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Step 4 - Running PEMM events

PEMM events are a mechanism for a wide range of market actors to carry out participatory analysis and assessment of their energy system through facilitated dialogue, trust building and collaboration. The key outputs are a robust market map with identified market system barriers of the selected energy system, and an action plan for the agreed activities for overcoming them, which serves as a joint plan among the actors on how to develop their own market. The map and action plan also helps external development agencies to define ways they can deliver their programmes of support to particular energy market systems, ideally acting as market facilitators.

  • PEMM workshop design +

    When designing a PEMM workshop it is wise to think through the materials required and the size and layout of the room.

    Event Layout: To effectively facilitate a group of market actors to interact, mapping their market system through a facilitated process requires floor space for people to move and form circles and groups, as well as wall space for the maps, as well as lots of post-its/coloured cards, pins/blue tack/masking tape and marker pens. It is important to provide seating and some tables for people to write on, but there needs to be space for people to move their chairs to form groups where they can discuss and make their maps against a wall.

    Translating: The event may need to be organised in more than 1 language, with translators as required. It should be remembered that more time is required when undertaking direct translations, which interrupt the flow of ideas and conversations, adding length to each session, and working in one common language is always the easiest option if possible. However, this must be balanced with the need to ensure that everyone is participating, and translation can be a game changer for ensuring the most marginalised actors are involved!

    Agenda: It is important to develop an agenda for the event, and the template in Annex 5 can be adapted as required, ideally checking it with others beforehand.

    Note: It is also important to remember that a PEMM event is not just a way of identifying future interventions and gaining buy-in, it is also an intervention in its own right, as it actively increases the flow of information and understanding between the market actors, as well as improving relationships and cooperation between them.

  • PEMM event introductions +

    It is important to start the day with a round of introductions so everyone knows whom everyone else is, and ideally have nametags so people can continue to get to know each other throughout the day - without the embarrassment of forgetting someone’s name!

    Note: It is important for the facilitator, from the very beginning, to establish a fun and relaxed space where everyone feels free and comfortable to speak their mind. They should explain the key activities clearly, but keeping their voice and explanations to a minimum, and trying to get the market actors themselves to do the talking as much as possible.

    Expectations: The facilitators can start by asking the participants to write down why they decided to come to the workshop and what they expect from the day, to start to understand their expectations. They can solicit responses from a few people, before moving on to an explanation about the objectives of the PEMM workshop.

    Objectives: PEMM events utilise the energy market system framework to map the market and jointly assess its blockages and opportunities, and jointly agree strategies and actions to improve how the market functions via the participation of a wide variety of market system actors. A number of sub-objectives can be discussed with the participants to allow them to start to increase their understanding of the process, such as follows:

    • To increase access to information and understanding of the market, as well as improving relationships and cooperation between market actors
    • To understand the market’s complexity, the critical structures, actors, relationships forces and drivers of change
    • To develop a vision of market growth (and sustainability) and consider a broader range of responses
    • To decide how to facilitate market system change together

    Keep it Simple: It is important for the facilitators to keep the use of complicated terminology and jargon to a minimum and use a very simplified version of the mapping framework during the introduction. They need to try to elicit questions and comments from the participants to ensure they understand what is being explained, although they will continue to learn more throughout the day. It is useful to make it clear that the workshop is simply an opportunity for market actors to discuss and assess problems and identify solutions within their energy market system, with everyone being together as equals and have equal opportunities to speak.

    Experience has shown that the introduction session should be kept to a bare minimum as the participants often respond well to moving quickly into the market game activity, which is an ice-breaker, and helps them start to get to know each other but to more quickly understand the basic objective of the workshop.

    Note: It is important to start to manage expectations of the participants from the start, by being explicit about what is being offered and what is expected from the participants. It is important to be clear about whether funding is or isn’t available for future events and to support interventions.

  • Energy market system game +

    After the introduction it is helpful to carry out a markets system game to help the participants better understand the range of market actors that exist in an energy market, and the difference between the 3 levels, and how a market really works and how relationships between market actors can be strengthened in an interactive way.

    Randomly assign each participant a role of a market actor in an example energy system, written on a piece of card - ideally this role should not be their real role so they start to understand an energy market system from the perspective of another actor! It is important to prepare these cards beforehand so you have a mix of market actors in each of the 3 levels ensuring you have at least 1 card for each participant.

    Ask each participant to give some thought to the following:

    • What their role in the market entails
    • What value their role brings to the market
    • What relationships with other market actors their role depends on

    Then ask all the participants to introduce themselves to everyone else whilst acting out their new role, and trying to find other actors they might need to work closely with. After this, using masking tape, mark out the 3 levels of the energy market system on the floor (energy market chain; services, inputs and finance; enabling environment) and ask each participant to place him or herself where they think their role should sit within the system. This may take some time, as people talk to each other, make mistakes and get directed somewhere else – don’t worry as this interaction is very important!

    When everyone has finally decided, ask each actor, starting from one end of the energy market chain to explain their new role, including what value they think they add and to highlight any difficulties or challenges they think they might face. Then move to each actor in the input, services and finance level, explaining how they assist each market chain actor to work effectively, and finally each actor in the enabling environment level, describing the impact they have on various market actors. During this process, allow other participants to make comments, correcting when required, or even disagreeing. If the actor is in the wrong place, the facilitator can get the others to correct the position, explaining why they think so.

    Although this game can take quite a lot of time, particularly if translations are required, it is very important in getting all participants to be involved, to start to think about how a market system operates, and to understand the interconnections between each market actor in each of the 3 levels. If you have a very large group you can restrict the active participants to around 20, with the others taking the role of observers, but it is better if everyone is involved as much as possible.

    After the game it is useful to review what happened, asking the participants about the key things they learned from the game, what surprised them, and which roles they thought were most important, and could change or impact the system as a whole. It is important to help the participants understand the interconnected and complex nature of the system. It is useful to end the session with a review of the basic components of an energy market system, using the example from the game.

  • Participatory energy market mapping (PEMM) +

    The facilitators’ role is to retain the interest of the group, mitigating any conflicts in the discussions and to promote collective thinking. This requires leading the group in a systematic manner but also allowing free-thinking and vibrant discussions to take place. A balance is needed between encouraging interaction and positive engagement between the actors – even disagreements – as well as gradually working through each part of the system, and each identified issue in a more directive manner. The facilitator needs to put forward ideas and potential solutions if required, or the discussions go off-track, and helping identify and address incorrect or incomplete ideas.

    The facilitator can start by splitting the blank canvas into the three layers of the market system and began mapping each level, in whichever order the participants prefer, using different coloured post-it notes for each one, highlighting the difference between the identified market actors and the issues facing them, using a key to explain the difference.

    Level 1: Market Chain: When preparing the market chain - in the middle of the map – to identify the actors who own the energy product and move it from primary producer to final consumer, it is useful for the participants to think about each function, from manufacture, distribution, retail and consumption, grouping each actor accordingly. It is then useful to support the participants to assess each function against the following 3 criteria, which need to be functioning well for the overall market to operate effectively and efficiently.

    Number of actors that in each stage of delivery (current and potential) as well as the geographic distribution of the actors. Explain that a larger number of well-connected actors lead to greater competition and more effective and efficient delivery.

    Performance of the organisations (how well they operate and how well developed their business models are), as well as the performance of the products. Explain that well performing actors and products assures effective and efficient delivery.

    Relationships between different actors, including the level of connection, coordination and competition between actors along each level and between levels. Explain that there are likely to be higher levels of trust between well-connected and coordinated actors and consequently more effective and efficient delivery.

    Level 2: Inputs, Services and Finance: When detailing the critical inputs, services and finance that the market chain actors need to effectively deliver their role (for example ensuring the quality of their solar PV lanterns), it is useful for the participants to identify each one separately. They can use different coloured post-it notes for type, which are required by each market chain actor to support them to effectively and efficiently deliver the products as they pass along the market chain. It is often easier to identify the type of service and then the actors who is, or might, be able to deliver it, as follows:

    Inputs are the wide range of physical resources that each chain actor needs to be able to access to effectively and sustainably deliver their products to the next market actor in the chain

    Services are needed by each chain actor to better produce, distribute and sell their energy products such as product design, market research and quality control and product testing procedures. These are provided by organisations, such as private sector companies, government departments and community-based organisations

    Finance includes financial services that support each market chain actor to produce the products to a high quality and deliver them; and the financial services required by end users to purchase them. These can include loans and equity for the market chain actors and small loans for the end users

    Level 3: Enabling Environment Factors: It is often easier to identify these factors, which influence each of the other market actors last, including formal (e.g. policies and regulations), informal (cultural norms), and infrastructure (e.g. roads, telecomms networks) factors. Again, it is often easier to identify the factors first, and then the actors who are responsible for them.

    Final Output: The final output should be a detailed map of the energy market defining all the market chain actors and key linkages in all of the 3 levels, from the point of view of the actors themselves, as well as identified barriers and opportunities, and potential leverage points and solutions for overcoming them.

    Note: A the map is a simplified model to help the market actors understand their complex system, it cannot show every nuance and relationship, and doesn’t have to be perfect, at least during the first event. It should provide a useful baseline framework for the market actors to continue to develop further in the future, through working together promoting dialogue, collaboration and improve understanding.

  • Participatory market analysis +

    Once a final map of the selected energy market system has been agreed upon, the facilitator needs to help the participants develop a joint vision of what a more functional energy market system in the future should look like, including viable strategies and activities to achieve that vision. This involves undertaking participatory analysis to identify the market barriers and potential opportunities and their leverage points.

    Note: Often any one actor working in isolation cannot remove a market barrier. Instead they need to be addressed through the coordinated and collaborative action of several market actors, which is an important point for the market actors to understand.

    Market Analysis: The facilitator should ask the participants to review and analyse their map, focusing on the system as a whole and where the leverage points are that will enable it to function more efficiently, inclusively and profitably, resulting in the maximum impact for the minimum effort. Participants should use additional coloured post-it notes to identify the systemic market barriers to be addressed in the future, including how this might affect the roles of the actors and their relationships with each other.

    Gallery Walk: Once each group has finished, its useful to carry out a gallery walk, where members of each group review the other groups map, in particular the potential market barriers, asking any questions and clarifications as required. This should result in a validated and boosted market map, with additional details on the market actors vision for their system, and how the market actors can start to work together to address the existing market barriers they’ve identified.

    Actors Discussions: During the market analysis the facilitator needs to continually encourage the discussion between the actors, in particular from the marginalised actors. This needs to include a joint understanding of how the system operates and their roles, as this is often the most important output for the next steps of the roadmap. The facilitator needs to encourage the contribution and commitment from each actor, in particular ensuring gender equality, to retain their interest throughout the mapping and into the shared vision for overcoming the market barriers collectively.

  • Joint action planning +

    The last part of the workshop needs to move from analysis to action. The facilitators need to encourage the participants to tease out potentially viable solutions for overcoming the market barriers, and to design their own joint action plan with the potential to move them from where they are now to their desired vision. This is critical in ensuring the ownership of the action plan by the market actors, capturing their specific interests and talents, and allowing them to determine which actions to prioritise.

    Barriers and Opportunities: The facilitators need to encourage the participants to focus on the barriers and opportunities for fulfilling their market vision, by writing down the 5 most important blockages and 5 most important opportunities on a coloured post-it note. Each participant then needs to cluster them on a large board, ideally giving each cluster a focus and a title. This clustering should ideally be carried out by one of the market actors, with support from the facilitator.

    Importance Ranking: Once the main groups of barriers and opportunities have been identified, it is useful to try and analyse the root cause of each, and how each can be overcome, building consensus in the group. It is then useful to rank the importance of each. After ranking some ideas can be easily discounted as acting on them would either be too difficult, too risky or too expensive. The remaining ideas can be prioritised, with a number of them being identified to be taken forward by the group.

    Future Plans: The facilitators should encourage the participants to identify win–win solutions and strategies and outline an action plan for overcoming each of the prioritised market barriers and interventions. The facilitator should then ask each participant to identify up to 3 activities they would most like to work on. If time permits the facilitator should support the participants to create a strategy for each intervention, including its desired outcomes, required actions and delivery dates, which can then be taken forward in future participatory events, as agreed solutions with clear commitments and deadlines.

    Interest Forums: It is the facilitator’s role to inspire the participants to not only commit to these actions plans, but also form groups of market actors, as interest forums where they can start meeting, networking and further building trust, coordinating and collaborating to ensure the deliver of each agreed intervention. Encouraging and supporting such collaborative working will better ensure that the agreed interventions build on the existing capacities and capabilities of the involved market actors.

  • PEMM wrap-up +

    Progress: It is important for the facilitator to bring together everything that was discussed during the day, from the mapping to the identification of the market barriers and potential interventions for overcoming them, and agreed actions to be taken forward by the interest groups. It is important to highlight that the success of the workshop ultimately depends upon the future engagement and commitment of the participants, but that has already started. The process of the market actors coming together in the workshop, starting to get to know each other and to start to find their own ways to unlock their own energy market and start doing more and better business together in the future, with greater involvement of marginalised actors, and greater gender equality.

    Next Steps: It is useful for the facilitator to be explicit about what the next steps are, and if funding is available for future events and to fund potential interventions. It is also important to reiterate that it is in the interests of the participants to own their own action plans and to support the development of their own market system. Other development agencies may also be able to support the agreed action plans with resources (funds, labour, materials, etc.), including the use of targeted subsidies at critical moments when market actors may be unwilling to experiment with new ways of doing things (e.g. using new techniques, technologies or business models).

    Event Output: It is important to explain that each participant will receive the written outputs of the PEMM workshop including the market map, and intervention matrix, capturing the market system from the point of view of all actors, including the market barriers and potential interventions for overcoming them. Annex 7 provides the outputs from a PEMM workshop carried out in Rwanda on the ICS sector, which can be adapted by the facilitator for their events.

  • Forum facilitation +

    The success of a PEMM workshop depends upon appropriate facilitation to ensure the active engagement of all market actors, to put forward ideas and solutions and present obstacles as opportunities. A set of facilitator notes is provided in Annex 8 to give some guidance to the facilitators of future PEMM workshops. Overall the group facilitator’s role is to:

    • Encourage commitment to contributing to solutions and striking deals
    • Ensure openness to all the ideas proposed
    • Remind the actors of their vision for their market
    • Promote viable strategies and activities to achieve that vision
    • Encourage ‘side deals’ to take place between market actors
    • Support the development of interest groups to take forward each action plan, obtaining local funding, or funding the activities themselves, if possible
  • Participant feedback +

    At the end of the workshop it is important to elicit feedback from the participants to try and understand how they benefitted from the workshop and how future workshops could be improved, with an example participant feedback form given in Annex 9.

    Experience has shown that participants find the events to be useful in making new connections, especially within the Government, and starting to build new relationships. The workshops also raise awareness among the actors about the operation of their market system and the pivotal role each actor plays, in particular the importance of involving marginalised actors, and gender equality.

    If facilitated well, the participants will feel free to interact with each other in a neutral space, with all actors represented and actively involved. Participants often feel that the PEMM process helped open their minds, seeing their own potential to start doing things on their own rather than waiting for external organisations to solve their market’s problems, although most participants request additional follow-up events to be organised if possible.

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