News Round-up for Friday, July 5 happy hour reading! Come on, you know you’re going to be talking shop at happy hour anyway.

Below is a round up of this week’s microfinance news. We thank our colleagues for the wonderful work they do in advancing our knowledge of best practices and innovations, as well as challenging us all to remain true to our social mission.

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Wrap-Up of The Evidence Project—What the Evidence Tells Us
June 28, 2013 | The Evidence Project
By Chris Dunford, @DunfordEvidence

A Ghanaian explains her microfinance passbook to Chris Dunford, who is drawing on 35 years as practitioner and researcher to lead The Evidence Project blog. (Photo:  Freedom from Hunger)

Chris Dunford with a Ghanaian client

This is the culmination of my 15-month exploration of what we are learning about microfinance and world hunger—not just what Freedom from Hunger is learning from its own research into what works and what doesn’t, but also the research of others looking at similar strategies and populations around the world…

We can never prove our hypothesis is correct; there is always the possibility that the next study may conclusively refute it. Nonetheless, with compelling evidence from varied sources (triangulation), we can make good judgments about the likelihood we are correct.

What does The Evidence Project tell us?

Read more — and come to the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty to find partners in your fight against poverty this October 9 – 11 in Manila, Philippines!

Top 7 Opportunities for Funders to Advance Microinsurance
July 2, 2013 | CGAP
By Therese Sandmark (Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation, @1creditagricole) & Craig Churchill (ILO’s Social Finance Programme, @ILONEWS)

The Funder Discussion Group of the Microinsurance Network (MIN) has identified “7 Top Opportunities” for funders to contribute to the healthy development of the sector:.

  1. Support market development
  2. Catalyse innovation to reduce costs and enhance client value
  3. Build capacity
  4. Promote data collection and transparency
  5. Facilitate information sharing
  6. Fund impact research
  7. Investing in stronger structures

Read more.

CRISIL Inclusix: An Index to Measure India’s Progress on Financial Inclusion
June 2013 | Microfinance Gateway
Published by CRISIL, @CRISILLimited

Summary provided by the Microfinance Gateway

CRISIL Inclusix is a benchmark index developed to measure the extent of financial inclusion in India…The paper provides a bird’s eye view on the state of financial inclusion in the country as well as district-level information about the progress made on financial inclusion. Findings include:

  • All-India CRISIL Inclusix score of 40.1 on a scale of 100 reflects under penetration of formal banking facilities in most parts of the country;
  • Wide disparities exist across India and within states in terms of access to financial services;
  • Key driver for the continued high performance of the top 50 districts is the significant increase in deposit and branch penetration.

Read more or download the report directly.

How the Poor are Saving for Change
July 2, 2013 | Financial Access Initiative, @financialaccess
By Alicia Brindisi

Saving for Change participants in Mali are conducting their meeting. (Photo: Jeff Ashe)

Saving for Change participants in Mali are conducting their meeting. (Photo: Jeff Ashe)

Last month Oxfam America, Freedom from Hunger, and the Strømme Foundation released the results of a three year in-depth study evaluating their joint Savings for Change (SfC) program in Mali…

The study found that women in the treatment program took out twice as many loans from savings groups and saved 31% more than those in control villages. Additionally, they were 10% less likely to be chronically food insecure and held $120 more in livestock, a difference of 13%.

Read more or download the report summary directly.