The importance of measuring client outcomes

Outcomes process

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The World Bank is hosting a day-long event today (as I write this, actually) presenting lessons and implications of the latest research on microcredit. Based on the swiftness of my Twitter feed, the event, “Financial Services for the Poor: Lessons and Implications of the Latest Research on Credit,” is very popular and timely. (You can follow it using the hashtags #WBlive and #Microcredit2015.) Much of the evidence shared this morning (when they had a live video feed of the event), confirmed our understanding that microcredit alone is not enough.[1]

Indeed, the speakers in the 10 AM session (agenda), in response to an audience question, “If you had $1 million, how much of it would you put toward microfinance?”, recommended that we should invest our money in human capitol, namely early childhood education and conditional cash transfers (CCTs).

We would add health-related products and services: from health education for positive behavior change to healthcare delivery, and everything in between. We also believe that it is essential to measure and track the client outcomes of our interventions over time — be they microcredit, savings, insurance, or non-financial products and services.

On February 4th, the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Outcomes Working Group hosted a virtual meeting on the “Selection of Outcomes Indicators.” The purpose of this working group is to develop practical guidelines for credible measurement of and reporting on outcomes, drawing on experience with different approaches and tools.

Frances Sinha of EDA Rural Systems introduced the session and explain how theory of change connects to indicators. Bobbi Gray of Freedom from Hunger explained the criteria applied to developing outcomes indicators — including a new set of Health Outcome Performance Indicators (HOPI) in partnership with the Microcredit Summit Campaign — and lessons learned. Anne Hastings of the Microfinance CEO Working Group discussed their plans for laying the groundwork for a common measurement and monitoring system.

Feb 5th meeting resources

If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of the Health Outcomes Performance Indicators, join us on March 4th with the SEEP Network’s HAMED Working Group for the webinar, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: How MFIs Can Track the Health of Clients.”


SPTF’s Outcomes Working Group will host a repeat of their December 14th virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd at 4 AM (EST) // 9 AM (GMT) // 12 PM (East Africa) // 2:30 PM (India). Panelists will discuss the Theory of Change and how it helps us think about what to measure and when.

Recordings and materials from the original meeting (December 14th) are available online.

Speakers:

  • Frances Sinha, EDA Rural Systems
  • Anton Simanowitz, Independent consultant

The idea of a Theory of Change is now increasingly applied to strategic planning. It is beginning to be applied to measurement of change. This webinar will review the framework of a Theory of Change and to discuss how it can help an institution think through the ways in which it aims to achieve change, what inputs lead to what outcomes, and the time frame for expected change to take place. These are questions that are fundamental to appropriate research design and help in identifying relevant outcome indicators (short-term and long-term) and in analyzing the data to reflect a relevant sequence of inputs, outputs and outcomes.

About the Outcomes Working Group

  • Facilitator: Frances Sinha, director of EDA Rural Systems (India) and SPTF Board member.
  • Purpose: Develop practical guidelines for credible measurement of and reporting on outcomes, drawing on experience with different approaches and tools.
  • Introductory presentation

[1] Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) “Repeat session of the Outcomes Work Group: Theory of Change” WebEx meeting.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 4:00 am | Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)

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Meeting number: 315 311 993
Meeting password: sptf

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1-877-668-4493 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada)
1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
Access code: 315 311 993

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2 thoughts on “The importance of measuring client outcomes

  1. Pingback: Measuring what’s important: client transformation | 100 Million Ideas

  2. Pingback: Measuring Transformation | Center for Financial Inclusion blog

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