How do I decide when should I implement a market assessment?
This is a question that I've been asked in the field so I wanted to share it with everyone on KnowledgePoint
Although the terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, there is a different between market assessment and market analysis:
• Market assessment is the process of collecting market-related data to understand the key features and characteristics of a market system, or the impact a disaster could have on the market system.
• Market analysis refers to the process of understanding the key features and characteristics of a market system based on the data collected during the assessment.
Together, they represent an integral part of programme design for any response delivered, through either cash transfers or in-kind. Unless humanitarian responses are designed with a good understanding of key market systems, there is a risk that they may damage livelihoods, jobs, and businesses and undermine livelihood rehabilitation, which can in turn prolong the community’s dependence on outside assistance. Responses should ‘do no harm’ to consumers and markets by being market aware, and should ideally make use of local market systems when and where they are functional. To do so, market analysis should be captured in any project design, not just potential cash transfer programmes. What will vary from one project to another is the depth of the analysis as a light touch analysis and therefore a rapid assessment may suffice.
The inclusion of market analysis after a market assessment presents a great opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian responses. Market analysis should allow for a better understanding of how people use and access markets, and ultimately a better understanding of how they meet their basic needs. This linkage is critical; in an emergency setting the collection and use of market data should not be disconnected from crisis affected communities. Neither should the analysis ignore the capacities, needs and constraints faced by the various inter-dependent market actors involved in the lives and livelihoods of the affected households. Market actors are not singular entities acting in isolation, but rather they are part of a wider system of governing bodies, formal and informal structures, gender and cultural norms, rules, and policies that also require some understanding. The main users of market assessment and analysis are country office teams. The information and analysis can be utilised to inform programme decisions related to the relevance of supporting the local market before or after a crisis, and modality choice. Market information can also be used for the following purposes, which can have direct or indirect impacts on decisions related to changes in programming:
• Pre-crisis: improve agency preparedness and support contingency planning exercises.
• Pre-crisis: trigger early action by providing refined market related monitoring and early warning indicators that can be followed and integrated into an Early Warning System.
• Pre-crisis: mitigate the impact of a predicted crisis and help build resilience by identifying which area(s) of the market may be affected, how it will be affected and by strengthening it prior to the crisis. This ... (more)
This is an excellent answer for a large multilateral funded program. My experience lies on the ground in the field.
If you have financing you only need to feel comfortable that the local community is financially able to pay for O&M. However I respectfully believe that too much precious money is used for the types of assessments described. Unless you are interested in peer- reviewed publications OR in an urban area, don't waste your money. Potable water and sanitation will per se improve rural economy. Here are some self serving references😎:
Sauer, M. S Smith and B Clemens 2012 “Does it pay to invest in potable water in the developing world: Relationships between external financing and economic development in sustainable community-run integrated projects” Journal of International Development Article: first published online: 27 SEP: DOI: 10.1002/jid.2880
Clemens, B. and Tom Douglas 2012. “To what degree can potable water foster international economic development? What role does health play? Organization Management Journal. 9(2): 83-89. DOI:10.1080/15416518.2012.687988
Hajny, K. and B. Clemens. 2015. “Water and wealth: A Guatemalan case study, Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research. 16(2): 119-136
Chipman, C., V. Strait and B Clemens, 2014 “Who Cares About the Community? Agua del Pueblo as a case study for water-related non-profit work”: American Journal of Social Issues and Humanities 4(6): 319-334.
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