Bending the rules

How to use a systemic approach to improve the rules of the game

Short description:

Using a systemic approach means working on an entire ecosystem. In theory, that means that a market systems development project should work with key businesses operating directly in a particular sector, businesses that support that sector (like financial services) and of course, on the rules and regulations which govern how businesses operate and set the conditions that workers are subjected to. Despite the opportunities that improving the rules of the game can bring both workers and businesses – such as substantial outreach, sustainability, and more transformative change – most market systems projects focus their time and resources on private driven initiatives. It seems that work on the rules of the regulations is perceived to be too difficult and uncertain.

However, several market systems projects have dipped their toes in policy work and have had considerable successes which have brought meaningful changes to both workers and businesses alike. This brief synthesises some of these experiences to help projects understand why it is essential to work on rules and regulations and how to productively do it. It provides recommended pathways and can be used as a key reference for market systems or private sector development project looking to work more effectively in the policy realm.”

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