Issues in Designing Effective Microfinance Impact Assessment Systems
The authors note that a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods have been applied to provide rigorous analyses of the poverty impacts of microfinance. However, there has often been a strong perception amongst practitioners that formal impact assessment studies do not provide the detailed information about clients that mangers need to improve understanding and microfinance organisation practice.
The first part of the paper reviews the recent move in microfinance impact assessment away from narrow, donor-financed impact assessment events, towards more practitioner-focused processes. The second part offers a guide to an impact assessment process that is determined by context and audience, and allows diversity in purpose and the issues that impact assessment can address. The paper states that clarity in these is more likely to result in appropriate selection from a range of approaches and tools available to meet these objectives.