The CGAP-Ford Graduation Program commissioned research using randomized control trials on these eight graduation programs:
- Bandhan in India
- SKS in India
- Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund in Pakistan
- Plan International and Organización de Desarollo Empresarial Feminino Social in Honduras
- Plan International and Asociación Arariwa in Peru
- Relief Society of Tigray (REST) in Ethiopia
- Social Welfare Fund and Social Fund for Development in Yemen
- Presbyterian Agricultural Services and Innovations for Poverty Action in Ghana
The tests showed positive results in four of the five studies, with significant increases in food security, income, assets, mental health, and hope. “These are very, very good results,” said Esther Duflo, director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I don’t think you could have expected anything much better.” 
The Microcredit Summit Campaign has joined with the Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence initiative to help promote industry-wide learning from institutions like Bandhan and Fonkoze that can demonstrate that they reach people living in poverty and are helping their clients achieve positive results in their lives.
The goal for the Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence is to set a vision for the microfinance sector that prioritizes effective poverty outreach and quality data collection and analysis. Through its focus on successful models, the Seal will define pathways to better outcomes. Reaching this goal will be a long-term commitment.
Started in 2010, the Seal is a global initiative to focus on outcomes in microfinance. The Seal recognizes those practitioner institutions which are doing the most to reach people living in poverty and to create positive and enduring change in their lives. The Seal will collect and share effective practices of these practitioners and, in so doing, will promote a learning community of microfinance practitioners, networks, donors, investors, policymakers, regulators, researchers, and others who want to see measurable progress for poor families. All stakeholders stand to benefit by being able to clearly identify those who are acting in the service of poor clients.
The Seal builds upon and reinforces the work of the Smart Campaign for Client Protection and the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), both of which are represented on the Steering Committee. The Seal focuses a lens of poverty on these initiatives and, by collecting and sharing rigorous, objective, and concrete evidence of success, reinvigorates the role of financial services as a powerful tool and platform in the fight against poverty. Further, the Seal represents the first major initiative to focus on client outcomes and is complementary to and creates a simple focal point for the efforts of Smart Campaign, SPTF, the Microfinance Information Exchange, and others working on accountability in the industry.
Today, the Seal has completed its alpha testing and evaluated seven diverse MFIs during its beta testing. The Steering and Technical Committees have made significant progress in building both the evaluation methodology and strategy for the Seal. The Seal assessment is expected to be rolled out in the second quarter of 2013, including a public launch at the SPTF annual meeting in Panama.
For more information, visit http://sealofexcellence.wordpress.com/.
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Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Reaching Fewer
- The Promise of Mobile Technology
- The Psychology of Scarcity
- Developing Appropriate Products
- Conclusion and Recommendations
- Get Your Copy