Introducing the M4P Operational Guide

In 2008, SDC and DFID published three documents aimed at improving the understanding and use of the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach: the M4P Synthesis, M4P Perspectives and M4P Operational Guide. Since then the field has grown, diversified and, importantly, learned much more. A second edition was commissioned to capture that learning, maintain the momentum and realise the ambition that development can still 'do better'.

The second edition provides an accessible resource to help practitioners put the market systems development approach into practice. It explains the key principles and frameworks which guide effective intervention in – and development of – market systems. It addresses common challenges with examples of good practice based on practitioner experience.

Who is it for?

The Operational Guide is for people whose job entails trying to make market systems work better for poor women and men. These people include:

  • Individuals currently involved in funding or implementing the approach.
  • Development agencies wishing to incorporate market systems thinking and practice in their work.
  • National stakeholders that wish to play a more strategic and catalytic role within market systems.

What is new?

  • Application, application, application! Whilst the key principles and frameworks will be familiar, the advice on their operational application – from start to finish – has been significantly bolstered
  • Enhanced guidance on facilitation. Greater emphasis on what constitutes good facilitation practice, building on a wealth of practitioner experience
  • More real-life examples. The Operational Guide is laced with examples from programmes past and present, working in a diverse array of systems
  • Peer learning focus. Direct insights from practitioners, highlighting 'bumps in the road' and how to avoid them.
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