What Does the Evidence Mean for Freedom from Hunger?

Over the past two months, I have been asking whether the poor do more profitable business and earn more household income because of their use of microfinance services. Lynne Davidson Jarrell has provided us her summary of the main points of the thirteen posts. What does all this mean for Freedom from Hunger? For 25 years, Freedom from Hunger has designed, tested and taught independent partne read more...

Theme Three Wrap Up: More Profitable Business and Household Income?

by Lynne Davidson Jarrell Lynne has graciously volunteered to summarize the posts under Theme Three, from her perspective rather than mine. Note that she points to the posts relevant to each topic she covers (the numbers are hyperlinks). Each post on this blog is assigned a unique number in chronological order of posting, and all the posts for each theme are listed by number and title on the ri read more...

Does Business Education Improve the Business and Household Impacts of Microfinance?

I summarized the body of evidence regarding business profits and household income for credit groups (post # 30) and then added what we know about the same for savings groups (# 31). The evidence so far indicates that average business impacts are modest and average income impacts are minimal at best. Would the results be improved if we offered business education to these groups? I make a distinc read more...

Extending the Body of Evidence to Include Savings Groups

The last post (# 30) summarized the body of evidence such as it is for credit groups, touching very lightly on savings programs. Here I extend the body of evidence to include other research studies, specifically of the saving groups (SGs) independent of external lenders. The task is aided enormously by the excellent survey and consolidation of recent and emerging research results by my Freedom fro read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI—Part VII—the Body of Evidence

Grameen Foundation did a real service for those interested in microfinance impact research by commissioning two excellent review papers: Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Stock of What We Know by Nathanael Goldberg (2005) and Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Another Look by Kathleen Odell (2010). Both authors are solid researchers in their own right and bring that depth of u read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI—Part VI—Freedom from Hunger Studies

Continuing the quest for evidence of enough return on investment in income-generating activities (IGAs) to increase household income. Drawing from the paper written a decade ago by my Freedom from Hunger colleagues Barbara MkNelly and Mona McCord, this post focuses on results of four studies conducted by Freedom from Hunger in the 1990s—in coastal Ghana, the altiplano of Bolivia and the Sahel read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI—Part V—Freedom from Hunger Studies

Continuing the quest for evidence of enough return on investment in income-generating activities (IGAs) to increase household income. Drawing entirely this time from the paper written a decade ago by my Freedom from Hunger colleagues Barbara MkNelly and Mona McCord, this post focuses on results of four studies conducted by Freedom from Hunger in the 1990s—in coastal Ghana, the altiplano of Bo read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI – Part IV – Pitt & Khandker

Continuing the quest for evidence of enough return on investment in IGAs to increase household income. My last post (#26) reviewed the conclusions of the AIMS Project, especially the seminal paper by Sebstad and Cohen, which concluded 12 years ago that microfinance is more likely to help the poor manage risk (through consumption-smoothing and asset accumulation to protect against financial shoc read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI – Part III – USAID’s AIMS Project

Continuing the quest for evidence of enough return on investment in IGAs to increase household income. My last post (#25) reviewed the conclusions of Finance Against Poverty by David Hulme and Paul Mosley (Routledge, London, 1996). Their research in seven countries was excellent but inconclusive without the benefit of field experiments (RCTs). Still, it was enough to make a strong case that we read more...

Third Step: Manage the Business for Major ROI – Part II – Hulme & Mosley

The classic poverty reduction rationale for microfinance (the beating heart of public support) is that the poor make enough additional income from investment of their loans or savings in income-generating activities (IGA) to enhance their survival prospects. If not, then why bother with microfinance? It turns out this is not the only rationale these days, but in this and the next several posts, read more...