In keeping with its mission to focus on capacity development to promote regional cooperation and integration, Mekong Institute is directing the efforts of the EWEC project towards developing the capacity of three target groups: 1) farmer groups/associations/cooperatives; 2) SME clusters/business networks; and 3) Local Economic Development (LED) government officials, with the objective to improve the market system of the three sectors and achieve the following:
- Make smallholder farmers more competitive producers of coffee, rice and maize;
- Improve the regional and local competitiveness of private enterprises involved in coffee, rice and maize value chains; and
- Enhance the enabling environment for local economic development and trade in and among target districts and provinces.
To maximize the project’s impact and widen its outreach, MI employs the capacity development approach. This is done via a modular capacity building cycle where MI works with and through government departments, private agencies, lead farmers, and other local partners.
Based on the approach, the local partners then become the project intermediaries and apply and share their newly acquired skills to farmers, SMEs, entrepreneurs, ethnic minorities, provincial and border officials, and other concerned parties to improve the local market and the overall trading environment.
Apart from the capacity development approach, the project employs implementing the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach throughout the project cycle, from the intervention design to implementation and monitoring and evaluation in order to achieve systemic changes, sustainability, and a larger number of beneficiaries.