Markets are everywhere. Poor women and men engage with them every day as producers, traders, service providers, employees and consumers. Many have the energy and enterprise to succeed, but the dice are loaded against them.
Our current economic system exacerbates inequality, and on top of this shocks and disasters hit the poorest communities hardest. We believe markets and enterprise that include poor producers can be a ladder out of poverty.
Enterprise is the ladder out of poverty for most people. People living in poverty need the private sector to thrive
- Partnership for Change, Christian Aid’s corporate strategy.
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 aim to empower marginalised producers to make their livelihoods more resilient and make the markets they operate within more inclusive.
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:
We support inclusive enterprises in our market systems programme (and in other thematic programmes) by facilitating access to external expertise focused on commercial analysis and technical assistance including business planning. Read more in our guidance document.
Access to finance: We also support enterprises by facilitating 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.
We enable poor women and men to gain access to new markets or obtain greater value for their products and services in existing ones. Read more in our guidance document.
We support inclusive enterprises in our market systems programme (and in other thematic programmes) by facilitating access to external expertise focused on commercial analysis and technical assistance including business planning.
We also support enterprises by facilitating 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. Read more in our ACRE investment guide.
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. Read more about the role of government in enabling this.
Access to goods and 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.
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.
Now, not only am I capable of facing economic challenges which fall on our family, but I spend additional amounts earned on nutritious food, books and clothes for the children. I also have been able to save a significant amount of money for future predicaments and buy assets for our house
- Bulu Baroi, A member of Udaypur Dairy Products, Bangladesh.
Christian Aid has inclusive markets programmes in more than 10 countries.
Our markets work is spread across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. We also enable access to energy and information services in order to make livelihoods more resilient and work in many countries on a range of agricultural products.