Markets for Change Project

Project Summary

The Markets for Change (M4C) Project in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu is a six year initiative aimed at ensuring that marketplaces in rural and urban areas in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory environments, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

Market vendors and predominantly women, and marketplaces offer important venues to effect women’s social and economic change. In targeting female market vendors at marketplaces, the M4C Project will contribute to the broader Pacific Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) result of secure, productive and sustainable work opportunities for women.  

The M4C Project is based on experiences gained from implementation of the Partners Improving Markets (PIM) Pilot Project that included Fiji, which showed solid evidence that marketplace improvements in physical infrastructure and governance can significantly improve the economic and social lives of women market vendors.  

The Theory of Change (ToC) guiding the M4C Project is that gender-equitable economic and socio-cultural empowerment of women market vendors within the market environment in Fiji can be attained if the following take place:  

  • accessible, inclusive, and representative governance structures within marketplaces are put into place that will enable markets to grow, and will specifically strengthen the role and influence of women market vendors; 
  • actions that improve governance and social and economic security will facilitate market vendors to achieve economic, social and financial advancement, with specific outcomes related to improved gender-equality and the advancement of women; 
  • actions that improve governance among market management and local governments will enable decision-making processes to be more gender-responsive, transparent, accountable and receptive to the needs of vendors;
  • improved infrastructure and on-site services that are developed in a gender-responsive manner will contribute to improved social and economic security for women market vendors.

Project Objectives

Consistent with the World Bank’s evidence on women’s empowerment within the context of gender equality, the M4C Project in Fiji is aimed in particular at strengthening the role of women market vendors in terms of the following:

  • agency ('she gains confidence and realises her own value’); 
  • economic opportunity (‘she obtains access to and control of economic opportunities, training, markets, and resources to expand her influence’);
  • endowment (‘she enhances her capacity to earn and control personal income and resources’).

Who finances it?



UN Women has made US$900,000 available towards financing the M4C Project, providing US$300,000 for Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanautu. The larger operations in Fiji warrant slightly higher resource allocation to the country, with a breakdown expected at 40% of staff and operational costs for Fiji, compared to 30% for Solomon Islands and 30% for Vanuatu. Detailed budgets per country have been included in each of the Project Documents.

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