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Expanding knowledge on poverty measurement

February 24, 2016 by Julie Peachey

In early 2014, Grameen Foundation made several commitments, as part of the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s 100 Million Project, towards achievement of the collective goal of helping 100 million families escape poverty. Our commitments focused on demonstrating use of the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®) for measuring household-level poverty, because reaching and lifting people out of poverty requires knowing who is actually poor.

A brief summary of our progress against the three commitments is as follows:

COMMITMENT 1: RELEASE A GLOBAL USE REPORT ON THE PPI
We released the 2014 “Global Use Report” profiling the known users of the PPI at the time with the objective of broadening understanding of the types and locations of organizations utilizing the PPI and the various ways the tool and resulting data has been put to use.

Since publishing that report in mid-2014, we continue to track the number of known PPI users, which is currently up to more than 430. Many of these organizations can be found listed on the PPI website. Our website attracts approximately 24,000 visitors annually with 100 new accounts created (for downloading scorecards and learning materials) and 1,000 documents downloaded per month.

COMMITMENT 2: PUBLISH CASE STUDIES OF ORGANIZATIONS USING THE PPI
We published several case studies and blog posts investigating the benefits, challenges, and outcomes seen by organizations using the PPI. These include an in-depth case study on PRIDE Microfinance Ltd’s decision to use the PPI and its challenges and lessons learned in implementing it and integrating it into its core banking system. We profiled how Vision Fund uses the PPI to track change in poverty levels of their clients over time, how a pro-poor market development program called Katalyt uses the PPI to measure social performance, and how a team of researchers in Malawi used the PPI in a study of pediatric cataract surgery services to determine how to increase uptake of the free service among children in poorer communities. See more on the PPI blog.

COMMITMENT 3: RELEASE FOUR POVERTY OUTREACH REPORTS FOR INDIA
Grameen Foundation India, commissioned by DFID, produced a first-of-its-kind multiple state poverty outreach study of microfinance in India. The study looks at the poverty profile (using the PPI) of new clients recruited by MFIs in four states, how those poverty profiles compare to the corresponding state-level poverty rates, differences in MFI poverty outreach between different regions of a given state, and differences in MFI poverty outreach between rural and urban areas in a given state. The results have been presented to DFID, and will be published in 2016.

Last year, Grameen Foundation, with the support of IFC and Cisco Foundation, also released a report analyzing the factors influencing poverty outreach across six countries in Latin America. As one of the IFC team members commented when discussing the study results, one of the most important things coming out of the study was understanding what we can learn from using the PPI and that IFC should be using this cost-effective tool more.

We are excited and proud that other organizations have linked their commitments to use and integration of the PPI in their operations and technology systems, like Vision Fund, Musoni, and Mifos. Grameen Foundation is committed to ensuring a long-term sustainable future for the PPI, and we look forward to sharing news about that later this year.

This article was originally posted on the 100 Million Ideas Blog.