Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) Programme

Oxfam’s Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) Programme is a cutting-edge holistic market-systems approach to sustainable livelihoods development. It looks at the whole market environment in order to identify Oxfam’s key intervention points to gain the maximum positive sustainable impact for marginalised smallholder communities.


The GEM Programme brings together our experience and expertise in three areas to improve the long-term sustainability and scale of impact of our smallholder livelihoods programmes:



The challenge

Oxfam believes that one of the best ways to help people move out of poverty is to support them to find sustainable livelihoods. The majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas where the main livelihood activity is smallholder farming, and so we work with smallholders to improve their access to, and power in, agricultural markets since these frequently offer the best opportunities for a sustainable exit from poverty.


However, in many developing countries, power imbalances between different market actors, or environmental risks (such as drought, flooding or climate change), can prevent marginalised smallholders from accessing and thriving within their local or national agricultural market economies. Entrenched gender inequality means that women find it particularly hard to gain positions in markets, especially within the more profitable activities around processing and trading.


The GEM solution

The real value of the GEM Programme is that, for the first time, we have consolidated our considerable experience and expertise across these three critical areas affecting enterprise and market system development, in order to significantly improve the impact and scale of our work with marginalised smallholders.


Download the GEM overview leaflet (PDF)

Increasing Women Smallholder Farmers’ Agency and Leadership in Rural Livelihoods in Tajikistan, Bangladesh and Zambia (DFID AidMatch project)

This three country project, running from May 2014 to June 2017, applies the GEM approach in three very different contexts. Focusing on soya and dairy in Zambia, dairy in Bangladesh, and fruits and vegetables in Tajikistan, we aim to promote and facilitate the inclusion of smallholder (particularly women) producers in markets that will guarantee them an improved, regular income. See how we've been doing in the first year of the project by downloading DFID AidMatch: A Year in Review.

Read More:

GEM Management Team

GEM regional and country teams


Find out more about GEM on Oxfam’s Policy & Practice website.


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