Theme
Rural Development

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"In 2018, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), launched the Gender Lens Impact Measurement (GLIM) Fund to enhance the awareness, rigor, and quality of impact measurement for organizations supporting entrepreneurs with a gender lens approach. Each grant from the fund went to a partnership between small and growing business (SGB) support organizations in Latin America and researchers to use measurement for driving improved gender-inclusive strategies. This synthesis report summarises the tools and lessons from these grants on using measurement to increase gender inclusion for SGB support organizations."

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"El estudio identifica las barreras al financiamiento de paisajes sustentables a través de los pequeños productores en México, en específico en la Selva Maya, Yucatán; la Selva Lacandona, Chiapas, y Mascota, Jalisco. Además propone recomendaciones para superar estas barreras.

Incluye tres objetivos secundarios:
(i) entender los instrumentos e iniciativas financieras que existen y que estén enfocados a prácticas productivas sostenibles;
(ii) identifica las barreras al financiamiento para prácticas productivas sostenibles que enfrentan los pequeños productores, y
(iii) desarrolla recomendaciones para superar estas barreras."

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"Villgro is a business incubator with a unique rural orientation. It concerns itself not only with the launch of new businesses but more generally with the transfer of new products, knowledge and services into rural space. Faced with the challenge of finding technologies that match rural requirements, Villgro has linked marketable product/service concepts from diverse sources with entrepreneurs who have start-up experience—so-called serial entrepreneurs. Other incubators may have difficulty imitating Villgro’s business model. The conditions for its development are unique, its management approaches are relatively untested and the values of its management team are deeply intertwined with perceptions of how the rural business system operates in India. However, other startup incubators can learn from Villgro the importance of getting management basics right before attempting to transform an entire agricultural sector. Good governance, transparency, accountability, building teams around highly capable employees and continuously enhancing their management skills are important no matter the strategic orientation of the emerging incubator."

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"Risk is an inherent feature of agriculture around the globe. The ever-present uncertainties in weather, yields, prices, government policies, global markets, and other factors can cause high volatility in farm income. In developing countries, smallholder farmers (and other small enterprises within the value chain) often do not have access to risk management products such as insurance to protect themselves from shock. Key barriers to the development of insurance markets in developing countries include: lack of awareness and understanding about insurance among households, high overhead costs associated with data collection and claims processing, and the limited availability of insurance products that meet the needs of poor and low-income farmers.

The use of digital tools in agricultural insurance has the potential to facilitate client uptake, reduce transaction costs, improve efficiency of the insurance process, and increase household resilience to respond to external shocks while ensuring stability, growth, and sustainability of agricultural value chains. Technology has its shortcomings, and the use of digital tools alone will not be sufficient to increase access to affordable, quality agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers. However, when strategically and thoughtfully inserted into existing Feed the Future programs, technology has the potential to accelerate and amplify USAID investments in sustainable agriculture and food security."

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"Timbali Technology Incubator in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa seeks to help rural farmers whose livelihood has been undercut by high-volume large farms. Supported by government financing and fee-based services, Timbali is largely based on a franchise model. Its clients supply cut flowers to Amablom,Timbali’s commercial arm. Individual clients can begin generating revenue almost immediately. Timbali helps clients both onsite and off, training them in business methods and helping them find loans to get started. It is helping clients expand intoother product lines and value-added food processing, and plans to export its model into other parts of South Africa."

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"This paper presents an aligned yet customizable framework of indicators for measuring farm-level sustainability in smallholder agricultural supply chains. These indicators are proposed primarily in the context of performance measurement, but can also be useful for more in-depth impact evaluation studies. The proposal is not for one single common set of indicators, but rather for using the same indicators when asking the same types of questions at the farm and household level. The authors argue that using the same indicators when asking the same questions in smallholder supply chains will increase comparability across data collection efforts and ensure that the community is building on the common understanding of how to gather credible, affordable, and useful data that facilitates learning."

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"The Government of Nicaragua and the US foreign assistance agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, launched a rural business services program designed to boost the income of the small farm sector. Relying on a randomized rollout strategy, this paper reports the results of a multi-year impact evaluation that spanned the 5-year life of the program. We argue that impacts of a program of this sort are unlikely to be fully revealed by standard binary treatment estimators and show that temporal pattern of impact indeed evolves in important ways over time. Income in the activities targeted by the program steadily rose, plateauing at a 30% increase over baseline after two years in the program. The program also appears to have provoked signicant increases in both mobile and perhaps xed farm capital. However, on average there have been no signicant impacts on household living standards to date. Finally, conditional quantile regressions give evidence of quite substantial heterogeneity in program impact."

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"In this Shell Foundation report, we share the findings from our work with leading social enterprises to build sustainable rural value chains in the off-grid energy sector over the last two decades. This report focuses on the question: can we improve the economics of social enterprises serving last mile customers to the point where they can secure sufficient investment to serve billions, not millions, of people who live on $2 to $10 a day?"

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"This report from the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development outlines a new tool for policymakers to encourage private-sector development in developing nations. Specifically, it argues that in fragile states there is an intermediation gap between sources of capital and entrepreneurs seeking investment. This gap prevents investment by raising transaction costs and exacerbating information asymmetry. Cusack and Tilleard present a case study of this gap as observed in their work in South Sudan. Then they propose a model of investment facilitation that bridges the intermediation gap. The model is based on donor funding of a neutral nongovernment facilitator to identify attractive investment opportunities, link them to capital, and facilitate transactions."

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"Root Capital is excited to release our first multi-site impact study - Improving Rural Livelihoods: A Study of Four Guatemalan Coffee Cooperatives. As a complement to our ongoing social and environmental due diligence, this comprehensive study provides a more detailed picture of the impacts that our client enterprises have on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the environment. We also sought to answer the question: Does Root Capital's financing and training enable our clients to increase their impacts, and if so, how and to what extent?"

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