My bottom-line framing of this entire issue is related to a basic question: why we do this kind of social science research at all? In my mind, we do it for one reason: in combating societal problems such as poverty, we want to do more of what works well, and less of what doesn’t work, or works less well. Period. If research contributes to that, I will call it successful and effective. If not does not, I will call it a failure – no matter how elegant the research design or how smart the investigators. This is my take on the design principle of “relevance” which we have been discussing today.
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
It’s made its way into the hands of the farmer and the tailor and the day labourer who is as comfortable using it as the high-powered CEO. From Los Angeles to Kampala, the mobile phone has become ubiquitous, bridging class divides, gender differences, generational gaps and territorial boundaries. And in sub Saharan Africa, it has gone further than any piece of modern technology in becoming something rural people use daily. It’s no wonder that the mobile phone is generally viewed as one of the keys to reaching people who previously weren’t accessible because of various infrastructural constraints.
As part of our AppLab Money India initiative, Grameen Foundation is collaborating with ThinkPlace to design a new suite of loan products for clients of Grameen Koota, a microfinance institution in Bangalore. In this blog, which first ran on ThinkPlace's website, Mark Thompson shares his insights on working with the women Grameen Koota serves.
Sometimes you come across a project that not only makes you want to drop everything and start working on it straight away, but changes your life as well.
We work on a lot of great projects at ThinkPlace, but my most recent project was eye opening, challenging and rewarding all at once.
The journey started with a lot of pre project research, but this story began with a flight to India.
ThinkPlace partnered with Grameen Foundation to look at a product suite for income generating loans for their client Grameen Koota, a Micro Finance Institution (MFI).
As a result of a complex combination of unwarranted attacks and self-inflicted wounds, the microfinance sector in India experienced a crisis starting in late 2010 after many years of strong growth and recognition for its contribution to poverty alleviation and financial inclusion. When I was asked to give a keynote address at a microfinance conference in India in 2012, I said that it was important to leverage the sector’s strengths and accomplishments, while also addressing its failures and shortcomings.
Camilla Nestor, Grameen Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Global Solutions, teaches a financial inclusion course at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. As part of her course, students submitted blog posts that were evaluated by professors and Grameen Foundation’s communications staff. The second of the two winning posts is featured here.