Our Signature Tools embody our most effective strategies to empower people to succeed in the global economy. Our diverse tools help projects communicate behavior change, strengthen individual capacity, facilitate collective action, locate value chain opportunities, foster smallholder growth, determine market return, parlay farms into businesses, evaluate risk and open credit, and boost farmers’ profitability, among others. By helping practitioners meet the unique challenges of the markets and communities in which they operate, these tools result in more successful and sustainable projects.

Featured Tools

Signature Tool Sell More For More

Sell More For More

Smallholder farmers have difficulty accessing markets due to limited product volume and inconsistent quality. Belonging to a well-managed group can link farmers to these markets. Sell More For More (SMFM) empowers farmer cooperatives and aggregators to develop marketing plans and meet buyer specifications. SMFM develops the capacity of these groups to sell more product for more income.

Signature Tool Gender First

Gender First

Ensuring equal access to productive resources and economic decisions can significantly increase yields and enable families to allocate more income to food, health, and children. GenderFirst identifies interventions in households, markets, enterprises, and community groups to ensure equitable benefits for all people. GenderFirst empowers all people – both women and men – to succeed in the global economy.

ACDI/VOCA Nutrimap


Too often, rural households have limited means to grow or acquire diverse foods. This lack of vital nutrients results in severe illness, child malnutrition, and even death. NutriMap defines pathways for smallholder farmers to access adequate amounts of nutritious foods. NutriMap identifies accessible channels of nutrition through increased income, production, and women’s empowerment.

Signature Tool STICKS


Too often when development programs impart messaging through cascade trainings, the message’s accuracy diminishes as it moves from person to person. With STICKS, beneficiaries receive a consistent message through a simple process that promotes social cohesion and enables the monitoring of adoption. The STICKS tool empowers project staff, field extension agents, and community leaders to communicate vital behavioral change information to beneficiaries.

Signature Tool Cedar


Many communities around the world face agricultural, economic, and social challenges that are exacerbated by climate change. CEDAR empowers community stakeholders to identify climate-based risks and to develop comprehensive mitigation strategies. Through the CEDAR process, communities identify options that reduce their vulnerability and increase their collective resilience.

Signature Tool STAIRS


Project staff and stakeholders often feel isolated from the bigger picture of project design. The STAIRS work-planning guide helps projects and external stakeholders to effectively plan activities in an inclusive and participatory manner.  Through the open and transparent process of STAIRS, all staff and stakeholders can inform the work plan and gain a complete understanding of project activities.



Local organizations have the potential to offer critical services and products to their communities, but often lack the skills and resources needed to meet client needs. Aptitude develops local organizational leaders so that they can attain sustainable practices and establish viable networks for continued growth. It also empowers local organizations to strengthen individual capacity and to improve their ability to act collectively.

Signature Tool Cultivate


Smallholder farmers have limited capital to invest in their farms. It is not always clear to which activities they should commit their efforts and resources. Cultivate assesses all practices and inputs throughout the production season to provide farmers with clear options and profitability estimates. Cultivate systematically identifies the inputs and production practices that will result in the highest return for farmers.

Signature Tool Profit Planner

Profit Planner

Without access to credit, farmers cannot purchase the improved seed, fertilizer, and other inputs needed to increase their yields and incomes. Profit Planner provides lenders with insightful modes of analysis to identify the appropriate financial products that will enable smallholders to become more productive. Profit Planner empowers financial institutions and agribusinesses to analyze the financial constraints smallholder farmers face.

Signature Tool AgValue


A frequent obstacle to growth in agricultural markets is a lack of credit, from inputs to production to processing. AgValue empowers commercial finance institutions to better understand the agricultural sector and to establish financial products. AgValue prepares risk-minded banks to effectively evaluate risks within the agricultural sector and to identify credit needs that generate growth.

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