Market Development Facility (MDF)

Women husking vegetables for Bens Trading Ltd, Photographer - Rob Rickman, Credit - DFAT

Cardno is proud to have provided strategic leadership through the MDF to support changes that will have a positive impact on disadvantaged communities well into the future.

The MDF aimed to create sustainable employment and income generating opportunities for poor women and men in rural and urban areas. Cardno worked on behalf of the Australian Government to deliver on this aim by managing MDF partnerships that encouraged broad-based, pro-poor growth.  

Drawing on our expertise in market systems development, Cardno placed a strong emphasis on understanding the local market systems first and foremost. We engaged highly experienced staff in each country – people who understand these markets and their drivers. We used that intelligence to formulate strategies and partnership opportunities to maximise systemic change that fostered pro-poor growth.  

Cardno worked with a range of partners to effect real change. Our work targeted the poor and vulnerable, both directly and indirectly, through tailored approaches that addressed the root of the problems. We proactively managed risks through a balanced portfolio of interventions, and expertly communicated with market participants and external stakeholders. In conflict-affected environments, Cardno applied a ‘do no harm’ framework, working sustainably and with a credible exit strategy. 

Our approach delivered impressive results. Under the MDF, Cardno increased the competitiveness of sectors and industries that involve poor and marginalised women and men. In the medium term, we measured this by monitoring increases in business innovation and regulatory reform; a higher ratio of leveraged private sector investment; and additional market transactions resulting from MDF interventions.   

Over the longer term, these improvements translated into increased employment and income for poor and marginalised women and men in our target sectors. We focused on ensuring the programs were effective, inclusive and able to maintain their competitiveness and benefits for the poor into the future.