Microfinance and Poverty: Report from a One-day Seminar

Proceedings from the seminar “"Microfinance and Poverty”," 4 May 2003, Polokwane, South Africa
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This report introduces Imp-Act as an action-research program designed to improve the quality of microfinance services and their impact on poverty. The report lists the objectives of the seminar:

  • Collating and synthesizing the available simple, cost-effective, verifiable procedures for monitoring and reporting on poverty outreach and social performance;
  • Linking these to internationally comparable measures.

The report reviews the progress of theImp-Act program in contributing to the global efforts of increasing transparency and effectiveness in poverty outreach and in the impact of microfinance. Drawing from numerous case studies, the paper provides links to presentations and papers presented during the seminar. The paper recommends the following for effective impact evaluation of microfinance organizations:

  • Using effective sampling methodology and adequate sampling;
  • Concentrating on identifying trends wherever measuring impacts is not possible;
  • Developing systems and protocols for reporting on social performance indicators;
  • Developing poverty assessment methods which lead to useful information on micro-lending and savings;
  • Identifying standard poverty assessment methods.

The paper concludes that effective evaluation of impacts is necessary to ensure accountability and optimal utilization of resources.

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