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Impact Evaluation of the Samarth Market Development Programme in Nepal

Despite economic growth, remittances from abroad and significant donor support, poverty and inequality remain high in Nepal, with the position of women in particular being especially unequal. The Samarth programme ran from 2012 to 2018 and aimed to tackle this situation by generating and increasing income and employment opportunities for poorer farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs in sectors of the economy of most relevance to them including livestock, crops, and tourism.

7/03/2017

The Samarth programme adopted a market-led approach (the first in Nepal) to produce sustainable change at scale by tackling underlying constraints to pro-poor growth in rural sectors and building the capacity for effective pro-poor market development among key stakeholders, including government.

Our evaluation of the Samarth Market Development Programme in Nepal assessed the programme’s performance, results and value for money. It also provided an opportunity to reflect on whether the programme’s market-led approach was appropriate to the context of Nepal and had been effective in producing sustained pro-poor growth.

Our evaluation of the Samarth programme took place from 2017 to 2019 at the end of the programme implementation period. It adopted a mixed-methods approach to assess the programme’s performance, its delivered results and its value for money. A key objective of the evaluation was to test the effectiveness of the programme’s approach. Had the programme been successful in building the capacity and resilience of the market systems in which it operated to produce sustained pro-poor change? To determine this, and to understand whether the programme itself had produced change alongside the many other government and donor programmes operating in Nepal, the evaluation adopted an innovative approach to contribution analysis.

The evaluation offered a valued learning opportunity to the Government of Nepal, DFID Nepal and the wider development community to understand whether, and in what circumstances, a market-led development approach can work in Nepal. In doing so it enriched the global knowledge base on the effectiveness of market systems programmes.

The results of the evaluation have been shared on the DFID-funded Beam Exchange.

Image © Nepal. Photo Credit: Tim Ruffer