AVC: The Basics

14 Mar

Last week I found out that I will be working with EWB’s Agriculture Value Chains(AVC) team in either Kenya or Uganda.

My initial thoughts on this: East Africa? Sweet! I’m gonna climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! But AVC? I’ve been part of EWB for two years, and I still don’t understand what AVC does! I have no idea how to explain this to my friends…

Since last week, I’ve done my best to boil down AVC’s approach and strategy to the absolute basics, in infographic form. This is definitely over-simplified, but now I feel like I have a better understanding of the system I’ll be working within, and hopefully this will make sense to you too. If you have any questions about AVC, or feedback on the infographic itself, I’d love for you to comment below!

(Click to enlarge)


I know that the circular visual above has been a bit unclear to some of my friends. I’ve copied it from an AVC team powerpoint, but here’s how it works in my mind: “Organizational Capacity” is like the axle of the wheel. It provides support and stability, but it isn’t attached to the wheel. “Relationships”, “Ownership”, “Incentives” and “Light Touch & Exit Strategy” are the active outcomes that drive the market system forward. When the wheel gets spinning fast enough, you can carefully pull the axle out, and the wheel will continue spinning on its own. (Engineer friends, this is a very loose analogy. Please don’t get too caught up in analysis of the physics behind this. Things get shaky if the wheel hits a bump in the road… Haha, I’m soo punny!)

Also, Market Facilitation seems to be a bit like Enterprise Facilitation (which I touched on in an earlier post) applied to larger systems, rather than just individual entrepreneurs.


8 Responses to “AVC: The Basics”

  1. ellengillies March 14, 2013 at 3:33 am #

    Woo! Girl you have set the bar high! Great job

  2. mikeklassen March 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Epic visual! I think the wheel analogy has legs (?) – here’s how I’d interpret it… If the wheel is a market facilitation project (so a team of people – managers, field staff, M&E specialists, etc) then organizational capacity is all about how they function – their skills, their mental models, their teamwork, their communication, how they build, iterate, measure their strategy… this is all inward facing things. There’s a lot to unpack in the ‘Org Capacity’ bubble – it’s an entire complex system in and of itself, and one that you spend less time really digging into as a JF -> your work is much more likely to be on the interface between wheel and ground!

    The edge of the wheel is the interaction between the project and the markets (aka the ground?) – the 4 outcomes of MF around the outside of the wheel are about changes in the market system as a result of the project – especially Ownership, Incentives and Relationships… Light Touch and exit is slightly more inside b/c it’s more about the actions and strategy of the facilitating organization.

    • juliamilner March 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Wow, I wasn’t sure if the wheel analogy actually worked.. Thanks for the clarification!

  3. nickytulk March 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Hey!! Where did you find that awesome visual to explain AVC? I have been looking for one about BDS in the ewb library for ages…Nice blog so far! 🙂

    • juliamilner March 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Hey Nicole, glad you like the visual. I made it myself, so I kinda doubt that there’s anything similar for BDS. Good with all of your BDS researching though 🙂

      • nickytulk March 24, 2013 at 3:11 am #

        Good for you, it looks amazing!!


  1. You lost me at market facilitation | A lot of stories - March 16, 2013

    […] https://beyondcomplicated.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/avc-the-basics/  […]

  2. The Final Post | Beyond Complicated - January 4, 2014

    […] AVC: The Basics – an explanation of Agriculture Value Chains, infographic-style […]

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