Data collection and analysis on local economic and labour markets

A TREE programme is intended to improve the economic situation of women and men in a particular place. There are two main options:
  • Wage employment
  • Income-generating activity through self-employment and micro-enterprise development.
Initial analysis of labour market options will include assessment of potential for formal employment in conditions of decent work. This might include work opportunities in nearby towns or in industrial developments nearby. It is important to consider who may be seen as eligible or ineligible for these opportunities, for example due to any bias for against employing people of different genders, or from different social identifies. If there are significant opportunities for such employment and there is unmet labour force demand due to local skills gaps, a TREE program development may proceed to step 4, Training Needs Assessment. Other elements of TREE, such as post-training support, will also be needed.

If there are no significant wage employment opportunities, TREE development will begin with assessing the local area for potential economic opportunities in terms of existing markets where there is scope for expansion and/or unmet consumer demand. There may already be work done in this area or there may be local expertise in carrying out such assessments. Research should consider social, cultural, and geographic opportunities and limitations as well as economic ones and consider a range of potential economic sectors. Any tools or approaches used should be adapted to the local context.

TREE has developed three surveys to collect information on economic opportunities.
  1. The Community Profile. This survey maps the local economy and identifies resources that are available to expand existing businesses or create new businesses. It collects information on the social and economic roles of women and men in the community, the local infrastructure and services, local raw materials, and current products. The profile is developed through meetings and discussions with local organizations (particularly the advisory committee) and stakeholders. Ensuring that excluded or marginalized groups and individuals participate fully is critical: make sure that women, persons with disabilities and others are able to fully contribute to both data gathering and discussion of the results. Understanding any latent or actual conflicts is also important, as these may be either reduced or exacerbated by the elements of the program design such as economic value chain or beneficiary selection.
  2. Consumer Demand Survey. The purpose of this survey is to find out from consumers which goods and services are in short or infrequent supply or aren’t of acceptable quality. Consumers may include those both at the local and wider levels: even national or international if there is an actual or potential broader market for local products.
  3. Market Opportunity Survey. This study follows on from the consumer demand survey and seeks to understand why desired products or services are not available. The people and organizations surveyed would include local artisans, producers, employers, traders, businesses, business associations, cooperatives, and other stakeholders. Ensuring that women, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups are included in this is important. Findings from this survey identify whether there is potential to expand current local production of goods or services, develop new products, and related employment and business opportunities.
The studies in this section and the feasibility study that follows may be carried out by members of the TREE team or local experts or commissioned. A few potential elements for Terms of Reference for those carrying out the studies are included in Doc 3.5 Terms of Reference for carrying out survey and feasibility studies

Other sources of information on potential economic and labour market opportunities include research and analyses by government ministries, planning bodies, research institutions, national and international NGOs, and development agencies. These may include sectoral studies and value chain analyses. All of these provide potential input to the assessment of local potential.