Market Development Forum (MDF) is an association of development practitioners of over twenty NGOs and projects working with market development approaches in Bangladesh. Established in 2005, MDF aims to support the development organizations through encouraging market development approaches to tackle different development challenges and bringing different stakeholders together through participation in various learning activities for better coordination.
For sustainable development it is imperative for markets to operate inclusively because people participate in economic activity through markets. Market development interventions include technical assistant to service providers or training to enterprises; introduction of new business ideas or technologies; provision of market information and linkage of different market actors like retailers, traders, and suppliers in a value chain (DFID 2008 Report).
MDF network is a platform for practitioners to explore the market based solutions that will overcome the development challenges. Knowledge management and coordination is essential to work in harmony and avoid duplication of efforts and also use resources optimally. MDF is creating prospect of over 20 members to engage in better knowledge management, coordination and networking to maximize the development impacts and enhance the outreach for sustainability. The members of the network are international NGOs, local NGOs, development projects and consultancies.
Some participants of the event:
The core learning activities of the network are general discussions, most popular of which is Market Café discussion and Annual Conference. Other notable activities are Market Jatra. Market Jatra hosted by MDF member for learning and sharing through a journey is a fieldtrip with representatives from multiple development organizations. The practitioners get the opportunity to visit any host organizations interventions area which allows them to explore and expand any kind of potential partnership. The learning activities serve the practitioners to learn from their peers, deepen their understanding on any particular issues and explore new areas of work through coordination or future partnerships.
On 30 November, 2015, MDF celebrated the 10th year of its journey through the annual conference. The conference discussion on Inclusive Business Solutions marks the 10 years of knowledge management and coordination. Sarah Cooke, Country Representative of DFID Bangladesh, inaugurated the conference as the Chief Guest. She highlighted the importance of such a platform to promote knowledge management for inclusive market development. In her speech she mentioned about the need to address the causes of “why market fails”.
Shakeb Nabi, Country Director of Christian Aid and Chair on behalf of MDF Executive Committee greeted the participants, and said how the capacity of the development professionals is improving due to platforms like MDF.
The participants were representatives from INGOs, donors, private sectors and local and national NGOs.
There were three thematic sessions which was supported by the members as knowledge partners. Christian Aid, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, ICCO Cooperation and Dan Church Aid shared their achievements and highlighted the way forward for accessing the market for extreme poor during session one of the event which implies the theme: “Access to Market for Extreme Poor: Achievements, Lessons Learnt, Constraints and Way Forward”.
VSO Bangladesh supported the discussion on “Private Sector Partnerships in Market Development” on session two and Katalyst talked about “Taking Markets to Remote Regions” which was the theme for session three.
The purpose of the conference was to broaden the scope of work by engaging multi stakeholders, learn from peers and create prospects to design new interventions and to explore areas of partnership.
MDF aims to be engaged with a wider development community since the industry needs people with better understanding of market development approaches. And the task will be easier if the donor community and development practitioners extend their support. MDF will position itself as a premiere knowledge hub, whereby it would mostly consolidate, store and share knowledge products of its members, and simultaneously, produce knowledge documents as per members’ requests. MDF intends to have a better understanding, better coordination among all the existing and upcoming members.
Some glimpse of the MDF Day: