Release of Grameen Foundation’s PPI® Global Use Report: Who is Measuring Poverty and How?

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Grameen Foundation made a Campaign Commitment broadly around the different uses of the PPI – On Thursday, April 17th Grameen is releasing the 2014 Global Use Report, thereby achieving the first benchmark of their Commitment. Below, Julie Peachey, Director of Social Performance Management at Grameen Foundation, shares some insights on those organizations dedicated to measuring poverty through the PPI. We invite you to read and share the full report and  read Grameen Foundation’s Campaign Commitment.

Grameen Foundation logoBefore becoming the Director of the Social Performance Management Center at Grameen Foundation  last fall, I spent three years in the Philippines working closely with CARD Bank, the largest microfinance provider in the country. I saw first-hand how social enterprises like CARD need to balance financial and social performance on a daily basis, and it’s not easy. With over a million clients to serve and thousands of employees to manage, the decisions to be made by CARD’s leadership are many and have a significant impact on the local community.

Grameen Foundation believes in data-driven performance management and decision making.  During our work over almost the last two decades, we saw that microfinance institutions (MFIs) were struggling to understand enough about their customers, and whether they were reaching as many poor clients as they thought.  Lenders, investors, and donors were also putting pressure on them to prove theywere achieving their missions.  We saw the need for a simple, cost-effective method that would allow MFIs and other organizations working with the poor to measure the poverty level of their clients.  In 2005, Grameen Foundation partnered with Mark Schreiner of Microfinance Risk Management L.L.C. to create the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®).

Now, CARD is just one of more than 200 organizations and businesses that use Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index to objectively measure client poverty. Today we are releasing our first Global Use Report on the PPI.  In this, we name the 200+ organizations that have reported that they are using the PPI. In my opinion, what is most striking about this list is the diversity of approaches being used to help the poor. Some provide financial services, some provide healthcare, and some are multi-national corporations that recognize poverty as a risk in their supply chains, just to name a few examples. On this list you will find nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, research organizations, investors, networks, and rating agencies. These organizations collectively operate in countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Some, like CARD, serve millions, and others are brand new initiatives serving just a few hundred. What these organizations have in common is leadership that is committed to understanding their customers and basing their decisions on evidence.

Global Use Report Cover Image

With the release of this report, we wanted to pause and acknowledge these organizations for measuring poverty and providing the rest of us with excellent examples of the different ways poverty data can be used to advance poverty alleviation.  I love reading about how Friendship Bridge uses the PPI to help shape their product and service offerings and how Samasource and iDE combine PPI data with other data from client/employee surveys to ensure they are reaching their target beneficiaries and to tweak strategy as needed. The leaders of these organizations understand that the more data they can access about their clients and their program’s social performance, the more likely they are to make smart decisions that result in success. This is especially true on days when the path towards blended financial and social success is not clear.

This family recently purchased a ceramic water filter product from Hydrologic, a social enterprise owned and operated by iDE, in Cambodia. Hydrologic routinely collects PPI data from their customers to ensure that product offerings are affordable for all segments of the market. (Photo credit: iDE)

This family recently purchased a ceramic water filter product from Hydrologic, a social enterprise owned and operated by iDE, in Cambodia. Hydrologic routinely collects PPI data from their customers to ensure that product offerings are affordable for all segments of the market. (Photo credit: iDE)

– Julie Peachey, Director of Social Performance Management

Recently, Grameen Foundation announced the way they are committed to helping 100 million lift themselves out of extreme poverty – by sharing the belief and encouraging the practice that “in order to end poverty, we must measure poverty”. To this end, Grameen Foundation announced their Campaign Commitment as:

  • Grameen Foundation will release in 2014 a Global Use Report on the PPI outlining those known users of the PPI to date to broaden understanding about the types of organizations utilizing the PPI and the purposes to which they have put the tool.
  • Grameen Foundation will also publish by the end of 2014 one or more case studies deeply investigating the benefits, challenges, and outcomes seen by organizations that are using the PPI.
  • Grameen Foundation India with support from DFID will produce by the end of 2014 four Poverty Outreach Reports detailing use and trends in social performance that can be derived from data gathered using the PPI from Indian practitioners.

The release of the 2014 Global Use Report marks the achievement of the first area of their Campaign Commitment and we’re excited to hear their progress as they move forward!

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