The facilitation role

The facilitator’s role refers to the temporary actions of market systems programmes to bring about systems-level change for the benefit of the poor. 

One of the key differences between market systems approaches and conventional forms of development aid is an emphasis on facilitation. 

A conventional aid programme might ask 'how can we solve the problems this target group is facing?', whereas market systems thinking emphasises the need to ask:

  • Why is this market system not already working for the poor?
  • What needs to change to make the system more functional and pro-poor?

Participatory market systems development (PMSD): Facilitation tactics and activities

Supporting or influencing a market actor to change their behaviour

Key to facilitation are the notions of ownership and sustainability. Experience shows that bringing in enthusiastic individuals early on in the change process enhances ownership and increases the likelihood they will continue to build on proposed innovations without assistance. A good idea is to try light touch activities first: activities that involve the least effort, time and money to see if they can ignite change. 

Early adopters are people willing to make changes who can then act as positive examples among their peers. With the process of change happening in the market, the expectation is that actors will not go back to old practices once the programme has ended. Tactics and intervention specifics will change as the project learns more about the market system. The need to adjust to market actors, and try different approaches makes learning, flexibility, and adaptability key characteristics of successful market systems facilitators.  

Being a market facilitator

Tool for adapting staff roles for good market facilitation.

Tactics of facilitation for sustainable market systems development

Pollen Group presentation on facilitation tactics.