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Market Interest Groups

PMSD Toolkit

In a nutshell: Market Interest Groups (MIGs) are groups of market actors who come together to collaborate on a similar vision of change for the market system.

Status: Optional tool

Key principles: MIGs are an important strategy to facilitate the participation of market actors, including marginalised groups such as women and youth (gender), and are designed to bring about change to the market system. Their success depends to a large extent on good facilitation – the priorities they address should be based on an understanding of the market systems (systems thinking).

Pre-conditions and preparation: The establishment of MIGs is a natural conclusion of a Participatory Market Mapping process.

Timeframe and resources: Supporting the establishment and running of a MIG is a significant commitment. It is a major intervention in its own right, likely to run for a minimum of 6 months.

Example from the field: Creating MIGs out of a participatory market mapping process

The Transforming Rural Economies and Youth Livelihoods (TREYL) project in Kenya brought together about 30 businesses, Government Departments, research organisations and NGOs with an interest in the poultry sector in the Lake Victoria area. During a two day workshop, these actors carried out a market mapping exercise culminating in the identification of the main constraints currently affecting the sector. Participants were then asked to consider which of these constraints they would be prepared to commit time and effort into addressing. A simple voting then took place to see which issues the market actors were most interested in addressing. This revealed that there was energy and desire to tackle issues related to access to finance, market information and access to knowledge and skills. MIGs were set up for each of these issues, with the members deciding on a chairperson and mechanisms for meeting. Practical Action supported the development of a work-plan for each MIG and helped the MIG reflect on the effectiveness of their actions and consider adaptations that need to be made to support systemic change.

The creation of MIGs are one of the potential outcomes of a participatory market mapping forum. A MIG is a collection of market actors who have a similar vision of change and who are willing to collaborate in their efforts to bring about this change. The changes they focus on might be in the market chain, in the structure of the supporting input and services market or in the enabling environment. The important point here is that the changes achieved by these forums benefit not just the members of the forum, but also participants of the market system more widely. Market actors working together in this way can provide a powerful and unique strategy for systemic change and by creating trust and mutual understanding between actors, can create conditions that help the adaptability and resilience of the market system in the future.

Alongside tackling critical or structural issues in market systems, MIGs are also a space where market actors can interact and build trust in each other. Informal side meetings and networking often take place when market actors come together, out of which new business arrangements between individual members are often agreed. This itself, can be a source of motivation to participate.

In some cases, there may already be a formalised grouping of market actors that you can work with. In other contexts, it may be necessary to create a new group. In either case, it is important that the interest forum makes sense and it is relevant to the members. They are the ones who will have to own it and drive it in the future.

Our full guidance on MIGs provides advice on how to set up and run a MIG, covering a number of key issues:

  • Starting a MIG;
  • Supporting the inter-dependence of members;
  • Ensuring the MIG is well managed;
  • Strengthening the role and participation of marginalised groups;
  • Ensuring there is effective communication;
  • Helping the MIG prioritise;
  • Helping the MIG reflect and plan.