The Making Markets Work for the Last Mile (LM4P) approach, or more affectionately known at Palmera as Village2Markets, targets last mile economically excluded areas, where development needs are greatest, and where resources are most scarce, working with market actors to better serve small rural entrepreneurs and small rural entrepreneurs to be equipped to better access and benefit from market opportunities.
The approach consists of the following core areas:
- Strengthening last mile market and financial services for effective engagement in markets
- Strengthening enabling environment and market agency
- Ensuring effective integration of buyers with the last mile poor
- Improving the productive capacity of last mile poor to engage in profitable subsectors
- Promoting mechanisms to ensure social protection for the most vulnerable households in the last mile
- Improving social inclusivity and integration of last mile communities (including minority groups and the vulnerable) in markets and the community
Palmera developed this approach after several years of implementing livelihood programmes in Sri Lanka reflecting on the challenges of addressing the complex market and non-market challenges in the last mile locations where we were working. We found that the challenges of the last mile poor were multi-dimensional. People-centered approaches like the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach or pure market-centered approaches like Market Systems Development was not sufficient.
Through a five-year pilot, Palmera expanded on the LEO principles and made it more specific for local NGOs/ implementing organisations to follow the keys steps of diagnosis, design, implementation and monitoring of its activities to benefit the given last mile context. The approach that evolved was named LM4P that sets out principles more specific to address the barriers faced by the last mile.
The approach was also piloted in Bangladesh and is now being scaled in Sri Lanka through Palmera.