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Farewell 2020...

It's probably an understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year for us all and it is increasingly clear that the social and economic fallout from the pandemic will be with us long after the virus has abated. From a ‘systems’ perspective, it has been a salutary reminder of how dependent we all are on the action (or inaction) of others. But, in the words of Albert Einstein “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. At Springfield, 2020 has given us all the chance to take a step back and reflect, and made us think differently about how we work. And we hope that 2021 will allow us all to move forward, build on this new thinking, and continue to innovate. 

Strengthening rural SME access to finance in Georgia

Springfield is joining forces with Swisscontact and Mercy Corps to deliver this exciting programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Compared to their urban counterparts, Georgia’s rural SMEs lack access to appropriate finance and the business support services critical to securing that finance. The programme seeks to unlock both finance and business support systems for rural SMEs and Springfield experts are taking a lead role in the inception phase and subsequent implementation backstopping.

Final independent evaluation of the ILO Lab, Phase II

How can we embed systemic change approaches in large organisations like International Labour Organization? How can we leverage their expertise to push the field of MSD to innovate and expand? It was great to work with the The ILO Lab to capture successes and lessons of applying a market systems approach to decent work, both with and beyond the ILO.

Read the full report

A systems lens on skills development

Springfield’s partnership with Swisscontact brings new opportunities for collaboration and value addition. Swisscontact is a world leader in skills development (vocational education and training and labour market insertion) and, through its Associate expert in MSD for skills (Mike Klassen), Springfield is supporting Swisscontact project teams to harvest learning and experience from across the globe as part of its internal process to develop a guide on a systemic approach to Skills Development to further enhance the high quality services Swisscontact provides its skills development partners.
 

Prime rib, Goodhart's Law, and MSD

Feel like you’re still chasing targets, even in a well – designed MSD programme? You’re not alone -read on to hear how prime rib specialists, snake catchers, and programme managers can mitigate the effects of Goodhart’s Law in their diverse areas of work.  

Read our latest blog post here

Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness

In November, Springfield were asked to provide inputs to the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme. CASA is a five year programme, started in 2019 and funded by FCDO. It seeks to change how investors, donors and governments view, and invest in, agribusinesses that work with smallholder supply chains. It does this by: demonstrating commercial viability of agribusinesses that work with smallholder supply chains and attracting more investment; deepening smallholder impact of existing investments; enabling poor smallholder farmers to engage with, and trade in, commercial markets; and researching and communicating the case for successful engagement with smallholder-linked agribusiness.

CASA is delivering interventions with partners in Malawi (aquaculture and poultry), Uganda (sesame and beans) and Nepal (dairy and vegetables). These interventions aim to improve smallholder commercialisation in these six value chains. Springfield are providing strategic investment facilitation services and guidance to CASA in each intervention area. We are working with intervention partners to facilitate their readiness to seek and use investments to improve and grow their businesses. 

In case you missed it... 

Here are a couple of recent posts from our blog. We've also given our website a bit of facelift, so head over and check it out.

A pragmatic approach to measuring system change

In recent years, growing recognition of the need for ‘systemic’ approaches in development programming has put pressure on implementers to measure ‘system changes.’ This is important – we need to capture system changes in order to make smart intervention decisions, as well as to be accountable for the impact of our work.

Our recent work – developed and funded by a cross-field collaboration and built on hard-won programme experience – presents an emerging consensus in our ‘Pragmatic Approach’ to assessing system change that programmes can apply themselves, supported by a ‘How-to’ guide with tips, templates and plentiful examples.

A “Confessional” On Promoting Sustainable & Inclusive Value Chains

A range of models have been trialled in the Grow Asia network to make value chains more inclusive and profitable for farmers and off-takers alike. While the case studies they produce provide in-depth insight into how their partners are doing this, they believe open dialogue is equally important to promote a robust exchange of practical learnings. With this in mind, Grow Asia and the Springfield Centre ran a round-table with a selection of our partners to exchange views on what does and does not work when promoting more sustainable and inclusive value chains in Southeast Asia.

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What have we been doing recently?

A snapshot of the work we have been involved in over the past few months.

And finally... 

The Springfield Training Team were incredibly disappointed not to make it to Bangkok this year. Engaging with and inspiring new groups of development folk is something we really relish and we're hopeful that we can get back to doing just that in 2021. So for those of you who also missed out this year, and for those alumni who would like to reminisce on two weeks well spent, here's a little something festive...

The Ten Days of Training
Best wishes,

The Springfield Team
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