The PMSD Roadmap Glossary


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If you think we have missed out any definitions, let us know in the comments below!

  • Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for your kind words of support! Yes, this was a document that we were especially keen to produce. Whilst we have tried to minimise jargon and acronyms as much as possible in the PMSD Roadmap, as you say the guidelines would be considerably longer if every time we wanted to refer to lead firms we were to write 'Key influential actors, whose size, contacts or relevance to the market system make them key drivers of change'!
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  • What a great, very important and useful document!

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a jargon sceptic (possibly a development industry sceptic). He showed me a table from the book Buzzwords and Fuzzwords that could generate the name of a development program by randomly putting together 4 development buzz/fuzz words. His point was 'Participatory Market System Development... really?!'. He wasn't questioning the approach, just the use of jargon.

    I disagreed however. Every industry and field has its jargon, and there's a reason for it. For those who work in the field, these terms are way of conveying sometimes complex meaning quickly. If we were to avoid using jargon words, we'd have to use 20 others instead every time we wanted to convey these meanings. It's true that it does make things more opaque for someone entering the field, and sometimes absence of a common understanding can create considerable, costly and damaging confusion. But that's an argument to put together a glossary like this one, not to do away with these terms altogether!

    Great work Practical Action!
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The PMSD Roadmap Glossary

  1. 1. GlossaryDecoding the jargon
  2. 2. Blockages [or Bottlenecks]:Sometimes also referred to as constraints. Ablockage is a situation or a process that hampersthe ability of the market actors to make the marketsystem work better (i.e. become more inclusive,efficient and productive).Ultimately it is these blockages, and the potentialopportunities for overcoming them, that become the focusfor getting marginalised actors out of poverty.
  3. 3. Crowding In:The central process in – and purpose of –facilitation through which interventions catalyse orbring other players and functions into the marketsystem so that it works better for the poor.Crowding-in can result in enhanced breadth (moretransactions in the core of a market), depth (supportingfunctions) or reach (new areas or markets).Definition taken from M4P Synthesis
  4. 4. Drivers [of change]:Specific leaders in the organisations you are tryingto attract who will be inclined to join the processand mobilise their own organisations, clients, peers,providers, etc.These are the individuals who should be engaged andtargeted to join the PMSD process.
  5. 5. Empowerment:The process of building the minimum and mostbasic skills and attitudes for market actors tointeract effectively and productively with others.This kind of empowerment is called “empowerment forengagement”. Other types of empowerment (e.g. technical,agricultural or business training) should be provided bypublic or private market actors, not by the facilitator
  6. 6. Exit Strategy:The plans that facilitators should have to make theireventual withdrawal from the intervention assmooth and “painless” as possible.Good facilitators design and implement their interventionswith an exit strategy in mind (“how will this action help me tobecome irrelevant?”). In order to be sustainable,improvements in the market system must not depend on theon-going support of development NGOs.
  7. 7. Extension:Agricultural extension describes the knowledgeand information services that government agenciesprovide to farmers to increase their productivityand efficiency.It includes, but is not limited to, the transfer of knowledgegenerated by agricultural research.Adapted from
  8. 8. Facilitation:Strategies and activities to create conditions thatmotivate and support public and private marketactors to drive change themselves beyond thefacilitator’s intervention.Facilitators must avoid acting as market actors, but canempower them and create spaces for them to interact moreeffectively, expose them to new ideas and encourageexperimentation and learning: always with the goal ofpromoting structural changes in the market system.
  9. 9. Facilitator:An agent –usually acting on behalf of an NGO, whoguides the PMSD process.A facilitator is external to a market system, but seeks tobring about change within a market system, according to thevision for change developed by the actors within it.
  10. 10. Hooks:A set of incentives and justifications that motivatemarket actors to get involved in the PMSD process.
  11. 11. Interest Forums:Interest forums are groups of market actorsworking together around common interests tomake significant changes to the way the marketsystem works.The changes they focus on might be in the market chain, inthe structure of the supporting input and services or in theenabling environment.
  12. 12. Intervention:A defined package of temporary activities oractions through which facilitators seek to motivatechange in a market system.Usually in the form of a government or NGO led grant-basedproject or programme.Definition adapted from M4P Synthesis
  13. 13. Iterative Process:A process where a particular procedure is repeatedwith the aim of approaching a desired goal.Each repetition of the procedure is called an ‘iteration’ andthe results of one iteration are used as the starting point forthe next iteration.
  14. 14. Lead Firms:Strategic market actors who can help facilitators ofinclusive market development to bring aboutsustainable change for marginalised people.They are key influential actors, with a willingness to commitfinance, personnel or time towards creating positive changewithin the market system. A lead firm’s influence can havemany sources, including size, distribution networks orpolitical contacts; the key is their ability to drive change.
  15. 15. Leverage Point:A point within the system, whether a key actor,policy or relationship, where a relatively smallamount of effort can be applied to create asignificant change in the market system.
  16. 16. Marginalised Actors:Actors who form part of the system – play roles in itand derive an income from it – but who facedisadvantages due to their lack of bargainingpower, knowledge, political influence, social status,income, etc.
  17. 17. Market:Formal or informal structure in which buyersexchange goods, labour or services for cash orother goods.Defined by forces of supply and demand, rather thangeographical location.Definition taken from VSO’s Secure Livelihoods Position Paper
  18. 18. Market Actor:These are the people, organisations and groupswho play a role within a particular market system.This includes producers, processors and wholesalers, serviceproviders such as transporters or input suppliers, and thosewho create the policies and infrastructure that affect theenvironment in which the product is sold.
  19. 19. Market Chain:The channel through which a product moves,passing through each actor who has legal ownershipover the good or service, from primary producers tofinal consumers.The market chain therefore includes farmers, processors,traders, wholesalers and retailers. In a market map, theserepresent the middle section of the map.
  20. 20. Market Map:The framework that Practical Action uses tovisualise the relationships and linkages between allof the different actors within a market system.This includes the market chain actors, the service and inputproviders and the forces and infrastructures in the business(or enabling) environment.
  21. 21. Market Opportunity Group:Small groups of producers who represent muchlarger numbers of producers to explore new andbetter market opportunities both via the InterestForums and with key individual actors.MOGs also play a crucial role in reaching consensus with theirpeers around decisions made with other market actors, andmobilising them to take action on these.
  22. 22. Market System:The dynamic combination of people, relationships,functions and rules that determine how a particulargood or service is produced, accessed andexchanged.It can be thought of as comprising a network of marketactors, supported by various forms of infrastructure andservices, and interacting within the context of the institutionsor ‘rules’ that shape their business environment.
  23. 23. Opportunity (systemic):A moment in time or a combination of favourablecircumstances that create an opening or leveragepoint that market actors can use to achieve theirobjectives, and that would result in the marketsystem becoming more inclusive, efficient andproductive than before.
  24. 24. Para-vet:Animal-health workers who have had a basicdegree of training in animal welfare and healthissues, and who often act as the frontline serviceproviders in rural areas where access toprofessional veterinarians is difficult or slow.Common tasks include vaccinating livestock, curativetreatments and advice about agricultural techniques.
  25. 25. Participation:The engagement between different market actors(both public and private) to coordinate andcollaborate towards changing the market system.In complex systems such as markets, no single actor candetermine an outcome, and the decisions and behaviours ofall actors affect how changes will manifest. We therefore needto bring strategic players together to jointly assess the systemand implement strategies to improve it.
  26. 26. Participatory Market MappingWorkshops :Workshops designed to bring together key marketactors to contribute their perspectives and build abroader, more precise view of their market system.We have found that through this process of participatorymarket mapping, market actors build trust and relationshipsbetween them. In addition to building the understanding ofmarket actors by facilitating the sharing of knowledge, anotherobjective of the workshops is therefore to create the conditionsof trust that enable coordination and collaboration.
  27. 27. Participatory Market SystemDevelopment (PMSD):Practical Action’s approach to promote inclusivemarkets that reduce poverty on a large scale andprotect the environment.PMSD is based upon the principles of participation, facilitationand systems thinking. It creates appropriate conditions forpublic and private market actors to work together to improvemarkets that matter to the poor.
  28. 28. Risks (systemic):Possible circumstances and events that may exposethe market actors to dangerous situations or thatmay have negative consequences for theinclusiveness, efficiency or productivity of themarket system.
  29. 29. Steering Question:A question that guides participants towards aparticular response, outcome or objective, orattempts to get them to think about something in aparticular way.
  30. 30. Sustainability:The market capability to ensure that relevant,differentiated goods and services continue to beoffered to and consumed by the poor beyond theperiod of an intervention.Readers should be aware that this is a highly debated term. Itis increasingly common to understand sustainability in termsof learning capabilities, resilience and adaptability.Definition adapted from M4P Synthesis
  31. 31. Systemic Change:Change in the underlying causes of market systemperformance.Typically in the behaviour and relationships of market actors,formal and informal rules and supporting services – that canbring about more inclusive, efficient or productivefunctioning of the market system.Definition adapted from M4P Synthesis
  32. 32. Systems Thinking:The principle of addressing the entire marketsystem rather than just focussing on one part of it.We cannot understand how a system behaves by looking atthe individual people or parts; therefore in order to addressthe root causes of a problem rather than just the symptoms,we need to understand how the key actors are connectedand how their decisions influence one another.
  33. 33. Vision for change:This is the improved state of affairs thatstakeholders would like to get to and contributetowards.
  34. 34. ReferencesM4P Synthesis:’s Secure Livelihoods Position Paper:
  35. 35. If you think that any terms are missing from this glossary, please leave a comment below,and we’ll add them in as soon as possible!