Programme profile

SCI: Systems Change Initiative

Ghana Lebanon Mali Moldova Mozambique Senegal Sierra Leone South Africa Zimbabwe Asia: West & Central Africa: East, South & Central Africa: West & Northern Europe Agriculture Energy Infrastructure Decent work & employment

Programme Index Listing

Ghana, Lebanon, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Main implementer
International Labour Organization (ILO)
2022 - 2025
Total budget
USD $3.1 million
Annual budget
USD $750,000
External links
SCI on Twitter
SCI website
SCI on LinkedIn

Project description / objective

To enhance the application of a market systems development (MSD) approach to create decent work and productive employment opportunities for the working poor. In doing so, the SCI follows the footsteps of the ILO’s Lab project, which closed in 2020.

The SCI builds partnerships and supports the ILO and the broader development community to apply the MSD approach and measure decent work outcomes. It funds action-research activities (Ghana, Moldova, Lebanon) and supports other ILO projects to apply the approach. It also harvests and synthesises knowledge on MSD to enhance its application.

See also the SCI's predecessor -  The ILO Lab: Inclusive market development for decent work profile

Market systems focus

The Systems Change Initiative conducts analysis and action research at the nexus of MSD, environment, and gender in Ghana, Lebanon, and Moldova.  It also supports a range of ILO field projects by supporting analysis, implementation, and/or results measurement and providing coaching services. 

Agribusiness / agriculture

The project is conducting action research in the vegetable sector to create more productive employment and environmental incomes for youth and women farmers. In particular, the project is looking to support the uptake of cold storage, more efficient packing, more resistant seed use, and more efficient irrigation use. 

The SCI will support two MSD projects in Mali intervening in the shea & vegetables, and mango value chains respectively. Projects will aim to create more and better jobs for youth and women. 

The SCI will support a project at the nexus of MSD and environment, combining direct delivery with a market systems development approach in selected value chains in the mangrove area of Sine Saloum. The ultimate aim of the project is to create green jobs for women and youth. 

Sierra Leone
The SCI supports the Opportunity Salone project, which aims to contribute to more decent job creation for women, youth, and persons with disabilities through (i) value chain and entrepreneurship development in the cassava, palm oil, vegetables sectors, (ii) increased feeder road maintenance, and (iii) conducive business environment for entrepreneurship development and feeder road maintenance.

Renewable energy

The project is exploring several market-driven pilot interventions to support improvement of job quality and quantity in the renewable energy sector. 


Southern Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe)
The SCI is supporting a sub-regional market systems development project in the construction sector. It will drive improvements to labour rights for vulnerable young workers - in three countries - and take the knowledge, pilot models and results to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to see if lessons/interventions can be taken on board and supported in other countries in the SADC region.


The project is working to take a systemic approach to the provision of childcare services with the aim to guarantee decent working conditions for care providers. 

Programme interventions

Knowledge generation

The SCI generates targeted knowledge products to demonstrate to the ILO and the broader development community that the MSD approach can be a vehicle to create productive and decent work. 
Some of these can be found under Resource on the right of this page.


The SCI is working to support staff joining MSD projects to ensure they have the technical competencies. It also works to raise awareness and train ILO staff and the broader development community on the approach and its niche application to both environmental and decent work outcomes.
Examples include: 
RECONOMY's discussion on job quality (video); A market systems approach to skills development webinar (video); Greening MSD event training (slides)

Technical support to projects  

Global partnerships
The SCI works to mainstream a systems approach through developing partnerships within the ILO and with the broader development MSD/VCD community and supporting analyses, implementation and results measurements to demonstrate value of the approach in different contexts. The SCI is also building partnerships to facilitate knowledge exchange on, and applications of, tools and indicators for job quality measurements. 

In-country work
The SCI identifies field opportunities to run pilot interventions aimed at addressing decent work deficits in specific sectors and value chains, and at enhancing results measurement capacity. Moreover, the SCI runs action research at the intersection of MSD and the environment in Lebanon (renewable energy) and Ghana (vegetables), as well as an action research initiative in Moldova (childcare) with a gender lens.  

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

To be added in due course.

[uploaded June 2023]