Impact performance measurement of microfinance institutions in 41 countries will launch in Q2 2022 with support from sector leaders.
In a global effort to promote standard, comparable impact outcomes data for the microfinance industry, 60 Decibels will release the first microfinance index driven entirely by end customer voices later this quarter. This groundbreaking initiative will include aggregated data from the customers of 72 participating microfinance institutions (MFIs), supported by 19 Founding Partners. Collected through phone surveys, the data and resulting insights will be shared in a public report and dashboard to establish performance benchmarks for ongoing impact measurement and management by MFIs and their funders.
Advans is proud to be one of the founding partners, supporting and collaborating on this initiative where MFIs from 41 countries have been included. "As a leading international microfinance network, Advans is excited to be part of the Financial Inclusion Index, as it will bring us unique insight and comparable impact data on seven of our subsidiaries. This is a great way for us to better understand the impact Advans financial services have on our clients’ businesses and lives and to identify what we need to improve to better support them in the future." commented Grégoire Danel-Fedou, Advans Group's DCEO.
For each participating MFI, 60 Decibels researchers survey a representative sample (200 – 250 respondents) of MFI customers and conduct a standardized phone survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data along five key dimensions of impact. The survey, developed by 60 Decibels and based on its experience working with hundreds of companies in the financial inclusion space, utilizes questions proven to assess and compare social outcomes across five impact themes: Access, Business Impact, Household Impact, Financial Management, and Resilience. The aggregated data from all participating MFIs will establish benchmarks to be shared in the public report, providing essential insight into the range of performance on these key outcomes to be utilized across the MFI industry.
“We started listening to end customers eight years ago because the standard of practice—things like counting the number of customers reached—wasn’t telling us if people’s lives were improving,” said Sasha Dichter, CEO and co-founder of 60 Decibels. “We’re thrilled at the response to this initiative and the collaboration of so many industry leaders to listen better and set a new standard in understanding social outcomes. This Index brings the value of our impact benchmarks to a new level and helps MFIs and investors understand customer outcomes with 100% comparability for each and every metric.”
In addition to providing insights that will be directly applicable for impact management in the microfinance sector, the index signals and demonstrates the value of rigorous outcomes data from end stakeholders for understanding impact performance. In the coming year, 60 Decibels will produce sector-level benchmarks through similar index efforts in other sectors to elevate the importance of listening to end stakeholders to drive greater impact.
The index is designed to complement and integrate with existing frameworks and standards in microfinance, impact investing, and international development. Participation in the MFI Index to conduct surveys with clients provides MFIs and investors with feedback on the practices recommended by SPTF and CERISE in the Universal Standards and the Client Protection Principles, as well as the SDG Impact Standards, and provides data aligned to IRIS+ metrics and the five dimensions of impact guidance established by the Impact Management Project.