Tracking The Fight Against Poverty In the Cloud

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May 31, 2011

Steve Wright is Director of the Social Performance Management Center at Grameen Foundation.

The team at the Grameen Foundation Social Performance Management Center (SPMC) is trying to solve a problem fundamental to poverty alleviation: how to accurately measure who is reaching the poor and to what extent. The Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®)  is the necessary first step toward addressing those questions. An easy-to-use tool, it enables microfinance institutions (MFIs) to obtain consistent, measurable and reliable data, as well as giving them the ability to use the results to improve their services to the poor. The PPI is currently the industry-standard poverty measurement tool used by MFIs globally.

Over the last four years, Grameen Foundation staff has heard from MFIs, as well as from MFI networks and associations, that they need to integrate PPI data with their management information systems to gain critical business intelligence (for example, to learn how a particular loan product is performing at a particular level). We have worked closely with these organizations to understand their requirements and prototype the tools that they need.

Today, we’re delighted to announce that we will be creating a PPI management tool that users will access via the Internet. This new, cloud-based PPI application – made possible by generous funding from The Moody’s Foundation and built on the Force.com platform from Salesforce.com – will make the PPI even more dynamic and easier to use, enabling more organizations to use it to collect, analyze and report social performance data.

“The Moody’s Foundation is proud to partner with Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Management Center to support an initiative that fits well with Moody's interest in contributing to scaling of the microfinance market,” says Frances G. Laserson, President of The Moody’s Foundation. “Our $200,000 grant will help increase the effectiveness of the PPI Cloud application, which supports microfinance institution as they scale their use of the Progress out of Poverty Index.”

By developing and managing the PPI Cloud application, Grameen Foundation will be able to:

  1. Provide a powerful and intuitive reports and analytics engine so that poverty-fighting organizations can use the PPI to make business decisions specifically designed to help the poor.
  2. Make PPI adoption easier by providing simple useful features for implementing, administering and maintaining the PPI in any organization.
  3. Gain the trust and confidence of our users by building the application on the industry leading security and reliability of the Force.com platform from Salesforce.com.
  4. Promote industry-wide insight by facilitating data reporting and aggregation.

By reporting social performance results alongside financial data, we can provide investors – particularly social investors, raters and other third parties – with the information required to make holistic evaluations of their performance. This will help inform investment decisions that enable microfinance to live up to its billing as a business that delivers social returns.

The PPI Cloud application, with data entry and reporting functionality available through the Internet (which will relieve MFIs of the need to manage their own software and hardware), will solve the struggles that MFIs have faced while helping to expand use of the PPI and meet the high demand of existing users for an online tool. We are pleased to have The Moody’s Foundation as a strategic partner in helping us to make the PPI Cloud application a reality.

Comments

That's exciting to read that the technology for monitoring, maintaining and reporting on the PPI continues to evolve and grow. I'm glad that Grameen recognizes the need to continuously improve the tools available for MFIs to be able to effectively serve their clients.

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