Articles

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.

Enhancing the impact of microfinance: Client demand for health protection services on three continents.

Metcalfe, Marcia and Myka Reinsch Sinclair. Freedom from Hunger discussion paper. 26pp. (April 2008). (English Only)

Abstract

This paper is based on the market research that Freedom from Hunger and five microfinance institutions conducted in 2006 to understand the impact of health on poor livelihoods and their ability to repay loans. It also examines the need for health financing in Bolivia, Bénin, Burkina Faso, India and the Philippines.

The results reinforce the need for appropriate health services for microfinance clients all across the world, and highlight the importance of services like health education, training programs and health finance. Freedom from Hunger studied the local health needs, demands, available services and MFI capacities, and introduced five innovative health protection packages that are not only relevant, but also sustainable and scalable/replicable.

How microfinance can work for the poor: The case for integrating microfinance with education and health services.

Dunford, Christopher, Sheila Leatherman, Myka Reinsch Sinclair, Marcia Metcalfe, Bobbi Gray and Ellen Vor der Bruegge. Freedom from Hunger discussion paper. 5pp. (2007). (English Only)

Get the article at Microfinance Gateway (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

This paper examines the development of a strategy that can offer the poor access to a coordinated combination of microfinance and other development services to meet their multifaceted needs.

Increasing income and assets alone is not enough to combat serious challenges that the poor face, such as childhood malnutrition, maternal and neonatal mortality and HIV/AIDS. Provision of integrated services through creative partnerships between different development sectors can lead to operational efficiencies and synergies of benefits. The paper provides information about integrated efforts by MFIs in areas like health education, health financing and insurance, links to health care providers and access to health products. It concludes that:

  • Integration of microfinance with non-financial services has great potential for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • Extension of integrated services on a large scale for national and global impact requires high level support;
  • Governments and development agencies can expedite the achievement of the MDGs by supporting integration of poverty-focused microfinance and non-financial services.

Microfinance against malaria: Impact of Freedom from Hunger's malaria education when delivered by rural banks in Ghana.

Gray, Bobbi, Benjamin Crookston, Natalie de la Cruz and Natasha Ivins. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 8. 103pp. (January 2007). Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. (English with French and Spanish Executive Summaries)

Credit with Education impact review no. 5: Microfinance against malaria.

Gray, Bobbi, Benjamin Crookston, Natalie de la Cruz and Natasha Ivins. 2pp. (November 2006). (English, French and Spanish)

Credit with Education impact review no. 4: Teaching entrepreneurship.

Gray, Bobbi and Dean Karlan. 2pp. (August 2006). (English Only)

Evidence of microfinance’s contribution to achieving the Millennium Development goals.

Dunford, Christopher. Paper for the Global Microcredit Summit, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 14pp. (2006). (English Only)

Get the article at Microfinance Gateway (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

The paper states that microfinance can only be a major contributor to achieving the first seven Millennium Development Goals when it creates direct and positive impacts on the lives of the "extreme poor" (a.k.a. the "very poor" living on roughly a dollar a day or less) as well as the better-off poor.

The question is "Can microfinance reach very large numbers of the very poor and still be sustainable and have important impacts contributing to achievement of the MDGs?" It argues that microfinance has the main objective of reducing poverty worldwide and it has the ability to do so with the right combination of products and delivery systems. And that microfinance does offer opportunities to contribute to the achievement of all seven Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), primarily through its direct impact on poverty, which can support improvements in schooling, gender equity, health and resource conservation. The paper then discusses the measurement of impact and finds a need to distinguish change due to participation in microfinance from what would have happened without microfinance; avoid 'self-selection' and the 'program placement' biases; and stress on the 'randomized control trial' design. The paper looks at specific cases of sustainable microfinance outreach to large numbers of the very poor, with credible evidence of impact on poverty; it applies the benchmarks of scale, sustainability and impact to two large databases for microfinance programs: the Microcredit Summit Campaign and the MIX Market. The report finds enough evidence that microfinance increases incomes and savings, improves nutrition and health, and empowers women. It concludes that microfinance can and does contribute to the achievement of MDGs.

The road to client assessment: Travel tips.

Loupéda, Christian and Bobbi Gray. SEEP Network Practitioner Learning Program Putting Client Assessment to Work, Technical Note #1. 28pp. (April 2006). Washington DC: SEEP Network. (English Only)

Get the article at SEEP Network (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

Advocating a complete management information system to track the achievement of financial, institutional and social objectives, this paper discusses tracking systems to monitor progress made by the institution towards achieving program objectives.

It describes the efforts by Freedom from Hunger to develop this tracking system, including cause-and-effect impact research; building a progress tracking system; and developing tools and methods to fill the gaps in the existing system. The paper reviews the following three tools to fill gaps: observational checklists, pre and post mini-surveys, and participatory learning for action. The paper concludes with a focus on the process adopted to develop a food security scale to measure client welfare.

Toward a complete progress tracking system.

Toward a complete progress tracking system. Dunford, Christopher. SEEP Network Progress Note No. 9. 6pp. (June 2005). (English Only)

Get the article at Microfinance Gateway (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

Advocating a complete management information system to track the achievement of financial, institutional and social objectives, this paper discusses tracking systems to monitor progress made by the institution towards achieving program objectives.

It describes the efforts by Freedom from Hunger to develop this tracking system, including cause-and-effect impact research; building a progress tracking system; and developing tools and methods to fill the gaps in the existing system. The paper reviews the following three tools to fill gaps: observational checklists, pre and post mini-surveys, and participatory learning for action. The paper concludes with a focus on the process adopted to develop a food security scale to measure client welfare.

Poverty scorecards: Lessons from a microlender in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Schreiner, Mark, Michal Matul, Ewa Pawlak and Sean Kline. 41pp. (December 2004). (English Only)

Get the article at Microfinance Gateway (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

How poor are participants in development projects? This paper analyzes how well a simple scorecard identifies poor clients at a microlender in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The scorecard effectively ranks clients by relative poverty and also identifies the likelihood that a client is poor by an absolute standard.

The score tracks poverty more closely than loan size, microfinance’s traditional poverty indicator. Overall, poverty scorecards are a simple, inexpensive way for microlenders—or any other development entity—to target the poor, track changes in poverty over time, manage poverty outreach, and report on clients’ absolute poverty.

Pages