Market Development Facility (MDF)

Location: Timor-Leste; Pakistan; Fiji; Australasia; Asia; Papua New Guinea; Sri Lanka

​The Market Development Facility (MDF) is a six-year, AU$44.9 million private sector development project funded by the Australian Government, which aims to sustainably increase employment for poor women and men in rural and urban areas.

MDF uses market-based approaches, including a strong emphasis on understanding market systems before intervening; a flexible, entrepreneurial market facilitation approach; and a consistent and relentless focus on results.

The Market Development Facility follows principles of:

  • Targeting the poor and vulnerable directly or indirectly in all activities
  • Tailoring approaches to address the cause of the problem
  • Consistently deploying experts that understand markets, governments and the incentives that drive them
  • Proactively managing risks through a balanced portfolio of interventions
  • Constantly communicating with market participants and external stakeholders
  • Always insisting on sustainability and having a credible exit strategy
  • Partnering with existing market players, matching their incentives with key needs in the market, and building their capacity to provide the right solutions so that solutions are continued and led willing and able market players
  • Not becoming an active market player so that new activities and solutions are embedded in the current market system ensuring long-term sustainability
  • Consistently applying a ‘do no harm’ framework in conflict-affected areas
  • Application of Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) standards.

Cardno is responsible for all management and implementation functions of the Facility to maximise sustainable and systemic change in markets that lead to pro-poor growth. Cardno’s Melbourne office provides technical and managerial leadership to the Facility as well as advice to ensure DFAT reporting and financial needs are anticipated and met. In recognition of the uniqueness of this approach, Cardno is especially proactive in communicating the approach, its strategies, its challenges and results with stakeholders, particularly DFAT.

For more information, please click here to visit the MDF website.

MDF updates

MDF's partnership with Marcus Kahl Seeds is increasing income for onion seeds and bulbs' farmers in Chitral, Pakistan

MDF recently published a fascinating photo story about its partnership with a multinational seed company, Magnus Kahl Seeds, to improve onion seed farmers’ livelihood and create opportunities for women’s economic empowerment in Chitral, Pakistan. Click here to view the photo story.

Cardno empowers women in Fiji and Timor-Leste:

MDF incorporates women’s economic empowerment throughout all stages of the program – from selecting sectors in which to work to measuring impacts and cases of success. While choosing sectors in each country, MDF considers where women are actively involved. It then refines and supplements its sector research and sector strategies through specific gender-focused research.

In Fiji, MDF works in the horticulture and agri-exports sector as well as tourism and its supporting services sector. MDF found that within its sector strategy for Fiji tourism, the best opportunities for women’s economic advancement are in handicrafts, hotel and resort employment, and entertainment activities. In the horticulture sector, women’s involvement is concentrated in fruit and vegetable production and employment in export-processing facilities.

In Timor-Leste, MDF’s gender research is focusing on women in rural districts. While still ongoing, early analysis shows that women are involved in all types of agricultural production, do most of the market trading and are more heavily involved in the sub-sectors of vegetable production and small livestock farming. MDF is refining its sector strategies to take advantage of opportunities to work in these areas, where women can increase their economic activities and contribute to household income.

Read the full story on how MDF helps empowering women in Fiji, Timor-Leste and Pakistan: Improving Women’s Economic Empowerment through Market Development

For more information about MDF, please visit the website.

Other information:

Photo credit: DFAT / Market Development Facility (MDF)