Poverty Reduced Through Microfinance: The Impact of ASHI in the Philippines
This paper presents the findings of a practitioner-led evaluation of Ahon sa Hirap (ASHI) in the Philippines. The tools were developed by Assessing the Impact of Micro enterprise Services (AIMS) and adapted by CASHPOR-PHILNET.
The main objectives of the assessment were:
- Provide immediate feedback on the impact of the program on poverty status, welfare and empowerment of its clients;
- Investigate why clients leave;
- Find out the ways in which the clients are satisfied or dissatisfied;
- Explore why clients use loans and make savings the way they do;
- Provide a training ground for CASHPOR and PHILNET for capacity building.
Some of the key findings were:
- Impact on poverty was marked: at entry 76% of ASHI's clients were very poor, now only 13% are in this category;
- 54% owned productive assets and more than half lived in houses which score above the poverty line;
- Almost half of those who left the program, left because of problems in their groups; clients are most likely to leave in the first two years;
- The strongest recommendation for change was limited access to Group Fund loans, the use and ownership of Salamat Fund, repeated compulsory group training, reduction of loan proposal based on poor performance of others and delayed loan releases.
Some of the recommendations that the paper presents are:
- Develop new loan products;
- Provide easier access to Group Fund;
- Recognize reality of periodic shortages of working capital and address them with savings or insurance products.