Course Details - Market Access for Food and Nutrition Security

Towards Pro-poor & Inclusive Market Development

Today, markets have become mainstream instruments for poverty reduction, smallholder inclusion and increased food & nutrition security. However, market dynamics, failures and shortcomings often diminish the desired impacts and/or long-term effects. This international course shows participants to which extent and in which manner markets can be used to induce and prolong positive change.

Opening markets for smallholders and their products

This very popular course takes market trends as a given, and a dynamic market environment as a basis for sustainable development. The focus is on markets as tools to alleviate poverty, aiming at more food secure consumers and a sustained inclusion of smallholders. The course examines the dos and don’ts of market-led development that is both smallholder inclusive and pro-poor.

Your own experience and cases

Participants’ cases are the starting point from which the course departs. It builds on the participants’ own experiences and situations. A selection of these cases will be further analysed and elaborated throughout the course. In a learning by doing and step-by-step process, strategic action plans are developed to improve these situations. The resulting action plans are the ‘take-away-home’ outputs of the course.

Course objectives

Participants will be challenged to find answers to the following interrelated questions:

  • How can markets be put actively at work for smallholder inclusion and poverty alleviation?
  • How can their products access markets better?

These questions will be addressed in several modules. The first module deals with market economic dynamics, and how to engage small-scale farmers, small entrepreneurs and rural dwellers. The market-economic factors and dynamics that could link these vulnerable groups through value chains to end-markets, will be viewed and discussed from a wide range of perspectives.

The second module deals with all the issues a product comes across on its way to consumers: the institutions that govern food markets. It will be very hard to link any party, let alone marginal groups, to markets if their products do not, or only partly meet the needs of upstream customers. This often controversial problem is addressed from a chain governance angle, entailing all the relevant market and chain-based institutions, and logistical concepts. Special attention will be paid to those tools and instruments that have the potential to reduce the transaction costs or “marketing overhead” in value chains. Because the course is focused on smallholder inclusion, special emphasis will be given to farmer-buyer relationships. In addition, a side step is made on the subject of how to deal with ensuring the provision, security and access to food in dense metropolitan areas.

Action plans

The third module deals with a strategic planning process and the tools that can be used to develop appropriate and targeted action plans, project proposals and/or programmes. A strategic action planning process will be practiced in a hands-on and down-to-earth manner. The focus of the actions is on positive and innovative change. This will be ensured through the integration of a targeted scenario analysis in the planning process. The strategic action planning process is applied to the selected cases that are brought in by the participants. In this way, the role of the relevant stakeholders as well as their respective importance and influence can also be considered. At the heart of the planning process lies the SWOT tool of analysis. This tool will be practiced such that will make a learning difference. The action plans that result from the process will very likely lead to a positive impact when implemented. The development of project proposals, based on a selection of participants cases, and in which all the lessons learned will be practised and internalised, is an integral part of the curriculum.

This course is taught in a blended format: partially online and partially in person in an OKP country

Our courses are currently taught blended and follow this format:

  • Online pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
  • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter. A part in online sessions and a part in person;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
  • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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