13 April 2022

Impact performance measurement of microfinance institutions in 41 countries will launch in Q2 2022 with support from sector leaders.

April 13, 2022 – In a global effort to promote standard, comparable impact outcomes data for the microfinance industry, 60 Decibels will release the first microfinance index driven entirely by end customer voices later this quarter. This groundbreaking initiative will include aggregated data from the customers of 72 participating microfinance institutions (MFIs), supported by 19 Founding Partners. Collected through phone surveys, the data and resulting insights will be shared in a public report and dashboard to establish performance benchmarks for ongoing impact measurement and management by MFIs and their funders.

Global MFI participation has been made possible by 19 Founding Partners supporting and collaborating on this initiative: Accion, Advans, BRAC, ECLOF, FMO, Fundación Netri, Global Partnerships, Grameen Foundation, Kiva, LeapFrog Investments, MCE Social Capital, Nordic Microfinance Initiative, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, ResponsAbility, SPTF, Symbiotics, WaterEquity, and Women’s World Banking. Catalytic, field-building sponsorship for this inaugural effort came from the Tipping Point Foundation on Impact Investing and Ceniarth. Together, these sponsors and founding partners have provided project funding and engaged their portfolios to include MFIs from 41 countries in this research.

“As an investor in microfinance for 14 years, the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation is really excited to participate in this initiative and to support its partners in gathering this outcome data. When issuing its impact model in 2020, the Foundation committed to further monitor its impact, so we’re happy for our team to have comparable impact outcome data for the first time” said Alice Rullier, Impact Analyst at the Foundation.

For each participating MFI, 60 Decibels researchers survey a representative sample (200 – 250 respondents) of MFI customers and conduct a standardized phone survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data along five key dimensions of impact. The survey, developed by 60 Decibels and based on its experience working with hundreds of companies in the financial inclusion space, utilizes questions proven to assess and compare social outcomes across five impact themes: Access, Business Impact, Household Impact, Financial Management, and Resilience. The aggregated data from all participating MFIs will establish benchmarks to be shared in the public report, providing essential insight into the range of performance on these key outcomes to be utilized across the MFI industry.

“We started listening to end customers eight years ago because the standard of practice—things like counting the number of customers reached—wasn’t telling us if people’s lives were improving,” said Sasha Dichter, CEO and co-founder of 60 Decibels. “We’re thrilled at the response to this initiative and the collaboration of so many industry leaders to listen better and set a new standard in understanding social outcomes. This Index brings the value of our impact benchmarks to a new level and helps MFIs and investors understand customer outcomes with 100% comparability for each and every metric.”

In addition to providing insights that will be directly applicable for impact management in the microfinance sector, the index signals and demonstrates the value of rigorous outcomes data from end stakeholders for understanding impact performance. In the coming year, 60 Decibels will produce sector-level benchmarks through similar index efforts in other sectors to elevate the importance of listening to end stakeholders to drive greater impact.

The index is designed to complement and integrate with existing frameworks and standards in microfinance, impact investing, and international development. Participation in the MFI Index to conduct surveys with clients provides MFIs and investors with feedback on the practices recommended by SPTF and CERISE in the Universal Standards and the Client Protection Principles, as well as the SDG Impact Standards, and provides data aligned to IRIS+ metrics and the five dimensions of impact guidance established by the Impact Management Project.

Learn more and sign up to receive the 60 Decibels Financial Inclusion Index here.

About 60 Decibels

60 Decibels is a global, tech-enabled impact measurement company that brings speed and repeatability to social impact measurement and customer insights. We provide genuine benchmarks of impact performance, enabling organizations to understand impact relative to peers and set performance targets. We have a network of 850+ researchers in 70+ countries, and have worked with more than 800 of the world’s leading impact investors, companies, foundations, corporations, NGOs, and public sector organisations. 60 Decibels makes it easy to listen to the people who matter most.

About the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation

Created in 2008 under the joint leadership of Crédit Agricole S.A. executives and Professor Yunus, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation supports microfinance institutions and social enterprises in 37 countries at the end of 2021. As a recognized player in the sector, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation aims to work in countries where poverty and financial exclusion are the most significant. As an investor, lender, technical assistance coordinator and funds advisor, the Foundation supports 81 partners in 37 countries with more than €78 million in commitments.