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Mafi Work Plan 2013, short version (March 2013)

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This is the short version of the MaFI 2013 Work Plan. If you do not have much time to read the details, here’s a summary of objectives and modules: …

This is the short version of the MaFI 2013 Work Plan. If you do not have much time to read the details, here’s a summary of objectives and modules:

Objectives:
- To continue influencing the principles, rules and practices of international development to promote facilitation approaches in inclusive market development using the MaFI-festo as a general guideline.
- To further the practice and thinking of inclusive market development facilitation through a systematic process of learning and action-research between market facilitators and M&E and complexity experts, mainly through the Complexity Dialogues and the Systemic M&E Initiative.
- To produce knowledge products based on MaFI’s learning agenda and processes (e.g. online discussions, webinars and in-person meetings) that inform and build the capacity of field practitioners and are relevant and interesting to other decision-makers such as donors and lead firms.
- To promote in-person interactions and local-global dialogue, learning and coordination through formal and informal initiatives such as Local Learning Groups, MaFI Ambassadors, workshops and conferences.
- To continue improving the efficiency and effectiveness of MaFI’s back-end operations (e.g. guidance to members, processing and selection of requests to join, MaFI introductions, selection of Top Influencer of the Month, etc.)

Modules:
- M&E of MaFI: To build better theories of change and indicators to monitor how learning and collaboration processes change in MaFI and to assess MaFI’s impacts on its members
- MaFI “Instructions Manual”: To codify the operational principles and the lessons learned by the facilitator of MaFI since its beginnings in 2007-8 and to provide tips and instructions about how to manage the back-end processes that keep MaFI running efficiently.
- Systemic M&E, Phase II: To illustrate the practical application, implications and impacts of the principles proposed in the Systemic M&E synthesis document in the context of inclusive market development initiatives.
- Complexity Dialogues: To build a learning agenda that will help MaFI to interact in a more systematic way with complexity experts to improve the application of complexity science in inclusive market development practice and policy-making.
- Capacity Building: To build global convergence and consensus around the basic skills and attitudes that effective and efficient facilitators of inclusive market development initiatives should have.
- Knowledge Production System: To convert the best discussions ever produced by MaFI into knowledge products that are easy to read and can reach large numbers of practitioners globally, both for information and training purposes.
- Local Learning and collaboration: To promote locally contextualised learning and collaboration between key development actors such as field practitioners, policy-makers and donors around issues related to facilitation of inclusive market development

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  • 1. MaFI (The Market Facilitation Initiative) - 2013 WORK PLAN – Short Version OBJECTIVES FOR 20131. To continue influencing the principles, rules and practices of international developmentto promote facilitation approaches in inclusive market development using the MaFI-festo as a general guideline.2. To further the practice and thinking of inclusive market development facilitation through a systematic process of learning and action-research between market facilitators and M&E and complexity experts, mainly through the Complexity Dialogues and the Systemic M&E Initiative.3. To produce knowledge products based on MaFI’s learning agenda and processes (e.g. online discussions, webinars and in-person meetings) that inform and build the capacity of field practitioners and are relevant and interesting to other decision-makers such as donors and lead firms.4. To promote in-person interactions and local-global dialogue, learning and coordination through formal and informal initiatives such as Local Learning Groups, MaFI Ambassadors, workshops and conferences.5. To continue improving the efficiency and effectiveness of MaFI’sback-end operations (e.g. guidance to members, processing and selection of requests to join, MaFI introductions, selection of Top Influencer of the Month, etc.) GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND SUSTAINABILITYThis work plan was designed with the following principles in mind: The SEEP AC should be one of the key reference point for MaFIs learning and collaboration processes. We should be building content for the AC throughout the whole year. This is of particular importance for the Knowledge Production module (see below). Leverage the energy (resources, contacts, opportunities, etc.) of all the members. This will involve exploring new models of collaboration with members for learning and collaboration. Prioritise minimalistic, low-cost projects and processes that respond to the most urgent or strategic needs of members. The more financial burden and overheads we create, the least sustainable MaFI will be. Prioritise initiatives that help members to overcome challenges or exploit opportunities that they cannot overcome or exploit individually. Strike a balance between: o knowledge products and learning processes o virtual interactions and local (face to face) interactions o reflection and action Maximise economies of scale for learning and coordination for actionA brief reflection about sustainability: temporary projects vs permanent processes:Some modules of the work plan are projects because they have a finite life cycle and are designed tomodify the "enabling environment" of inclusive market practitioners. The activities of these projects arenot intended to be sustainable but their effects on the enabling environment and on other outcomessuch as practitioner networks or capabilities are.Two examples are the Systemic M&E initiative and theComplexity Dialogues.Some modules and the core set of “maintenance” activities are designed to be highly sustainable 1
  • 2. routines or models. These initiatives should be light and fit into the strategies and resources of SEEP,SEEP’s supporters and MaFI members. It is also important to note that not all the ideas here above areamenable to planning; they will have to be approached opportunistically. MaFI’s learning agenda. Highlighted sections will take priority in 2013 Theme Within the development organizations Within the market systemsCapacity How to build capacity of development How to build capacity of strategic marketBuilding organizations and practitioners actors to lead structural transformations of the markets systems they operate in (e.g. lead firms, cooperatives and ministries)Linkages How to create & strengthen collaboration How to promote vertical & horizontal and learning networks and practitioner linkages between market actors. With groups. With emphasis on LLGs emphasis on lead firms & producer groupsIncentives How to use incentives to improve The issue of smart subsidies may be organizational learning around facilitation revisited if needed by members of inclusive market developmentImpact How to assess impact of learning processes Systemic M&E, Phase II: collection andAssessment within development org. working to analysis of case studies to illustrate the become facilitators of inclusive market dev. original synthesis. THE STRUCTURE OF THE 2013 WORK PLAN: CORE ACTIVITIES AND MODULES Fig. 1: The modules that constitute the MaFI 2013 Work Plan. 2
  • 3. Module 1: M&E of MaFIObjectiveTo build better theories of change and indicators to monitor how learning and collaboration processeschange in MaFI and to assess MaFI’s impacts on its members.RationaleAnecdotal evidence and the indicators currently used by MaFIallow us to say that MaFI is relevant anduseful to its members but we are not getting robust and comparable enough evidence that can be usedto improve how MaFI works, how it adapts to its members needs and how it demonstrate value formoney to SEEP members and donors alike.Strategy and/or activities The facilitator produces theories of change for MaFI’s main processes as well as indicators, discusses them with SEEP staff and MaFI members and pilots them for a year During the pilot, the facilitator collects information that will help to assess the usefulness of the M&E framework and points were it has to be improved The facilitator produces a report with the theories of change, the indicators testes and any other lesson that may have come up from the initiative Module 2: MaFI Instructions ManualObjectiveTo codify the operational principles and the lessons learned by the facilitator of MaFI since itsbeginnings in 2007-8 and to provide tips and instructions about how to manage the back-end processesthat keep MaFI running efficiently.RationaleNew facilitators will need information about the principles, lessons and processes that allow MaFI toperform effectively and cost-efficiently. The current facilitator has experience that should be passedonto the new facilitators to ease and shorten the induction process and avoid repeating mistakesunnecessarily. This “instruction manual” can also be a useful document for any other individual ororganisation who wishes to promote learning networks similar to MaFI.Strategy and/or activities The facilitator produces the manual The facilitator gets feedback from SEEP and other organisations and MaFI members working in the field of organisational learning such as USAID, QED and KM4D. Involves emailing and phone calls The facilitator incorporates feedback into a final draft SEEP does the layout and production of final document (optional) 3
  • 4. Module 3: Systemic M&E, Phase IIObjectiveTo illustrate the practical application, implications and impacts of the principles proposed in theSystemic M&E synthesis document in the context of inclusive market development initiatives.RationaleOne of the key messages coming out from “Phase 1” is that the readers are keen to know more aboutconcrete examples of the principles in action. There are several programmes where the principles arebeing (or were) applied knowingly or unknowingly with noticeable impacts on the implementers, donorsand stakeholders. It is important to analyse and document those cases to enrich the paper and increaseits influence and readability.Strategy and/or activities Selection of cases Analysis of cases Discussion about the cases and the preliminary findings with MaFI members and other experts via LinkedIn, e-consultations, webinars and in-person workshops Improvement of the cases and integration into the synthesis document Module 4: Complexity DialoguesObjectiveTo build a learning agenda that will help MaFI to interact in a more systematic way with complexityexperts to improve the application of complexity science in inclusive market development practice andpolicy-making. The learning agenda is emerging out of the questions elicited by the videos where Prof.Scott E. Page explains 12 basic concepts of complexity theory. These videos were purchased thanks togenerous support of the SEEP Network and distributed to key MaFI members who agreed to promotelocal discussions, not only to build the capacity of the participants but also to contribute with questionsand insights for the mentioned learning agenda.RationaleA better understanding and application of complexity science will promote the efficiency andeffectiveness of practitioners and policy-makers working in inclusive market development. However, theincorporation of ideas and tools from complexity science will take time and multiple discussions that willhave to engage the community of complexity experts. The more organised and systematic theseconversations are, the more efficient the process of mutual learning and collaboration will be. Having alearning agenda that reflects the questions, insights and practical needs of inclusive marketdevelopment practitioners and policy-makers will greatly contribute to this process.The Complexity Dialogues started in 2012 and some MaFI members (approx. 4 out of 12 who receivedthe video lessons) have started promoting them in their own localities. Much has been learned about 4
  • 5. how to facilitate these Dialogues but challenges have been found along the way. The initial assumptionthat a committed MaFI member “armed” with the set of video lessons was going to lead to a fast andefficient series of local conversations that were in turn going to help the whole of MaFI to produce thelearning agenda mentioned above was not confirmed. Modifications and simplifications to the processand format of the dialogues are needed. It is important for the facilitator to have the time to engagewith the “complexity champions” to help them with the process so that we can wrap it up as fast aspossible.Strategy and/or activities Interactionswith the “complexity champions” to learn from their experiences and help them overcome the challenges they are facing to get the dialogues started or going. This will involve emails and phone calls Follow up of the members who received the video lessons to see if they want to continue or give up and give other members the opportunity to lead complexity dialogues in their localities Using information provided by the complexity champions and other members, the facilitator will produce solutions or ideas (approaches, resources, models, incentives, etc.) to help the complexity champions in their endeavours. The facilitator will have to discuss such solutions and ideas with the complexity champions and adjust them as needed The costs involved in the implementations of such ideas or solutions are difficult to predict. In any case, the idea is to rely or make synergies with these champions as much as possible. Production of the final learning agenda (document) and discussion and fine-tuning with MaFI members Module 5: Capacity BuildingObjectiveTo build global convergence and consensus around the basic skills and attitudes that effective andefficient facilitators of inclusive market development initiatives should have.RationaleThere is a proliferation of frameworks and tools for inclusive market development. This is a positiveindication of a vibrant and growing field and should be promoted alongside competition and learningbetween the creators and users of such tools and frameworks. A couple of years ago, the facilitator ofMaFI tried to promote the creation of an international capacity building system that would promotecollaboration and coordination, joint training courses, and joint certification but it was too ambitiousand/or too soon. This time, the idea is to try to promote convergence and consensus –not coordinationor sustained collaboration- around the basic, minimum skills and attitudes that make an effective andefficient facilitator. Such an agreement will have positive implications for the design of training materialsand mentoring initiatives; job descriptions and recruitment; and graduation and certification processes.A product that could mobilise a large share of MaFI members is something that could be provisionallycalled the MaFI Facilitator’s Standard. It would be a document describing, discussing and proposing aset of principles and basic, minimum skills and attitudes that effective and efficient facilitators ofinclusive market development initiatives should have. This would act as a global standard on top of 5
  • 6. which any organisation working in this field could build their own adaptations or modifications, whichwould in turn strike a balance between standardisation and diversity.There are plenty of possible frameworks and tools produced by organisations like USAID, ACDI/VOCA,GIZ, DFID, EWB, The Groove, Practical Action and World Vision that could be used as a starting point forlearning and debate about skills and attitudes.During the SEEP 2012 Annual Conference, some MaFI members identified the need to define the basicskills and attitudes for different levels of staff: senior level, program designers and management, fieldlevel, etc. Whether to have such level of detail or not is something that must to be discussed furtherduring the design of this component.Strategy and/or activities Design and facilitate discussions with MaFI members and other experts to identify the frameworks and tools that will be used as a starting poinT Preliminary analysis: study of the frameworks and tools (assumption: 6) and identification of commonalities and differences Design, invitation and production of online discussions and e-consultations to allow the voices of MaFI members and other experts to enrich the preliminary analysis Incorporation of the inputs from members and other experts into the final draft of the Standards Production of final document for distribution and coordination with SEEP Module 6: Knowledge ProductionObjectiveTo convert the best discussions ever produced by MaFI into knowledge products that are easy to readand can reach large numbers of practitioners globally, both for information and training purposes.RationaleThe vibrancy and dynamism of MaFI means that many relevant and interesting conversations take placeregularly on LinkedIn, its online platform. However, these discussions are recorded as they happen andin a format that can make them very long or unstructured, which leads to a loss of the key lessons.Furthermore, despite the large numbers of members (more than 300 and growing), there are thousandsof practitioners and policy-makers beyond MaFI’s boundaries who could benefit from its collectiveexperience if it could be converted into engaging knowledge products.Strategy and/or activities To convert the winners of the Top Influencer of the Month Awards and in some cases the runner- ups too into short, easy-to-read, high-quality documents in different formats such as papers, briefs, case studies, or training materials To design, test and monitor one or two business models that can lead to a sustained and cost- effective production of knowledge products 6
  • 7. To build and follow-up partnerships (MOUs, rules, incentives, etc.) with universities, NGOs and donors to diversify funding sources, access experts and peer-reviewers and increase distribution channels To design standard templates and formats to increase efficiency of production (in collaboration with SEEP and other partners) To revise drafts and final products. This will vary depending on the number of knowledge products produced. Assumption: four products and collaboration with MaFI experts to act as peer-reviewers. Optional: To bring together these knowledge products into a publication that can be distributed during the SEEP AC and via SEEP’s website. A provisional name for this publication is The MaFI-zine: an annual magazine that collects the briefs, training resources, stories from the field, report on progress, hot topics that dominated the year, and other stories from SEEP/MaFImembers, etc. Module 7: Local Learning and CollaborationObjectiveTo promote locally contextualised learning and collaboration between key development actors such asfield practitioners, policy-makers and donors around issues related to facilitation of inclusive marketdevelopment.RationaleOne of the most urgent and challenging problems faced by SEEP is how to reach out to large numbers ofpractitioners and policy-makers in the field who are marginalised by dysfunctional or inexistentcommunication infrastructure, language barriers, geographic distance, or organisational disincentives.Virtual communications via LinkedIn, webinars and e-consultations in English are all fine and important,but not enough; in-person trust-building, learning and collaboration in local languages and with a focuson the daily urgencies and challenges of fieldwork are needed to convert good practices and lessons intomore-cost effective, sustainable and scalable interventions.There are important synergies and win-win to be made from local-global dialogues in MaFI, in thecontext of the SEEP Network. For example: Local problems and challenges can receive inputs from other contexts promoting new insights and adaptations in policy and practice Local lessons, insights, challenges and mistakes can inform existing theories or promote the design of new theories and generalisations New opportunities for regional or international collaboration, coordination or synergies can be discovered more efficiently.Strategy and/or activities Focus on the Complexity Dialogues as the most concrete entry point to promote local learning and collaboration Explore new collaboration models and partnerships with other organisations who want to build the capacity of their field staff and their connectedness with peers locally and internationally 7
  • 8. The facilitator will promote the London Complexity Dialogues Group to set example and to create areference group that could support other English speaking groupsConsultations with the complexity champions to learn from their experiences and build models,approaches and tools that can help the other champions with their dialoguesTwo ideas that emerged from the meeting during the SEEP 2012 AC and where the complexitychampions will play an important role were: Invite experts who can interact (virtually or in-person) with the participants of the complexity dialogues Identify existing regional and local networks that have routine spaces and explore how to build synergies with them. Some examples (TBC) are: LEDNA – Local Economic Development Network of Africa; Swisscontact in Southern Africa;AgroHub; SNV; Alianzaspara el Aprendizaje; Nepal Mkt Development Forum; MDF in Bangladesh; and of course, SEEP’s own regional conferences, groups and associations.Synthesis of the learning agenda from the inputs of all the Complexity Dialogues groupsIdentification of, engagement with and discussions with complexity experts and design of Phase 2;with close collaboration and discussions with the complexity championsFundraising for Phase 2 of the Complexity Dialogues 8