Our Approach

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Christian Aid understands markets as systems that are dynamic, shifting in response to the blockages and opportunities the relationships between market stakeholders create. In our programmes we improve market access, enable access to finance, build up enterprises through business support, enable access to goods and services, and use advocacy to change the systems and structures that keep producers poor. We are able to draw from this unique combination of approaches to empower marginalised actors, making their livelihoods more resilient and the markets they operate within more inclusive.

Christian Aid understands markets as systems that are dynamic, where market stakeholders respond to the blockages and opportunities that they face. Our programmes have developed a number of approaches that empower marginalised producers to make their livelihoods more resilient and the markets they operate within more inclusive, as illustrated below. We believe that only by working across these systems, targeting interventions at the key challenges and opportunities, can we make markets more inclusive and deliver impact at scale.

How we deliver our inclusive markets work is as important to us as what we do – participation and empowerment of marginalised actors is central to our approach – you cannot shift the balance of power in favour of marginalised producers and consumers without it.

Christian Aid works with local partners to make markets more inclusive through:

  • Market access: We enable poor women and men to gain access to new markets or obtain greater value for their products and services in existing ones
  • Business Support: We support enterprises in our market systems programmes, or facilitate access to external expertise focused on commercial analysis and technical assistance including business planning
  • Access to finance: We facilitate access to investment funding for enterprises in our market programmes through our incubator fund, and through the investment platform Access to Capital for Rural Enterprises (ACRE)
  • Evidence-based market advocacy: We tackle the power imbalances in markets that are keeping marginalised actors poor by raising voices on key issues in the business enabling environment
  • Access to goods & services: We enable poor producers and consumers to access ICT-based information services and off-grid energy solutions
  • Empowerment and ownership: We invest in marginalised producers building their understanding and ownership of their market giving them the confidence to be better entrepreneurs, engaging with and influencing powerful market stakeholders
  • Market facilitation: We bring together market actors from private and public sectors to build ownership of their market challenges and opportunities informally and formally through the Participatory Market Systems Development process.

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