M4P - Making Markets Work For The Poor

Making markets work for the poor (M4P) is a practical approach to reducing poverty by improving economic systems for the benefit of the poorest and most vulnerable. Implementation of the GEMS4 project and all M4P based projects is guided by four principles:

Systemic action: GEMS4 identifies where market systems are failing to serve the needs of the poor, and designs sets of actions to address the market failures.

Sustainable change: GEMS4 initiatives are built to be sustainable, this means we work with existing market players and demonstrate market incentives they can gain by taking on needed market functions.

Large-scale impact: GEMS4 always identifies the constraints which once addressed will provide the most results in terms of numbers of poor people who benefit and the extent to which they will benefit.

Facilitative role: GEMS4 does not become a market player or take on functions that are core to the optimal performance of a sector. Instead GEMS4 assumes roles that build capacity, demonstrate and catalyses existing market players to take on roles.

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About 30% of the traders in Nigeria’s Wholesale and Retail Market Sector are women. Women in Nigeria (and particularly in the Northern states) face challenges to participation in the retail and wholesale sector that limit their income and employment opportunities. These include limited access to modern inputs and technology required to maximise production capacity; limited access to markets, business networks, and skills; and limited participation in economic activities due to social and cultural restrictions on roles and market functions women can perform in the economy.

We invite innovative ideas for commercially viable Models and initiatives that unlock business opportunities for women in both the supply and distribution chains of the Wholesale and Retail Value chain; improve capacity to run successful and sustainable businesses, and facilitate access to capital and improved cash flows for low income women entrepreneurs.

Monitoring & Evaluation

The GEMS4 monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system has been designed to provide both quantitative data to measure observable changes, and qualitative information to deepen understanding of the processes of change. The measurement system is built on the guidance from the GEMS Results Measurement Handbook and DCED guidelines for measuring results in private sector development.

The project has established management systems that enable the project collect and report on results.

Knowledge Management

In the GEMS4 context, there is certainly a requirement to help information and knowledge flow to the right people at the right times so they can perform more efficiently and effectively. Knowledge management within GEMS4 provides technology, establishes processes and creates a culture that enables the project use what it knows to implement initiatives that improve effectiveness in the wholesale and retail market system.

The M4P approach employed by the project emphasizes the need to understand the market system and tailor activities that respond to changing realities throughout the project cycle.


Communication in GEMS4 supports the market development initiatives of the project. It provides useful information to potential partners and stakeholders to leverage opportunities provided as a result of our initiatives. GEMS4 also utilises mass media channels in order to increase target audiences awareness of initiative partners’ products and services in order to increase demand.

Communication in GEMS4 supports behaviour change of target audiences, stimulates consumer demand for products and innovations introduced by initiatives and partners, enables effective engagement with key stakeholders and increases GEMS4 visibility and demonstrates the success of the project.