Approach to Inclusive Market Systems (AIMS) for Refugees and Host Communities

The Approach to Inclusive Market Systems (AIMS) was developed in collaboration with the UNHCR, with whom the ILO has been partnering since 2013 with the aim to make livelihood interventions for forcibly displaced persons and their host communities more market-based and sustainable.

AIMS seeks to apply the market systems development approach to the context of forced displacement. While traditional approaches to refugee livelihoods often deliver goods and services directly, AIMS focuses on understanding the overall system in which refugees and host communities live and make a living and designs tailor-made solutions to make that system work better for both communities.

In doing so, AIMS applies a ‘push-pull’ approach that focuses on the one hand on developing markets and value chains to increase the quantity and quality of opportunities available to the target group (the ‘pull’), while on the other hand developing capacities and skills of the target group to engage with the market and benefit from new opportunities (the ‘push’).

Learn more about AIMS: here

The AIMS Team’s areas of work:

  1. Support to AIMS projects globally The team provides advice and hands-on support to ILO AIMS projects around the globe. Key highlights include the PROSPECTS Programme funded by the Government of the Netherlands, a PRM-funded AIMS project in Niger, and a newly launched Sida-funded AIMS project in Lebanon

  2. AIMS assessments with the UNHCR and other partners The AIMS team has supported over 25 market systems assessments in different countries in close collaboration with the UNHCR. AIMS assessments form the basis for the development of long-term sustainable strategies to promote market-based livelihoods for refugees, and are often used to inform and strengthen the impact and sustainability of UNHCR livelihood interventions for refugees and host communities. See the examples of AIMS assessment here

  3. Provision of guidance and capacity building Based on experiences and lessons from implementing AIMS, the ILO-UNHCR Guide to Market-Based Livelihood Interventions for Refugees was developed as practical guidance for UNHCR staff and other practitioners. Since 2016, ILO and UNHCR have offered an annual training course on the Approach to Inclusive Market Systems (AIMS). Since 2017, the training is hosted annually by the ITC-ILO, Italy and is open to practitioners from humanitarian and development organizations with an interest in market-based approaches to forced displacement

Where we work