Photo of Elise Wach, Evaluation and Learning Advisor with the Impact and Learning Team

Elise Wach - Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor

Business, Markets and the State; Participation; Rural Futures
T: +44 (0)1273 915678


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Elise Wach is a researcher and an evaluation and learning advisor within the Business, Markets and the State research cluster and the Participation research cluster.

A strong focus of Elise's work relates to understanding how market systems—conceptualised as the interrelationships between state, private sector and society-- can be transformed to facilitate more equitable and sustainable outcomes, particularly in relation to food, agriculture and nutrition. Her current research includes examining the role of farmers in transitions to agro-ecological food systems and the impact of seed systems on outcomes and agency (or 'sovereignty') for small-scale farmers. She recently co-edited a special edition of the IDS Bulletin on Business, State and Society which explores the changing roles, relationships and perspectives of these market actors more broadly.

Elise conducts and advises on participatory assessments of the multidimensional impacts of markets and market-based approaches, drawing on systems and complexity sciences. She has researched and provided support for numerous 'Making Markets Work for the Poor' (M4P) and Inclusive Business initiatives. Elise has also established a successful social enterprise in Guatemala which has been running for nearly ten years.

Importantly, her work includes an explicit focus on organisational and policy change processes, including the roles of evidence in decision making in policy and practice. As part of the Transform Nutrition programme, she conducted research across four countries about the roles and capacities of leaders in catalysing policy changes to address undernutrition. She is currently developing guidance for leadership development in collaboration with the African Nutrition Leadership Programme.

Elise has been working on issues related to sustainable development for the past 12 years, in both a practical and academic capacity. Prior to joining IDS she worked internationally for 8 years with grassroots organisations, international NGOs and a social enterprise. Her countries of work experience include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Ghana, Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Palestine, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

This project will examine potential pathways for transitioning to more sustainable food systems in order to contribute to improved ecological, economic, social and nutritional outcomes.

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The BEAM Exchange is a global knowledge exchange facility for market systems practitioners. It supports development programmes and private sector initiatives that fight poverty by working with businesses, governments and others to transform markets so they work better for poor people.

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The project aims to help reduce undernutrition by informing policy and providing tools to make food and agricultural systems more ‘nutrition-sensitive’.

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The Business Innovation Facility (BIF) aims to catalyse market systems change in order to benefit poor producers, consumers and employees

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The Triple-S Initiative aims to catalyse systemic change in rural water policies and practices, to move from an infrastructure-based approach towards service delivery approaches. IDS is providing ongoing external learning and methodology support to the initiative.

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This research will identify the key factors driving the effectivness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) at bringing sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers at scale and delivering positive development outcomes across rural communities.

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To what extent does private sector development work in Kenya contribute to a reduction in poverty and inequality? This review aims to assess the evidence base for DFID Kenya’s Wealth Creation Pillar programming.

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Inclusive business has been recognised as an opportunity to deliver development impacts through innovative approaches to business. IDS has been working on case studies of what this actually means in practice with the Business Innovation Facility (BIF).

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This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin Vol 46.3, 'Business, State and Society: Changing Perspectives, Roles and Approaches in Development'.

Business, State and Society: Changing Perspectives, Roles and Approaches

IDS Bulletin 46.3 (2015)

The debate on the role of business and markets in development has a long history, marked by divergent and strongly held perspectives, but also shifts in dominant thinking about what is feasible and desirable. While only two decades ago debates were about the state vs the market, there is currently broad consensus that both are essential. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 447, 'What are the Factors Enabling and Constraining Effective Leaders in Nutrition? A Four Country Study'.

What are the Factors Enabling and Constraining Effective Leaders in Nutrition? A Four Country Study

IDS Working Paper 447 (2014)

Leadership has been identified as a key factor in supporting action on nutrition in countries experiencing a high burden of childhood undernutrition. This study of individuals identified as influential within nutrition in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and India examines why individuals champion nutrition policy, of their countries. More details

This is the image for IDS Practice Paper In Brief 13, 'Learning about Qualitative Document Analysis'.

Learning about Qualitative Document Analysis

IDS Practice Paper In Brief 13 (2013)

This paper outlines and reflects on the process of undertaking a Qualitative Document Analysis (QDA) on policy and ‘practice’ documents in the rural water sector. More details

This is the image for IDS in Focus Policy Briefing 11, 'Learning about Champions – Individuals Catalysing Social Change'.

Learning about Champions – Individuals Catalysing Social Change

IDS Practice Paper In Brief 11 (2013)

As part of the Transform Nutrition consortium, we are undertaking research to (a) identify individuals who have been or could be influential in contributing to policy changes that can effectively reduce undernutrition, and (b) explore the attributes and characteristics of these individuals. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Politics of Reducing Malnutrition: Building Commitment and Accelerating Progress

The Lancet 382.9891 (2013)

In the past 5 years, political discourse about the challenge of undernutrition has increased substantially at national and international levels and has led to stated commitments from many national governments, international organisations, and donors. More details

Related Programmes and Centres:
Business and Development Centre.