Evaluating the impact of Friendship Bridge's microcredit plus program in Guatemala
Friendship Bridge's 2014-2016 Strategic Plan set out to add products and services relevant to clients at every stage of development, from first-time clients dreaming of a more stable future to experienced leaders searching for new opportunities and markets. The plan included continued, careful growth in the recruitment of new clients, growth of the portfolio, geographical expansion, and the development of corresponding staff and infrastructure to support this growth, with the continued goal of making a positive impact in the lives of clients, their children, and their communities.
This document reports Friendship Bridge’s achievements and learnings over the 2014-2016 period related to the client-centric, social performance objectives of the plan. The report analyzes client data (relevant to the 2014-2016 Strategic Planning period) to understand how clients fared and how Friendship Bridge’s interventions may have played a role in those outcomes. The summarized findings include:
Reduced Household Vulnerability – data showed a 2% net reduction in poverty, a positive trend in savings and food security, and approximately a third of clients gaining access to preventive health services.
Increased Empowerment – results indicate clients increasing leadership in their communities but not necessarily increasing participation in decision-making within the home or business. The social capital clients gain by being part of a group and learning from one another seems to be a critical lever in increasing self-esteem, a necessary precursor for taking action.
Business Development – close to 88% clients reported stable or increased income. Clients in the Artisan Market Access program doubled their number of employees and increased their sales by 42%, but the average client did not exhibit increased business knowledge or behavior.