Adam Kessler

Why is it difficult for market systems programmes to create jobs?

Market systems programmes have been remarkably successful. Even allowing for a healthy scepticism about their reported results, the best-know programmes have supported hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of farmers to increase their income. But few market systems programmes have created significant numbers of jobs. The above programmes do report numbers of jobs created – but the results are miniscule. By the end of 2017, for example, Market Development Facility had raised incomes of 44,150 households; but created under a thousand…

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What have we learned from eight impact assessments in market systems development?

For many programmes, running an impact assessment is like going to the doctor for an embarrassing medical condition. A patient with such a condition may prefer not to think about the issue until the last moment. Eventually the pain is too much to ignore, so the patient looks for the cheapest and quickest solution available. They get a cursory inspection from the doctor, try to ignore any bad news that comes out of it, and make sure that nobody ever…

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What does adaptive management have to do with Mario Kart?

I’ve started recording videos for our upcoming training course on how to measure results for adaptively managed programmes. While I absolutely hate the sound of my own voice – all the more so now I’ve listened to it non-stop for two hours – I’m reasonably satisfied with this simple explanation of why we need adaptive management in the first place. If you have any comments or feedback, please let me know! And if you’re interested in signing up, we still…

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Three reasons why programmes don’t manage adaptively

A version of this blog was originally written for a proposal, which due to a catastrophic email failure never made it to the intended recipient’s mailbox. In the spirit of adaptive management, therefore, it has been reused for a completely different purpose… The puzzle of adaptive management is that it is so intuitively useful, yet so infrequently implemented. Take USAID’s definition of adaptive management: “an intentional approach to making decisions and adjustments in response to new information and changes in…

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Looking for Junior Consultant

We are seeking to find a junior consultant who can help us grow our business. This is a short-term, part-time role where we expect the consultant to focus on proposal writing. In the long run, there may be an opportunity to be recruited as a full-time employee or as a consultant on specific projects. The terms of reference can be downloaded here. Please get in touch if you’re interested, or pass it round your networks.

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How to do stratified random sampling in Microsoft Excel

I just googled the above question, and found nothing but a sea of confusion, proprietry software and (to me) incomprehensible macros. A bit more thinking and research came up with a fairly simple answer, so I wanted to document it here for any other lost excel-loving M&E professional. I assume a knowledge of all the functions I mention below – if you don’t understand them google or email me and I’ll explain. You can also download an annotated excel example…

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Why do we struggle to measure formal job creation?

Job creation is often seen as a major measurement challenge. There are many suggested reasons for this. Some people complain that jobs are hard to define. Others worry that they’re hard to measure. But the real reason why measurement is challenging is simple; most development programmes don’t create jobs, and it’s very hard to measure what isn’t there.  The reason is that most private sector development programmes bring about incremental change. A successful programme might increase productivity by 25% or…

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The DCED Standard for Results Measurement: Four Lessons from an Audit of Enterprise Partners

This blog was first published on the Enterprise Partners website. I love working as a Monitoring and Results Measurement (MRM) specialist. Firstly, because it’s intellectually stimulating and you really contribute to the effectiveness of the project. Secondly – and this is a secret among MRM managers – because you can criticise other people’s work, while few people are in a position to criticise you. When a project manager comes to you with a new project proposal, you can dismiss it…

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Quarterly Sector Reviews: putting adaptive management into practice

This blog was originally published on the Beam Exchange here. Adaptive management has increasingly become an area of interest for development practitioners. This has led to a strong demand for simple processes and tools to foster continual learning and evidence-based decision making. As market systems programmes work in a rapidly changing environment, organisations need to set up systems which allows decisions to be made in real time. Enterprise Partners (EP) is a DFID funded project based in Ethiopia (duration: 2013…

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