Programme profile

The ILO Lab: Inclusive market development for decent work


The Lab is a global initiative that tests, scales and shares strategies to maximise the impact of market systems development interventions on decent work. It aims to generate practitioner knowledge about how market systems development can maximise labour market impacts and how employment related results can be monitored and measured.

The Lab is implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Market systems focus

The Lab has supported field projects in selection and market systems analyses - working through the lens of promoting job creation and decent work. Specifically:

  • better and more stable wages
  • enhanced productivity
  • occupational safety and health

The Lab has worked directly or supported analysis in the following sectors and countries:

  • Agri-business: Dominican Republic, Peru, Rwanda, Zambia, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, India, Mozambique, Kyrgyzstan
  • Tourism: Mexico, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, Mozambique
  • Construction: Mozambique, Zambia, Rwanda
  • Retail/Garments: Asia (regional), Rwanda
  • Wooden Furniture: Peru


Programme interventions

Knowledge production and dissemination
Generate manuals, a working conditions measurement toolkit and other knowledge products on proven business models and market analysis methodology to disseminate among practitioners and policy-makers.

Capacity building
Provide training and capacity building activities on the market systems development approach to help develop national capacity for the design, execution and evaluation of these interventions.

Technical support for projects
Carry out market research and analyses, support interventions and action research to address decent work deficits and enhance results measurement capacity.


Capacity built

  • Trained 450+ national stakeholders and projects’ staff trained through capacity building activities such as webinars, half-day focused trainings or multi-day trainings.
  • Three training courses on jobs measurement, market facilitation and adaptive management as well as an interactive, online game on market facilitation developed.
  • 1,700+ policy-makers and practitioners exposed to our knowledge through a series of webinars, conference presentations and blogs.

Technical support provided

The Lab has supported more than one-half of the ILO’s portfolio of value chain development projects as well as businesses, other multi-laterals, NGOs and projects. This has included supporting:

  • Market analyses
    Sector selection, market analyses and/or project design for four operating market systems development project: Road to Jobs (Afghanistan), MozTrabalha (Mozambique), Yapasa (Zambia) and Promoting Decent Work in Rwanda’s Informal Economy – projects collectively valued at USD 30 million.
  • Evaluations
    Four rigorous evaluations to unpack the jobs impact for youth soybean farmers in Zambia, horticulture outgrowers in Timor-Leste and cooperatives in Rwanda, and investment into rice export in Cambodia with the IFC.
  • Market solutions
    Action research to improve working conditions in Peru’s wooden furniture sector, catalysing public investment in workplace safety schemes which will potentially cover over 13,000 workers in 3,600 (primarily micro-) enterprises.
  • Monitoring and Results Measurement (MRM)
    The delivery of technical assistance to develop and review MRM systems in line with the DCED Standard for ILO projects in Zambia, Nepal, Afghanistan, Mozambique and Rwanda.

    ILO´s SCORE programme (India) to pass the DCED Results Measurement Standard audit and supported the ILO´s “Yapasa” (Zambia) and Road to Jobs (Afghanistan) to complete pre-audits.

[updated Sept. 2018]