Freedom from Hunger is committed to sharing what we learn with the rest of the field. Our expert staff members are regularly called upon to contribute commentary, articles and chapters for trade publications, technical journals and books.
We are pleased to provide the following list of published works authored or co-authored by Freedom from Hunger staff, past and present. These articles are generally available for free download in PDF format or via links to other websites. In some cases, articles have been published by journals that provide access only by subscription or purchase.
The titles are listed according to the date of publication, starting with the most recent articles. We provide complete citation information for the convenience of researchers wanting to cite the publication in their own work and provide access to French or Spanish versions, when available.
We sincerely hope you will find these articles useful for broadening your understanding of value-added microfinance and related topics.
Leveraging the Power of Women’s Groups and Financial Services to Improve Knowledge and Behaviors for Improved Child and Maternal Nutrition.
Rao, S., B. Gray, M. Metcalfe, and S. Dutta. 2014. POSHAN Implementation Note 5. New Delhi: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Read the published version on the Poshan website: http://poshan.ifpri.info/2014/10/29/leveraging-the-power-of-womens-groups-and-financial-services-to-improve-knowledge-and-behaviors-for-improved-child-and-maternal-nutrition/
Microfinance institutions (MFIs), self-help promoting institutions (SHPIs), and their self-help groups (SHGs) reach about 90 million poor women in India, bringing them together regularly to participate in financial activities that support their livelihoods. Through SHGs, women have access to financial services, such as loans, savings, and insurance. SHGs also provide a strong platform for women to participate in health and nutrition services, such as health and nutrition education, information on government health and nutrition programs, linkages to health providers and community health volunteers, health fairs, and access to savings and loans designed specifically to help households cover direct and indirect health expenses. SHGs are also a way for women to educate their peers, influence behaviors, and more systematically and cost-effectively benefit from streamlined, integrated financial and health and nutritional services.
Gash, Megan and Odell, K. (2013). The Evidence-Based Story of Savings Groups: A Synthesis of Seven Randomized Control Trials. The SEEP Network: Washington, D.C.
This paper surveys the results from seven recent, prominent RCT evaluations of SGs in seven countries. It consolidates the findings in a single document that reflects upon the commonalities and differences across the results and places them within the broader body of evidence about the role of SGs in the lives of their members. The paper presents ways in which the SG community is using the body of evaluation research to inform and improve its programs. Information about the implementation and results of the RCTs has been collected through publicly available results, results not yet publicly available, and a series of interviews with researchers and programming specialists in the field. The goal of this synthesis paper is to consolidate knowledge about general outcomes of SG participation; the paper should not be interpreted as a comparison of programs across facilitating agencies.
Leatherman, Sheila, Somen Saha, Marcia Metcalfe, Dileep Mavalankar. “Integrating Microfinance and Community Health Interventions in India”, International Journal of Development Research,Vol. 4, Issue, 3, pp. 442-446, March, 2014.
Poor health and the inability to access healthcare are key factors both leading to, and resulting from, poverty. Yet, in India and worldwide, rather than combining poverty alleviation and community health interventions in an integrated strategy, approaches are largely unisectoral. Ninety three million members (impacting over 300 million people including households) are engaged in MFIs and SHG -Bank Linkage programs in India. Through a review of integrated approaches in India, the paper argues that leveraging the microfinance and self-help networks represents a pragmatic and sustainable mechanism for reaching a greater proportion of the poor with proven low-cost health interventions. Such integrated approaches can harness and complement existent governmental programs to have a synergistic impact on health and poverty and address multiple Millennium Development Goals focused on poverty, gender equality, empowerment of women, maternal and child health, and combating diseases such as HIV and malaria.
Ramirez, Rossana, Laura Fleischer-Proaño. 20pp. (2013). Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.
This paper examines the potential of youth living in poverty to harness the power of groups to develop positive savings behaviors and long-term savings habits. Because youth are at a stage in their lives when they are particularly susceptible to peer influence, groups can positively impact their financial behaviors through a group structure, integrated financial education and the dynamics of social pressure and social capital. When young people start saving early, they increase their potential to develop a savings habit that can carry into their adult lives, strengthening their financial capabilities as they begin to face increased financial and social responsibilities. The significance of this approach became evident as Freedom from Hunger set out to test and learn from three different models of financial services integrated with financial education as part of its Advancing Integrated Microfinance for Youth (AIM Youth) initiative developed in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.
Reinsh, Myka; Dunford, Christopher; Metcalfe, Marcia, “Costs and benefits of microfinance institutions offering health protection services to clients :, Enterprise and Microfinance, Vol.22 No 3, 2011.
If you have a subscription to Enterprise and Microfinance you can download the paper from that site at http://practicalaction.org/enterprise-development-microfinance
Five microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Bénin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India and the Philippines developed and offered health protection services to microfinance clients: health education, health loans, health savings, health micro-insurance, linkages to health providers and distribution of health products. After about two years, the services were collectively reaching over 300,000 clients and are continuing to scale up. The cost to the MFI was generally low for each service (average annual net marginal cost of US$.29 per client and average total annual cost, including allocated expenses, of $1.59 per client). Some were expected to become profitable in the near term. In addition to the financial cost of offering such services and who bears the cost, we discuss the broader benefits both to clients and the MFIs themselves and suggest that more MFIs around the world could find similar cost-effective ways to deliver health protection services to their clients.
Gash, M., Maxwell, M., Arredondo, V., Brown, B., Farrell, J., Guerra, B., Heaton, T., Linton, E., Morgan, R., Seino, Y., & Crookston, B. (2013). Saving for Change Impact Stories Follow-Up Research Report. Davis, California: Freedom from Hunger.
In 2010, Freedom from Hunger conducted “impact stories” research to look at the life events, opportunities, program perceptions, food security and poverty levels of 41 members of Savings Groups formed through the organization Le Tonus in Mali. In 2012, 31 members were interviewed a second time in order to compare outcomes and analyze progress among members. Individual stories have been written for each respondent to describe their experiences with the program in a holistic way, and the aggregate outcomes are described in this report. Sample stories are provided in the appendix.
Fleischer Proaño, Laura and Stack, Kathleen. (October 2010) Saving for Change: Savings Groups as Platforms for Malaria Education in Mali. Aga Khan Foundation Savings Group Learning Initiative. Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Given the high incidence of malaria, the cost of treatment and lost time at work, as well as limited knowledge about malaria prevention and treatment, Saving for Change uses SGs to deliver malaria education to members to enhance the impact of the programme. The Mali experience illustrates that SGs provide a powerful platform for delivering education.
(Keywords/Tags: Saving for Change, Mali, Savings Groups, malaria education)
Sheila Leatherman, Kimberley Geissler, Bobbi Gray and Megan Gash.
To view the peer-reviewed version of this report, please see: “Health financing: A new role for microfinance institutions?” J. Int. Dev. doi: 10.1002/jid.2829
An innovative and scalable approach, health financing by microfinance institutions can expand existing health-financing options for the poor. We examined healthcare-seeking behavior, health costs and health-financing methods among microfinance clients in Bolivia, Benin and Burkina Faso. Health costs and lost productivity were substantial. Clients benefit from assistance, including health savings, health loans and health micro-insurance. Microfinance institutions offer advantages in developing health-financing options: global reach, expertise in loans and savings, and their mission to facilitate household financial stability. Health-financing products hold considerable potential but require careful design to optimize value and minimize risk to clients.