OUR SERVICES

Strategic Advisory

Delivering impact is hard. Whether our clients need to simply reconfigure their processes or they are interested in transformative change, we can help. We provide advisory and strategic consulting services that help clients innovate, learn, and adapt. Some examples of our work include:

Terwilliger Center for Innovations in Shelter (TCIS):
We conducted a retrospective of the Center’s previous five years of operation to evaluate the degree to which it achieved its strategic objectives, how those objectives have evolved over time, and how TCIS compares to its peers in the affordable housing space.

USAID Kosovo COMPETE Activity:
We supported the Activity in taking a systems approach to promoting export growth in the food processing, wood processing, and information technology sectors. We supported COMPETE to incorporate USAID’s Complexity-Aware Monitoring as well as Collaborate, Learn, and Adapt (CLA) approaches into the program.

DFAT Indonesia PRISMA:
We provided gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) and results measurement (RM) support to the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Promoting Rural Incomes through Support for Markets in Agriculture (PRISMA), including through research and advisory to the GESI and RM teams.

Research

We bridge academic and applied disciplines to design and conduct rigorous yet practical research that help our clients become ever more effective. We also carry out research studies that aim to fill knowledge gaps on what works and what doesn’t and why. Some examples of our work include:

Inclusion and Leadership Series:
In this research series, we seek to uncover the biases, structures, relationships, and rules which influence who occupies leadership roles in international development. Check out our series here.

GenderSmart, Investing in the Care Economy:
We produced two primers for investors (public and private) on the care economy, which defined the care economy, mapped the different actors and their respective roles, explored investment models, as well as broader alignment with other investment lenses – such as Environment, Society, and Governance (ESG) and Gender-Lens Investing (GLI). Check out the briefs: Investing in the Care Economy and Engaging with the Care Economy.

World Vision Australia, Green Growth Framework Development:
We developed a green growth framework and mainstreaming approach focused on agricultural development and compatible with World Vision Australia’s WEE approach.

Evaluation

We provide a suite of both time-tested and innovative measurement frameworks and tools to help clients understand their progress and impact. We also conduct independent reviews and final evaluations, ensuring that we always utilize a strategic learning lens. Some examples of our work include:

USAID Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops Activity (RDC):
We conducted an outcome harvest (OH) to assess and characterize the degree to which the RDC Activity’s interventions contributed to systemic changes that resulted in more inclusive and competitive market systems dynamics in Bangladesh. Check out the full study here.

USAID Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity (RRA):
We implemented a mid-term review which provided an external perspective on the relevance of the Activity’s strategic and tactical approaches to its context. We provided an independent assessment of the Activity’s progress and effectiveness, including on issues of gender and inclusion.

Unbound:
To understand the impact of Unbound’s cash transfer program on household economic well-being, we administered a mixed methods evaluation including a survey of 1,600 households across Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Uganda, and the Philippines coupled with qualitative household interviews. The assessment was designed to inform Unbound on how to adapt its programming for greater impact.

MEL Systems Design

In designing and developing Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) systems
with clients, we help programs capture useful information about outcomes,
including system-level changes. We prioritize practical application, ensuring effectiveness while also considering value for money. Some examples of our work include:

USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F):
We conducted a MEL system review and provided recommendations to ensure that the F2F core indicators reflect the diversity of its programming and contexts. Our services went beyond the refinement of indicators to include recommendations on efficient data collection and aggregation processes, along with digital solutions to strengthen the program’s learning and adaptive management efforts.

Heifer International:
We worked with Heifer to strengthen the organization’s capacity to integrate market systems approaches into country programs, and led the revision of Heifer’s organization-wide MEL manual which detailed their strategic frameworks relevant for MEL, including tools, trackers, and guidelines.

British International Investment (BII):
As BII’s thought partner for its three strategic programs, we are helping to 1) set up a strong MEL system through robust tools, approaches, and processes, 2) generate MEL insights and learnings for adjustments, 3) communicate MEL insights tailored to target audiences, and 4) build internal skills and knowledge to enable teams to practice robust MEL in the long term.

Training and Coaching

Managing a market systems development (MSD) project is arguably the best job in international development. It’s also one of the hardest. Managers face pressure from all sides and have few opportunities to think about the big picture, talk through concerns, objectively consider their own performance or strategize with anyone outside of their reporting structure.

We offer coaching to senior MSD managers, structured along the lines of the BEAM Exchange’s five domains for MSD Team Leader Competency.

This 9-month process provides two remote sessions per month. These domain-specific sessions are preceded by an introductory discussion to discuss goals, the coaching process and the results of an anonymous survey conducted with the manager’s colleagues. During the ninth month, we use two closing sessions to reflect on the coaching process and discuss the manager’s priorities for their future practice.

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.