Rural finance impact evaluation – global best practices

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Thursday, September 2nd, 15.00-16.00 CET


The rural finance project management units of International Organizations are generally able to monitor their achieved implementation progress and immediate results in increased household / SME access to rural financial services.

However, project management units are facing challenges in assessing the outcomes of rural finance projects on beneficiaries’ livelihoods and in attributing financial inclusion to livelihood enhancement. Due to the increased types of Rural Finance Providers, the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of rural finance projects necessitates the development of different approaches and indicators. For instance, Mobile Network Operators, Banks, Microfinance Institutions and FinTech Companies engaged in delivering rural finance may require distinct indicators. Poor data quality, time and resource availability and allocation are also challenges that limit the effectiveness of M&E activities.

Countries offices have increasing demand for further technical support to adequately evaluate the impact of rural finance projects on household livelihoods and other valuable outcomes as end results from increased access to finance. In particular, skills for the design of theory-based evaluation approaches for Rural Finance projects are in demand, including the development of appropriate theories of change and indicators.

This webinar is organized by the CABFIN partnership.



This webinar aims to discuss the M&E support needs of rural finance projects, with a specific focus on the challenges experienced by IFAD country offices in Eastern and Southern Africa countries. On behalf of CGAP, FAO and the CABFIN network, the author will present CGAP’s Theory of Change for financial inclusion. Follow by selected good practices and case studies of data collection and impact evaluation frameworks presented by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF).


The speakers for this webinar are featuring experts from development agencies and foundations actively involved in extending financial services to rural households. They will discuss their experiences on the current challenges and successes in their Rural Finance portfolio evaluation, and how to adequately promote innovation in the research methodologies used to evaluate the impact of Financial Inclusion, with selected case studies.


Fletcher Chilumpha, Chief Technical Advisor for The Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprise (FARMSE) programme

Fletcher Chilumpha is leading a technical team implementing a rural finance and an ultra-poor graduation initiative, the Malawi FARMSE programme, financed by IFAD. Prior to joining FARMSE, Fletcher worked as Programme Manager for UNCDF and UNDP on a joint initiative aimed at creating an inclusive financial sector in Malawi. Fletcher’s main areas of expertise include digital financial services, payments digitization, financial sector policy and financial inclusion in general. He holds a masters’ degrees in Banking and Finance from Bangor University, UK.


Silvia Storchi, Rural Finance Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Silvia joined FAO as a Rural Finance Specialist in 2020. Prior to joining FAO, Silvia has worked as an independent researcher for OPM, FSD Kenya, Bath SDR and CGAP, and as a Programme and M&E Manager for SaveAct in South Africa. Silvia has a background in Economics, holds an MSc in Wellbeing and Human Development and a PhD in Social and Policy Sciences from the University of Bath. Her main areas of expertise include savings groups’ programmes, women’s financial inclusion, qualitative research approaches, and the role of research for the design of financial inclusion policies and programmes that can promote a better quality of life for low-income and disadvantaged people.


Stéphanie García Van Gool, Director of the Impact Assessment Team of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF)

Stéphanie joined the foundation in June 2015. She develops the Group’s social performance management strategy to drive impact across the portfolio. Prior to BBVAMF, at Palladium Capital (formerly Enclude Capital Advisory) she was involved in several equity sale transactions in South East Asia and other global fund structuring deals. She also worked at UBS HNW Clients Investment Banking, in Spain. Stephanie graduated in Economics from the University of Navarre and holds an executive master of INSEAD in Corporate Financial Strategy in Global Markets.


Lixia Yang, Rural Finance Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Lixia joined FAO in early 2020 as a Rural Finance Specialist. She works on a joint programme implemented by the Fishery Division with the support of the Inclusive Rural Finance team to increase access to adequate financial services to small-scale fishers and make the necessary transition to sustainable fishing operations. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as a Relationship Officer, and Business Banking in HSBC Group for SME cross-border financing. Lixia has a background in Actuarial Science and Human Rights. She holds a MA in Human Rights and Multi-Level Governance from the University of Padova and University of London, with field research on the Access to Finance in several refugee camps in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Her focus is on Microfinance, Refugee Economics, and Impact Investment.

Opening Remark

Sauli Hurri, Regional Senior Specialist for Rural Finance and Value Chains at International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Sauli Hurri holds a Master Degree from Helsinki University. He worked with NGOs in Berlin, Finnish Government in Helsinki, ILO in Vietnam, IFAD in Southeast Asia region, ILO/WB in Laos, and now based in Nairobi with IFAD as Regional Senior Specialist for Rural Finance and Value Chains.