence while Building Resilience
Chaired by Women for Women International
Interventions that promote resilience, gender equality, and women's economic empowerment often disrupt traditional gender norms, and spurring growing fears of increased violence against women involved in economic programming. DFID's What Works to Prevent Violence program has produced rigorous evidence on the most effective interventions to address violence against women and girls. This session presented research and learning from three 'What Works' projects in conflict-affected contexts. Lessons learned through this program must inform program design to avoid any increase in violence and other unintended consequences while simultaneously promoting household and community resilience, particularly in conflict-affected environments.
Harnessing the Power of Data for Financial Resilience
Chaired by DAI
Digital technology is undoubtedly one of the strongest tools to foster financial inclusion for unbanked populations, but can easily fall apart if the financial ecosystem is uncooperative. The session explored how data generated through a PAYGO intervention can be instrumental to engage the financial sector and other market players to go rural. We discovered how data can be used to scale up offerings for credit and others services for rural communities. With generous time allocated for discussion, participants worked together with their peers to identify future challenges in paving the path to enhance community resilience through use of data.