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.

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Market Systems Diagnostic

Making sense of some of today’s most difficult development challenges requires new evidence and knowledge among local decision-makers. The Market Systems Diagnostic is a set of highly participatory, analytical tools that allow stakeholders to “dive deep” to explore and diagnose the underlying drivers of market systems health (competitiveness, inclusion, and resilience).

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 Market Flow


Inefficient value chains limit profitable transactions and critical investments, disproportionally affecting the incomes of rural households. MarketFlow provides a strategic approach for improving overall market competitiveness. MarketFlow identifies value chain constraints in reaching end market opportunities while surfacing the best intervention points to foster inclusive growth of small firms and smallholder farmers.

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 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.

ACDI VOCA Signature-Tool MarketFacilitator


Market actors often blame others within their value chain for limiting their profits. To remedy this, MarketFacilitator builds trust among participants. Together, they can fulfill their market’s larger demand. MarketFacilitator guides market actors through a comprehensive review of the constraints and opportunities within their value chain to identify a coordinated set of actions.

Signature Tool M4


M4 empowers farmer-based organizations (FBOs) to assess their performance and to identify improvements along the four areas of membership, marketing, money, and management. Many assessments are complicated, expensive, and not directly meaningful to FBO leaders. The M4 assessment provides an open and transparent process for members to quickly reach consensus on their priorities.

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.