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The USAID-funded Feed the Future Mozambique Agricultural Innovations Activity (FTF Inova) implemented by DAI, aims to improve the income of smallholder farmers in Mozambique by stimulating a more inclusive agricultural market. Because development unfolds in thin markets devoid of support functions, and a low number of market actors means high-risk partnerships encompassing multi-faceted offers of support that require high investment, achieving market system change is a complex process that does not follow a linear path and is slow to take root.
To cope with this complexity and avoid the implementation risk of getting lost in a paralyzing trap of extensive planning, FTF Inova encouraged a focus on action, and leveraged CLA during its start-up phase to develop management tools and processes – such as knowledge exchanges with other projects, simulation-based workshops, adaptive partnerships, and a validated learning approach - that are conducive to cultivating partner collaborations aimed at testing, learning from such testing, and ultimately, adapting strategies based on emerging lessons. Integrating CLA emphasized meaningful action that could enable the progressive illumination of feasible pathways to market system change.
Although introducing and implementing these tools and processes actually increased the level of complexity for team members to cope with as they implemented project activities, as a deeper and more active understanding of the CLA process and the value it adds to achieving market system change developed, so did a real culture of continuous learning and improvement through which project staff members could quickly identify and leverage all opportunities to adapt. As FTF Inova has just recently completed its first year of implementation, it is still too early to tell how FTF Inova’s CLA approach has contributed to the project’s development outcomes. However, the project expects that the CLA process it has put in place will improve the overall health of Mozambique’s agricultural market.