Skoll Foundation


Building Markets (formerly Peace Dividend Trust)

Skoll Awardee(s): Scott Gilmore
Award Year: 2010
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Economic Opportunity

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In 2001, Scott Gilmore was working for the UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste, on leave from the Canadian diplomatic service. He grew frustrated at how management and operational problems hampered the peacekeepers’ ability to achieve the strategic goals of the mission. Staffing practices, for example, prevented the UN mission from hiring local staff, despite high unemployment. Scott started an informal group of development and peacekeeping professionals to share lessons learned in the hope of improving operational efficiency. In 2003, he launched Peace Dividend Trust (PDT), now called Building Markets. Building Markets focuses on the nuts and bolts of how peace missions operate to help those in charge learn from past failures, disperse benefits as widely as possible, and implement innovative, yet practical approaches to economic development. Building Markets has grown to over 100 people, has offices in 5 countries and has operated in over 12 peace and humanitarian missions.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2010:

  • 16,261 local businesses were verified in Liberia, Haiti, TImor Leste and Afghanistan.
  • Building Markets has a network of more than 16,000 local entrepreneurs.
  • They helped create or sustain over 65,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • They helped local businesses win $1 billion in contracts.
  • Their Peace Dividend Marketplace project in Afghanistan helped international agencies to increase their local spending by more than $375 million, creating thousands of jobs.
  • Their economic research to track donor spending, including the recent Spending the Development Dollar Twice report, has led the U.S., Australian, and British governments, as well as the United Nations, to adopt “Buy Local” policies.
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© 2015 Skoll Foundation.