Unleashing the economic potential of the poor

In this thematic area we work on consolidating our past experiences in Local Economic Development and Value Chain Development that is particularly aimed at people who are poor. Inclusive economic development efforts show many similarities to economic development in a non-poor context, but then again they are also distinctively different. Not only a thorough understanding of economic concepts and market mechanisms is required, but also insights into poverty concepts and into the do's and don'ts of development work below the poverty line. This includes a sound distinction between target groups and ultimate beneficiaries of inclusive interventions. This also includes the recognition of different motivations of growth-oriented entrepreneurs versus survivalist entrepreneurs (versus waged employees as a third category). This again implies that different types of development measures would work (or not work) when supporting the three categories of actors above in generating income and improving their economic conditions.

Over the last number of years Christian Schoen has led Mesopartner's research and development activities in this area. Instruments such as PACA were modified for application in a pro-poor context, and organizations such as GIZ and World Vision contracted Mesopartner to develop specific instruments, training modules and new methods for this area, such as Participatory Appraisal of Pro-Poor Income Potentials (pro-poor PACA) commissioned by GIZ or Rapid Appraisal of Income Generating Opportunities (RAIGO) commissioned by World Vision.

Mesopartner also actively participates in the Market Facilitation Initiative (a working group of the SEEP Network with the technical support of Practical Action) and contributed to the development of the "MaFIFesto"which advocates for changes in the rules of the international development “game” in collaboration with donors and academics to make market development initiatives more facilitation-friendly.

Gradually this page will be populated with more relevant content. In the meantime, if this is an area that is of interest to you or your organization, then please have a look at the various documents offered on the right side of this page and/or get in touch with Christian Schoen at