Lessons in Scaling: UNDP's Role in Digitalizing Informal Market Vendors in Uganda

This case study shares lessons learned from the partnership between UNDP in Uganda and Jumia, a global e-commerce company, to digitalize informal market vendors. It looks at an example of how COVID triggered a pivot for UNDP programming that was initially supported by the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Uganda and then received further investment from the CDO’s Digital X Partnerships for Scale Programme to take the work to scale. The story illustrates why, when and how UNDP is (or isn’t) well-suited to help social innovations scale, and what constraints can emerge when working with the private sector to do so. Here, we see the challenging journey to scale from pilot to nation-wide platform, and the even rockier struggle to expand lessons learned beyond national borders for regional or global learning. Ultimately, the narrative points to the internal reforms needed to define UNDP’s niche in scaling social innovation through commercial channels.

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