The Market Selection tool will help you to understand how different markets may contribute to the goals of your selected impact group, and guide you towards short listing the 1-3 most appropriate markets for further analysis.

Use the market selection tool after identifying you impact group and their respective goals (using the Impact Group Classification tool or other means), and before more detailed market mapping.

All steps are relevant to Humanitarian and Development programmes. Depth of analysis, however, may vary according to the context:

• Programmes planned in areas often affected by shocks should pay considerable attention when selecting assessment criteria in Step 3 and 4 and should consider using supplementary guidance such as the section on post-shock considerations in the Market Mapping guidance document.
• Only a very light implementation of Step 6 is suggested in contexts where development programmes are not likely to follow humanitarian programmes.

Average time investment for using this tool

At least 1-2 days for humanitarian interventions, and 3-5 days for longer term development interventions.

Who leads

Project manager

Who needs to be involved

Project staff, programme managers and partners; market representatives/ actors that have an overview of market systems; local and international NGOs, government actors and civil society groups working in the intervention area should also be consulted during this step, to obtain their views on capacities and vulnerabilities of the population of interest.
In the case of understanding labour markets key informants and representatives of the type of labour identified should be involved. Consider representatives from associations/unions and training institutions.

Activity 1: Preparing the market long list

Select up to 10 market options based on your research, and consider post-shock situations.

Step 1: Data on your impact groups and goals

Before starting Market Selection, you should have completed the impact group classification exercise, and identified the immediate goals of your selected impact group. Please see the Impact Group Classification guidance document for advice on how to collect this information. Review your impact group goals, and keep these front and centre of subsequent planning. In a post-shock context: to what extent are markets going to be relied on in the planned responses? Keep in mind that all interventions (cash and or in-kind) rely on markets to a certain extent.

Step 2: Begin adding information on potential markets

At this stage you would have also compiled a list of potential markets to consider in a more formal review. As a guide, you should start from a long list of around 6-10 potential markets. Bring in additional stakeholders to input on what markets they believe might be important to focus on too. Considering markets that might not at first seem obvious might bring up some interesting conclusions. Consider both markets that poor people already engage within, and ones that they don’t currently seem visible in too. In a post-shock context: is there scope to link a humanitarian market-based response to an existing/potentially future longer-term market development response? If so, for what market systems?

Step 3: Review the literature

Identify from your long-list, which market systems require more in-depth analysis, and which market systems you already have data for. The following activities require a reasonable amount of information that may or may not already have been collected. Consider data collected from previous assessments, other GEM+ tools, reports and information available as secondary data from a number of sources including relevant government ministries, research bodies (such as universities and FEWSNET)1 , and private sector entities engaged in the markets of interest. You may also need to conduct your own research, or collaborate with other agencies to share resources and local knowledge. Coordination platforms can be useful in accessing such information.

Activity 2: Assessment criteria

Use 7 criteria to help you do further analysis and start to drill down your long-list.

Step 1: Define criteria depending on goals

The criteria you decide to apply to each of the markets will depend on the goals of your target impact group. However as a minimum, we expect all programmes to identify market systems that provide opportunities for women, don’t increase risk and have economic potential. Seven common identified criteria are (see step 2 for full details): 1. Market economic potential 2. Risk reduction and resilience 3. Labour opportunities 4. Food security 5. Farm systems and environmental impact 6. Women’s economic empowerment and gender 7. Capacity to respond to increased demand in a post-shock context The list provided is not exhaustive, additional criteria and questions, and data collection methods can be developed. The criteria do overlap, but this is deliberate so that key issues can be included irrespective of the criteria chosen. For instance: o If the programme focus is working with chronically poor groups, more emphasis will be given to food security, labour and risk issues. o If the programme focus is working with market ready farming women more attention can be given to women’s economic empowerment, farm systems and market potential. o In a context that faces recurrent shocks, a combination of criteria may be used but greater attention to risk reduction should be given to ensure long-term livelihoods selected are not vulnerable to repeated shocks. Consider referring to analysis tools that can provide a greater insight into the impact of re-current shocks on markets (as a way to identify mitigation and resilience activities). Guidance in the post-shock considerations section of the Market Mapping Guidance can be applied. o In a post-shock context, criteria may focus on the potential for quick economic recovery (i.e.: short term economic potential) and protection of food security but also, opportunities that provide long term economic potential that are resistant to shocks.

Step 2: Determine your research plan/data collection

Once you have decided on your criteria, determine how you will collect information needed. See Activity 1: Step 3 for guidance on how to collect this in your context, and see below for detailed questions and analysis suggested for each criteria. Create a research plan, research methodology, and means of sharing findings following research at this point.

Activity 3: Short-listing markets

With your team assess the best options based on your research, together with the opportunities for wider market system change.

Step 1: Discuss each market

Once you have collected your data from Activity 2, with your team, and other stakeholders, discuss what this means for each of your chosen markets. This is best done collectively because data can be interpreted in different ways and it will be interesting to bring different perspectives together. This is an iterative process, and benefits from frequent questioning at a group level to enable discussion and debate. If there is insufficient confidence in the gathered data, a re-design of research plan to fill in data gaps and new discussions is required. For each market undertake the following steps: 1. Go through each of the criteria you have identified one by one and the rationale for deciding on those criteria. 2. Review the evidence that has been collated and discuss how well the market has responded to the criteria. The discussions held need to bring all of this analysis together to draw a conclusion on how this market compares to other markets. For example ask: ‘From the evidence gathered does the market for maize provide a significant opportunity for the economic empowerment of women?’ This may be the function of several different factors (e.g. do women have the land required? Are they able to capture value in the maize market? Do they access to the necessary inputs etc? Do they have the time required?)

Step 2: Score each market

Based on the conclusions, give each criterion a score. Use a simple chart and score each criteria from between 1-10 from the lowest to the highest (see below). Separate scores for different socio economic groups (see below) may be necessary, if this is relevant to the Goals. This can be enlightening and can reveal how different markets will affect socio economic groups differently. The tables below provide examples. In this example each market has been assessed against four criteria and two socio economic groups have been considered (additional socio economic groups and criteria is possible).

Step 3: Practical considerations

A high score does not necessarily mean the market is the best for your intervention. Bringing in other organisations, partners, beneficiaries and other stakeholders, discuss the additional features of the markets that have scored highly, and the practicality of engaging with them. For instance: Markets that may have multiplier benefits. For instance in some places a crop like sorghum may also provide an important input into another sector such as fodder for livestock. So developing one market may address a constraint in another.  Markets that may provide the programme with opportunities to achieve multiple goals (e.g. that combine food security with income or that are suitable for different socio economic groups etc.).  Oxfam and partner’s expertise and capacity and how that fits in with different markets.

Step 4: Assess the potential for systemic change

You now have an idea of which markets will be useful for your intended goals. However, the information collected thus far in this assessment process will not inform us of the potential of each market to change systemically and, as this is a long-term intention of GEM projects, it important to assess this potential when short-listing markets. Note that markets will differ in their ability to change. Consider the difference between a market in which there are multiple companies to engage with, progressive social enterprises, a functional enabling environment etc.; and compare this to a market in which there are aggressive monopolies, political interference, dysfunctional value chains etc. Even if the latter has large demand, it may provide too difficult an operating environment for a transformational change process. It is not suggested that markets that have constraints to systemic change are to be avoided. GEM aims to facilitate change and that means addressing such constraints. However, changing the nature of markets is difficult, so identifying possible opportunities is key. Practically, this means selecting markets in which there is a meaningful chance of significant systemic change taking place. Preliminary, quick market mapping (using Step 1 of the Market Mapping guidance document) at this stage is designed to help identify major problems or opportunities that may exist. It is better to identify these at this point so that they influence your decision on market selection. This process tries to mitigate a situation where a major problem that threatens goals is identified only after resources have been invested into a programme. In a small group produce a preliminary market map for each short listed commodity. Include people who know something about the product. Invite key stakeholders or informants such as partners or private sector representatives based on their knowledge of the markets. When undertaking the market mapping process look out for factors that may encourage or discourage significant change. The tables below provide a list of positive and negative factors that may be useful. Add other factors of influence.

Welcome to
The GEM+ Toolkit

Work with these different tools to design, implement and evaluate your GEM+ project.