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Market Based Programming (MBP)

Market (Credit: Oxfam / Tommy Trenchard)

At a glance

The way that Oxfam uses, supports and develops local markets in our emergency Food Security, WASH and Protection work.


Before, during and after a crisis - people rely on markets for essential items and services. Oxfam believes in understanding market dynamics in our emergency work. We use this knowledge to inform our programming.

Our approach to Market Based Programming (MBP) in humanitarian work is to use, support and develop local markets. We do this across all phases of a response by systematically including market assessments, analysis and programming.

Oxfam delivers immediate aid through market structures wherever possible. At the same time, we aim to support and strengthen markets more generally by assisting in the development of enterprise and financial services, or by rehabilitating infrastructure. This can include:

  • giving cash grants
  • in-kind distributions via local markets (such as food aid)
  • vouchers for water trucking or solar lights
  • training for women's cooperatives

Working closely with traders and other market actors helps us to strengthen local economies and ensure sustainable responses.

Learn more: Market-Based Programming: What's it all about? (available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic)

MBP Across the Sectors

Oxfam uses a market based approach across our EFSVL (Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods), WASH and Protection work in emergencies as well as linking to our early recovery, resilience and development work on markets.

Working with others on MBP

Oxfam has been at the forefront of Market Based Programming. We are a founding member of the Cash Learning Partnership which is building momentum across several humanitarian sectors for recognition of the benefits of market-based programmes.

We were also part of a consortia which developed the Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit for mapping markets in post crises settings alongside Practical Action, InterAction and IRC. We developed the Pre-Crisis Market and Analysis Approach which seeks to understand and plan for how markets will behave in relation to future shocks. Oxfam has also been involved in the SEEP's Markets In Crisis Advisory Committee.

In a Crisis

What happens to a market in an emergency? This animation from Logistics Cluster explores the issues.