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This discussion paper provides guidance on how value chain and market development core principles can be adopted when working directly with the very poor. This paper is applicable to initiatives aiming to 'reach down' further and include the very poor in ‒ or graduate the very poor more intentionally into ‒ economic growth interventions, thereby creating a 'pathway out of poverty.' It presents nine principles of the value chain approach related to programme design and analysis, and programme implementation, and examines their application to varying poverty levels. It concludes with several thought leaders providing reflections on the paper and highlighting distinct themes to complement those explored.

This discussion paper analyses how differences between households with differing asset and income objectives might shape the application of key principles of the value chain approach to working with poorer populations. Income and asset objectives are seen to evolve from (i) stabilizing household consumption/stemming asset loss, to (ii) smoothing household consumption/protecting assets, to (iii) smoothing household income/acquiring assets, to (iv) expanding household income/leverage assets, and to (v) stabilized income-generation and asset accumulation. The principles themselves are derived from various industry publications and organized into two groups: program design and analysis, and program implementation.

It is a bit outdated and since it's publication, there have been several attempts to better combine MSD thinking in fragile and conflicted affected areas and for MSD's use with highly vulnerable populations. Nonetheless, it is still a useful resource for those developing new MSD programmes targeting the very poor.    

Useful for:

Practitioners designing or carrying out programmes aiming to work with the very poor.