Good Practice

Micro and small enterprise development for pro-poor growth in Sri Lanka (ENTER-GROWTH) - Final Evaluation

Project documentation | 24 October 2017
Contact(s): CO-Colombo
Good Practice Description

The "light touch" catalytic approach which enabled the project to facilitate rather than intervenes, has significantly contributed to the effectiveness of the project particularly in helping stakeholders identify appropriate activities, building local ownership and commitment, ultimately leading to sustainable impact. It's worth acknowledging that the presence of Government or other donor funded projects in the four Districts, has enabled partners to implement initiatives that originated through the Enter-Growth project. Having said this, it is clear that stakeholders took a considerable amount of time to understand and appreciate Enter-Growth's "light touch" approach, partly because of a very different precedent set by other more interventionist projects.

MSE (Micro and Small Enterprise) Forums are a key and unifying success of the project, and are proven effective mechanisms for improving dialogue (and relationships) between private, public and NGO stakeholders. The key factors behind their success include the light touch approach of the project and high levels of local ownership and commitment; the seniority of many of the members, which, combined with the Forums' ability to resolve issues, has added to their credibility to the Forums. Particularly crucial to the impact and sustainability of these Forums, is that they are not just useful for the project, but are perceived as valuable by the stakeholders beyond the requirements of the project. This is a key difference between these MSE Forums and other similar bodies established by development projects, which often serve the purposes of the project only. As a result it's important to recognize that while successful in this project MSE Forums may not work so effectively in different circumstances. Ways should also be explored to enhance the institutionalization of the Forum whilst keeping its open and dynamic character.

The project moved from a focus on LOCA (Local Competitive Advantage), which helped identify "quick win" solutions as well as priority value chains, to a more comprehensive value chain approach, first at the local level and then also at the regional level. The value chain approach enabled a more market orientation and prioritisation of what the project calls "proposals". It also enabled better involvement of all relevant stakeholders such as larger companies. Stakeholders were very much involved in this evolution and have therefore been able to directly learn which approaches work best for them. The downside is the amount of time these analytical approaches took, which caused some frustration amongst the Facilitators.