25 Sep 2015
Learning Lab
Bookkeeping with solar lantern

The Learning Lab analyzes the applications from the first innovation competition of The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity.  The innovation landscape that emerges is promising:

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) has completed its first innovation competition with winners announced on October 1. The $50 million fund expects to help at least 1 million people gain access to appropriate savings, credit, and insurance services. It will support innovative ideas - especially those driven by financial service providers and agribusinesses - that have the potential to grow to scale and deeply impact the lives of rural poor people throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

The fund will operate two competitions per year until 2017. The Innovation Competition (just completed for 2015) supports the development of ideas for new products, services or processes, while the Scaling Competition helps to scale the most promising ideas or pilots.

Surge in private sector activity

In its first competition Fund for Rural Prosperity successfully surfaced nearly 400 innovation ideas from across the continent.  These applications offer an opportunity to better understand the state of the sector and the current landscape of innovations.  Lead applicants (as designed) were typically financial service providers or...

25 Sep 2015
Learning Lab

The Learning Lab in collaboration with Dalberg Research have built a database of existing financial solutions for smallholder farmers. This database will help us better understand the landscape of financial solutions that are offered to smallholder farmers, identify some of the key features that products share, and learn about which organizations are active in this space.

We developed a beta version of the database by consolidating previous databases from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance (on local lenders and direct-to-farmer financiers) and conducting a desk analysis of published descriptions of financial solutions targeted at smallholders.  The current version contains over 600 different provider solutions offered in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Each record describes a specific product or service by a specific provider, with details on the model, like associated training, operational partners, or delivery model. 

The database is built on publicly available information from providers, or identified through resources like Agrilinks, the AgriFin Facility, the Rural Finance and Investment Learning Center, the Microinsurance Network or the World Bank...

24 Sep 2015
Andre Proctor

Improving the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder farmers involves a wide range of interventions in technology, support services, access to inputs, institution building (farmer associations and cooperatives) and market access across local, regional and international value chains.

Cultivating effective feedback loops between actors at all points in this web of relationships will contribute to fairer, more gender-sensitive, more efficient and more effective value chains – ultimately to greater well-being of smallholder farming communities.

Feedback Commons

Keystone’s Feedback Commons is a web platform designed to make collecting and using feedback so simple, inexpensive, and useful that all development interventions can use it to manage and improve their performance in the services they offer, the relationships they depend on, and the outcomes that they hope to achieve.

The Feedback Commons is built around ‘neighbourhoods’. For example, the Smallholder farmer and value chain development neighbourhood will enable any development initiative to

  • Build micro-surveys by selecting standardised, tested questions* from a common question bank and adding their own custom questions as well.
  • Automatically generate online survey forms and printable paper surveys (soon to include mobile data collection options such as Telerivet).
  • Upload data into the Commons database (...