Market Based Solutions for the Extreme Poor

Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people?

To address this question, and contribute to thinking on how to ensure that the ‘leave no-one behind’ ambition of the newly agreed  Sustainable Development Goals is met, this Rockefeller funded project will examine market-based solutions that can work for those who face marginalisation due to multiple factors such as caste, disability, ethnicity, gender, HIV-status, etc – with a particular focus on persons with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities – who are often some of the poorest and most excluded of all.

The project comprises three key pieces of research and engagement work:

  1. Participatory research with disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations. Working with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in Uganda to identify both barriers to, and promising possibilities for, market-based approaches to reach people with disabilities, especially women with disabilities who are one of the most marginalised groups. According to some reports only 0.2% of people with disabilities in Uganda are employed in the formal sector and, based on recent ILO findings, it is likely that only a small minority of these will be women.
  2. Documenting promising examples of market systems innovation from across the world and using this ‘global scan’ combined with the more in-depth work in Uganda to draw conclusions to underpin the targeting of funding and interventions for other poor and excluded groups globally.
  3. Convening a Bellagio conference later in 2016 which will bring together practitioners from business and development working in the field, donors and policymakers, along with those involved in the research. Together they will discuss learning from the project and produce recommendations for how similar approaches could be developed in ways which are relevant to poverty eradication more widely.

Project details

start date
17 October 2015
end date
31 December 2016


Supported by
Rockefeller Foundation

About this project

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre


Recent work

Past Event

Webinar: Can Market-Based Approaches Include the Most Marginalised?

This webinar will explore these questions through the concrete experiences and lessons learnt from working with highly marginalised groups through markets. It will draw on 22 market-based examples that have been building confidence, creating more profitable, predictable and diverse income...

1 March 2017