ABOUT GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS
Global Partnerships (GP) is an impact-firt investor whose mission is to expand opportunity for people living in poverty. GP invests in social enterprise partners that deliver high-impact products and services that enable people to earn a living and improve their lives. GP’s portfolio is comprised of a growing number of investment initiatives that are designed to address various facets of poverty.
GP is dedicated to understanding the outcomes achieved through its investments. GP employs an iterative impact management practice that draws on qualitative and quantitative data from various domains to gain deeper insight into what works, why, for whom, and under what circumstances. As part of its on-going learning program, GP launched a case study initiative with a select set of partners across several of its investment initiatives. This report describes the results from the case study, conducted by Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) in partnership with GP-investee, Idepro.
Idepro is a non-profit financial institution that is aligned with GP’s Rural Centered Finance with Education Initiative. The Bolivian microfinance institution (MFI) works across several value chains, offering specialized credit and technical assistance (TA) to underserved producers.
Idepro believes that providing working capital loans to small-scale producers will enable them to invest in their businesses. This will result in enterprise growth while TA can help producers eliminate other obstacles to success, such as a lack of business training. In the grape value chain, the focus of this case study, Idepro manages two programs offering different levels of assistance. In the Financia program, farmers receive loans and a tailored farm improvement plan, a basic TA offering.
In the Impacta program, clients receive loans and tailored improvement plans. They also receive on-going, in-depth TA from Idepro. Idepro is highly committed to the measurement of results, performing internal evaluations of their work in variou
Research Objectives and Design
GP and Idepro sought to answer four core research questions to gain deeper insight into the clients served and outcomes achieved through Idepro’s grape value chain:
What is the poverty profile of grape value chain clients?
Is the training delivered by Idepro increasing farmers’ agricultural knowledge and adoption of best practices?
Are clients demonstrating progress toward intermediate economic outcomes, such as improvement in yields, incomes, and the accumulation of assets?
Are clients making progress toward longer-term economic outcomes; specifically, are they displaying signs of improved economic resilience?
For each question, GP and Idepro also sought to understand whether there were differences between the Financia and the Impacta programs.
To answer these questions, MFO surveyed 299 grape value chain clients, including 249 of 493 Financia clients and 50 of 51 Impacta clients. MFO designed the survey, in consultation with GP and Idepro, to focus on important indicators to answer these research questions—it was not an exhaustive survey of farmers’ knowledge, behavior, or economic well-being. This study provides descriptive data on all surveyed clients and allows for some comparisons between the Financia and Impacta programs. MFO also included questions to examine how knowledge, behavior, and well-being have changed over time.
Results The results of this case study, which focused on the grape value chain, suggest that:
Clients are likely to be living in moderate poverty, with no significant difference in poverty levels between Financia and Impacta clients.
Idepro’s TA programs are effective in improving knowledge and changing farmer behavior, and the Impacta program is more effective than the Financia program at eliciting these changes.
Clients are likely improving their economic well-being but there is weak evidence at this point that one program is yielding better outcomes than the other.
Clients in both the Financia and Impacta programs still struggle to be resilient to economic shocks. This suggests that while economic well-being may be improving, it has not yet translated to long-term improvements in economic well-being.1
While monetary poverty lines serve as a guide, aspects of non-monetary poverty, such as food insecurity, remain important considerations as practitioners and investors think about the poverty profile of their target market.
This study demonstrates that technical assistance programs, such as Idepro’s Impacta program, can increase knowledge and change behavior. However additional research is needed to better understand which aspects of the program—including content, design, and delivery—are key to delivering these desired outcomes.
Practitioners and investors often focus on long term outcomes such as improved economic position and resiliency. While it is important to set these objectives, we must also develop informed and practical expectations regarding the time needed to deliver such results.
Furthermore, this study reminds us of the importance of identifying shorter term outcomes (such as knowledge and behavior change)
and then develop cost effective ways to track progress toward and correlation with longer term outcomes (such as improved economic position and resilience).
- While the data suggest improvement in economic well-being, the research design does not allow us to say definitively that these improvements are a result of participation in Idepro. In other words, we cannot say that farmers in either program have experienced improved economic well-being becauseof Idepro’s credit or programming.
- This analysis used a regression model that controlled for clients’ Idepro program participation, time in program, size of land owned, amount of land cultivated, education, and age. There are numerous other variables that effect agricultural production that the survey could not capture that could impact these results.
- This difference could be due to the fact that Impacta clients were more likely to keep records on their production, sales, and income and thus were able to recall these figures more accurately than Financia clients who relied predominantly on memory and perception.