What We Do Measuring Impact
By measuring and assessing the impact of our programs, we can ensure your support is reaching those most in need with tools to help them transform their lives.
Starting with our program partners in India in 2008, Opportunity’s Social Performance Management (SPM) program has grown significantly across The Opportunity Network and today is used in India, the Philippines and an expanding number of countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
The ‘Progress out of Poverty Index’ (PPI) scorecard is an innovative tool that helps monitor the effects of microfinance on income levels. The scorecard includes simple questions related to the client’s income level, such as:
- What are the outer walls of your house made up of?
- What kind of toilet facility does your family have?
- What is your main source of drinking water?
- What is the main source of lighting for your home?
By assessing the answers to questions such as these, it is possible to gauge the relative income level and poverty status of a family and help ensure they are receiving benefits from interventions in various areas of their life.
We are committed to illustrating the impact your support has on families living in poverty. 2012 saw the launch of the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management – The Opportunity Network was one of the leading microfinance networks to test the standards. In 2013, we developed our first ever Social Performance Report which demonstrates how we are progressing in implementing best practices in day-to-day operations.
The SPM program collects data on a range of poverty indicators including empowerment, education and access to water and sanitation. Focusing on individual indicators helps us better understand the specific challenges families face, enabling us to design products and services to mitigate them.
For example, in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh in India, sample results found that 75% and 85% of families served have no access to a toilet facility. Also in Orissa, 71% of families using small loans in urban areas don’t have access to their own source of safe drinking water – instead, they rely on dirty waterways and public facilities. This kind of data helps us decide which products – in this case small loans for water and sanitation facilities – need to be prioritised in specific regions. Essentially, it means that your support can go to help families in the areas of their lives where they need it most.
As we continue to collect data on our programs and their impact, it will become easier to assess the changes in the lives of families over time. To look further at this transformation, Opportunity has piloted the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology in both India and the Philippines. SROI is a framework for measuring and accounting for the value added to the lives of the families we serve, looking at the social, environmental and economic benefits of microfinance and then quantifying the amount of change that has taken place.
In 2013, we analysed the impact of a small loan program on farmers in the Philippines. The analysis found the lives of the farmers were transformed in four areas:
- Economic: a small loan helps reduce stress and allows farmers to make more effective investment choices. With a stable income, they can then begin saving and looking to expand their business – ultimately becoming more financially secure.
- Social: the loan program brings farmers together in groups, enabling them to support each other. Trust within the groups strengthens over time and can lead to improved decision making for the wider community.
- Personal: receiving a small loan is not just a financial transaction – it’s a significant personal moment where the farmers are trusted and feel valued.
- Spiritual: the farmers say they experienced increased faith which develops into a desire to help others in their community.
While the stories of our clients help us know we are making a difference in families' lives, the SPM program demonstrates just how these lives are being transformed – enabling us to create better opportunities in the future.
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