Applying research and learning to assess and strengthen market system resilience globally

What is market system resilience?

Market system resilience (MSR) is the ability of a market system to respond to shocks and stresses in a proactive fashion to sustain inclusive market functions that serve vulnerable producers, business owners, workers, and consumers.

A market system is a dynamic space in which private and public actors collaborate, coordinate, and compete for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Participatory research & learning approach

RTI International conducts applied research and learning on market system resilience in developing countries to design and implement evidence based MSR programming that

  1. Adapts to local contexts
  2. Responds to emergent shocks and stresses, and
  3. Strengthens resilience at the system, regional, community and household levels.

We apply USAID’s MSR Framework by developing resilience theories of changes, designing and conducting studies and evaluations, and facilitating learning and adaptive management workshops to strengthen results of market systems development programs.

The system resilience approach can be applied to many types of systems, ranging from agricultural, environmental, water, energy, and health. Potential application of RTI’s MSR approach include:

  • Implement market system resilience approach at baseline and end-line to evaluate project contributions to change over time in qualitative and quantitative indicators across eight domains
  • Implement full approach once to strengthen/realign programming
  • Use the resilience theory of change activity to prioritize indicators and measure outcomes through the project’s M&E activities

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A Somali man walks with a herd of cattle.

Applying MSR programs in Somalia

USAID Somalia Growth, Enterprise, Employment, and Livelihoods (GEEL) (2015–2021)

With internal funding, RTI designed a facilitated locally led process to adapt the MSR framework to the context of South West State in Somalia, working with GEEL staff and local consultants. We developed a set of resilience-focused theories of change and measured quantitative and qualitative indicators of resilience in the livestock and grain markets, using a participatory scoring approach. Results contributed to program adaptations to strengthen GEEL’s resilience interventions and approaches.

Learn More about Applying MSR programs in Somalia

A Kenyan farmer carries a toddler through a green field with cattle.

Applying MSR programs in Kenya

Feed the Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KDCMS) (2017–2022)

RTI applied the MSR framework to identify critical systemic vulnerabilities and corresponding opportunities to strengthen market system resilience within the dairy and mango value chains in Kenya supported by KCDMS activities. Through a complementary MSR evaluation, RTI assessed contribution of changes in market system resilience to KCDMS interventions, and links between the theory of change outcomes and improvements in systems-level change.

Learn More about Applying MSR programs in Kenya

Applying MSR programs in Ethiopia

USAID Poverty Reduced Sustainability in an Environment of Resilient and Vibrant Economy (PReSERVE), implemented by Food for the Hungry (2021–2026)

Laying the groundwork for MSR intervention design, RTI is conducting market system assessments and a household resilience baseline study to inform and refine the PReSERVE program’s theory of change. RTI will assess linkages between MSR outcomes and household resilience capacities over the life of the project.

Learn More about Applying MSR programs in Ethiopia