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Understanding the unique challenges of commissioning and managing market systems programmes from a funder's perspective is a key competence of the Agora team, many of whom have direct experience as funders. This course introduces key concepts at a high level, but instead of focusing on operational detail, it focused on the specific tasks and challenges faced by funders.

Market Systems Development for funders

MSD for Funders


  • Rapid understanding of what MSD is and how to do it, so you know what to expect from implementers.

  • Programme design - a clear process to understand parameters for programme design and the implications of the decisions made at this stage

  • Finding and selecting implementing partners - covering a wide range of different sourcing, partnership and procurement mechanisms

  • Managing and monitoring programme performance including formal results measurement frameworks and contracts as well as informal tactics to ensure your programme delivers.

  • Communicating MSD to different audiences to help you make the case for pursuing a more sustainable approach to development

  • In addition to the core content, supplementary demand-driven sessions on recent courses have included a systems approach to impact investment, MSD in humanitarian settings, and how to evaluate systemic change.



  • For donors who take the course - whatever your role in a donor agency, the course will help you to design, manage or support more effective MSD programmes leading to larger scale more sustainable impact. Even if you're not in a position to commission MSD programmes, this course can help you to other types of programming towards improving their impact.

  • For implementers who support their funders to take the course - a more supportive enabling environment to allow you to implement programme more effectively.



  • The course includes a mixture of self-led, instructor-led, and peer learning.

  • There are six core modules with one week given to complete plus an ongoing coursework module.

  • Each module typically take 2 hours to complete, so you'll have to be able to allocate an average of 2 hours per week over a seven week period, to include coursework review.

  • There are three contact 'touchpoints' throughout the course for which you will need to be available, but there is continuous interaction though bespoke forum threads.

  • Based on state-of-the-art elearning development, the course includes many games, videos, coursework and quizzes as well as supplementary reading.


PARTICIPANTS: The course is aimed at anyone involved in designing, procuring, managing or advising a market systems development programme from a donor perspective. Past participants have included FCDO, Sida, DFAT, ADA, SDC, Gatsby Africa, JICA, the World Bank, ILO, USAID and many more.

Over 150 donors from 15 organisations have already taken the course and this is what they said:

"The most engaging and interactive course I've ever had the pleasure to take"

  • "The mixture of delivery styles is continuously engaging"​

  • "Everyone who is or wants to get involved in MSD should take this course"

APPLICATION: The application form is now live and the deadline for application is 30th June 2022 and places are limited. Invoices will be sent as soon as you're accepted onto the course and the deadline for invoice payment is 15th August 2022. The course fee is £800 and includes embedded consulting services from the Agora team to help you operationalise the learning after the course finishes. The course will begin on 12th September 2022 with the release of the first batch of materials, but you can start at any time in the following weeks. The course will end on 9th December 2022, although you will retain access to the course materials for one year after completing the course.


Request a full prospectus

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