RECONOMY’s Inception Phase: Lessons on how to Navigate Complexity

RECONOMY Inception report_full

Typically, in projects that follow the Market Systems Development (MSD) approach, the inception phase includes the establishment of initial partnerships to refine engagement strategies and gather early-stage learnings that inform implementation. For RECONOMY, the inception phase was about much more.

With its focus across multiple areas – including regional value addition across 12 countries in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership, mainstreaming of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) considerations, and emphasis on Gender and Social Inclusion – RECONOMY’s design merited a longer-than-usual inception phase which ended up lasting 22 months. The Canopy Lab conducted a case study to harvest the knowledge and experience gained during this time, including how the program navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, political upheaval in Belarus, the war in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the war in Ukraine.

JESSICA RUST-SMITH

Senior Consultant

I work across markets, business and supply chains, impact investing, agriculture, and women’s economic empowerment. I am an experienced monitoring, evaluation, research and learning consultant and project manager with expertise in the use of mixed methods, theory-based approaches and data collection and analysis. I have been working in M&E for market systems development for 10 years now, and going strong.