Synthesis Documents

SEEP On-Line BDS and Conflict Discussion Synthesis, McVay, 2004

    The SEEP Network Business Development Services (BDS) working group hosted the on-line discussion, 'BDS in Conflict Environments - Neglected Potential?' The discussion was part of a SEEP initiative to examine strategies for reaching poor and vulnerable entrepreneurs with business development services.

    Discussion facilitators encouraged participants from different development fields to share their experiences and brainstorm innovative strategies that could contribute to reaching conflict-affected people with appropriate and useful business services to improve family livelihood security. It was an opportunity to foster better understanding, relationships, and dialogue between a diverse group of practitioners, all of whom were concerned with improving the lives of conflict-affected people in developing countries. The discussion led to the development of an initial research agenda and next steps.

    Summary of results
    Although the discussion concluded with more questions than answers, it did suggest that further research and dialogue could help move the field forward. It also found that several lessons learned are not used in many situations:

    - Associations and networks of organizations working to develop microenterprises in conflict settings should promote awareness and use of existing lessons learned;
    - There may be a need for a brief, but more systematic presentation of existing lessons that could be developed as part of the SEEP On-line Guide to BDS in an on-line, printable format. This would be useful material to circulate to agencies working on BDS in conflict settings and for networks everywhere; and
    - There may be a role for global facilitation of a learning community on this topic that could encourage formation of local coordination groups.

    Some agencies are experimenting, and one claims to be succeeding, with the implementation of commercial BDS market development in conflict settings. It would be useful to document case studies based on experience in conflict situations. The following would be a good start:

    - Value-chain development and market linkages (Enterprise Works Worldwide, PSP Nepal);
    - New initiatives in training that take a commercial market development approach and use a gradual method of payment to encourage participation (ARC in West Africa, SIYB in Sri Lanka);
    - BDS market development programs that shift focus due to conflict (PSP Nepal); and
    - BDS coordination networks in a post-conflict setting (Afghanistan and Azerbaijan).

    Even among practitioners implementing innovative programs, there are new ideas that are not being tested, such as those that coordinate psycho-social and security initiatives with those focused on BDS. Action research into these and other on-going research questions would help test and demonstrate new approaches and models.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Synthesis Documents
    »SEEP On-Line BDS & HIV/AIDS Discussion Synthesis, 2004
    »The SEEP On-Line BDS & Gender Discussion Synthesis, Alison Haight, 2004
    »Microenterprise in Post-conflict Environments e-conference, February 16-18, 2005
    »Tools for Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict Situations: A Brief Literature Review, USAID 2007
    »Private Sector Development in Post Conflict and Peace Building Situations - Some Key Links and Documents (2008)