Expanding Financial Inclusion (EFI) in Africa, with support from Itad, held a highly participated webinar in which project staff shared key learnings for refining the SILC-PSP methodology, using a mixed methods approach to measuring poverty outreach, and understanding the financial behavior of SILC participants.
The webinar started with a brief introduction by EFI Chief of Party, Amy Davis, sharing how productive the EFI project has been. In total, 842 certified PSPs formed 20,273 groups, reaching 543,220 members. Seventy-six percent of these members were women and less than 1% dropped out. They saved an average of $64 per year, and had a 28% return on savings. Amy also laid the groundwork for EFI’s robust learning agenda, setting the stage for the rest of the webinar.
marc bavois, CRS’ Microfinance Technical Advisor, and the technical lead for the EFI project, gave a brief overview of the SILC-PSP methodology, and the operational learning that took place in this project, and the implications this has on CRS’ future programs. To learn more about this research, visit SILC & PSP Methodology in the Research & Publications section of the website. One of these operational learnings was related to poverty outreach, and marc left this point to be covered by Julie Lawson-McDowall, EFI’s Research Coordinator.
Julie began by explaining EFI’s innovative pro-poor strategy, which recognized that the saving is a challenge for the poorest, who have a greater chance of being financially excluded than their wealthier peers. In response, EFI designed and implemented a suite of activities, called the Pro-Poor Package (PPP), in an attempt to reach the poorest of the poor in the project’s coverage areas, including working through other pro-poor institutions, adjusting the SILC model to remove barriers to participation and meet their needs. Poverty outreach and inclusion results were measured across all four countries using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI, recently renamed the Poverty Probability Index), and studied further in Zambia using the Financial Diaries, and with in-depth ethnographic research in Senegal and Uganda. Julie presented the main findings from the PPI analysis and the Ethnographic research. These findings showed that EFI successfully reached poor households. Samuel Beecher, the Research Officer for EFI, then reviewed findings from the SILC Financial Diaries research project in Zambia.
Samuel’s presentation focused on an in-depth analysis about how the poor used the financial tools offered by SILC. The data showed that the participating households were successful in accumulating abnormally large sums of cash through small, frequent deposits. He then reviewed how the households spent the large sums of cash they received from the share-out to invest in assets, business, and education to improve their quality of life. Lastly, Samuel covered how SILC households were more likely to take out SILC loans in weeks in which they did not earn any income, compared to weeks in which they did. This, together with data from in-depth interviews, show that households used the SILC loans to help manage cash flows.
The webinar audience was engaged and asked questions about the PSP methodology, the different methods used for poverty analysis, and how do the poor manage to save?
If you are interested in learning about the material in this webinar, you can view the PowerPoint, EFI Webinar on Key Learnings, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org