Better Loans for Better Homes: A New Assessment Tool Helps Microfinance Institutions Increase Their Housing Impact
Most housing in developing countries is self-built and incremental, and these homeowners frequently turn to microfinance institutions (MFIs) to finance it. But according to Naeem Razwani and Jitendra Balanirom of Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and Olivia Nielsen of Miyamoto International, this type of construction process can lead to severe quality and structural issues – while also increasing the lending risk for MFIs. They discuss how a new assessment tool can help these lenders understand and optimize the impact of their home loans to better meet the needs of this market.
Addressing the Unanswered Questions of Sustainable Development: How ‘Lean Experimentation’ Can Boost the SDGs
The deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals is growing closer, and with many targets well behind schedule, extraordinary efforts will be necessary to achieve them. Toshi Nakamura at Kopernik argues that these efforts will require the development sector to quickly answer an important question: Which interventions are effective – and which are not? To that end, he explores the value of Kopernik's "lean experimentation" approach, which can be used to assess a wide range of interventions, to quickly determine which are worth scaling or replicating.
- Impact Assessment
2020 MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTICLE CANDIDATE: Impact Measurement and Management During COVID-19: Tips and Resources to Help Social Impact Organizations Adapt
As the scope of the COVID-19 economic crisis becomes clear, social impact organizations are scrambling to cut costs. According to Matthew Guttentag and Mallory St. Claire at ANDE, this might lead them to reduce their focus on impact measurement and management (IMM). They explain why this would be a mistake – and how organizations can adapt their IMM activities during the crisis.
Taking Control of the Value for Money Narrative: How Innovative Metrics Are Making Impact Part of the Financial Equation
The nonprofit VisionSpring—which provides affordable, high-quality eyeglasses to base of the pyramid customers—realized it needed a metric that could balance cost and impact, while keeping its target customers at the center of decision-making. Analysts at CASE and SoJo discuss the value of the “programmatic value for money metric” VisionSpring implemented, and explore how this type of metric can help organizations consider trade-offs between cost and impact.
Ceniarth describes itself as an "impact-first investor," but as senior impact manager Julia Mensink points out, even with its commitment and resources, it has found that there is no simple solution to measuring impact well. She explores what Ceniarth learned by asking all its investees how they measure impact, and shares key insights which may be useful to other investors looking to deepen their impact measurement practices.
India’s Self-Help Groups Need Help: How to Strengthen a Proven Model to Support Women’s Recovery From the COVID-19 Crisis
Women’s empowerment is a growing focus in the development sector, but COVID-19 is putting the hard-won progress women have made in recent years at risk. Moin Qazi highlights one way to support women in emerging countries: the self-help group model. He discusses how these groups operate in India, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they could be leveraged to address the current crisis.
India faces an annual financing gap of US $565 billion in achieving its SDG targets - which creates a huge opportunity for impact investors. But according to Mohit Saini at the Fletcher School, the country's investors have no specific, well-accepted definition of impact. He discusses this challenge, and how standardized, sector-specific metrics could help address it.
A Pandemic Response Based on Listening: Leveraging Customer Interviews to Understand COVID-19’s Impact in the Developing World
As COVID-19 spread around the world early this year, there was a flurry of data about its impact. But nearly all of it was gathered via online surveys, which omitted the 50% of the global population that lacks internet access. 60 Decibels responded by launching phone surveys with over 10,000 people in 13 developing countries to discuss their challenges and unmet needs. Kat Harrison discusses what they found.