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.

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.

Adding value to microfinance and to public health education—at the same time.

Dunford, Christopher. ADB Finance for the Poor (a quarterly newsletter of the Focal Point for Microfinance), 4 (4): 1–4. (December 2003). (English Only)

Abstract

The impact research in Ghana reinforced by the operations research in the Philippines shows that public health and microfinance objectives can be achieved at the same time with the same staff through careful integration of education and financial service delivery.

The experience of Freedom from Hunger indicates that the major ingredients for successful integration are found in the general capacity to manage people and programs and the specific institutional will to succeed in integrating services originating from different sectors of development. Where there is skill and will, each sector can add substantial value to the other for the benefit of very poor families.

Using microfinance to improve health and nutrition security.

Dunford, Christopher and Barbara MkNelly. Global HealthLink (News Magazine of the Global Health Council), 118:9, 22. (November–December 2002). (English Only)

Abstract

The impact evaluation research in Ghana provides evidence that microfinance and health/nutrition education services, provided together by the same field officer to groups of women, can alleviate poverty, improve health/nutrition knowledge and practice, empower women, and ultimately improve household food security and children’s nutritional status.

Improving design and performance of group lending: Suggestions from Burkina Faso.

MkNelly, Barbara and Michael Kevane. World Development, 30(11):2017–2032. (November 2002) DRAFT. (English Only)

Get the article through World Development via Science Direct (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

We summarize lessons learned by a credit program for women in Burkina Faso. Three observations are made regarding program design: 1) high membership turnover means mutual guarantee groups should be smaller and more central to non-repayment penalties; 2) high turnover in economic activities implies more training in best practices and more variety and experimentation in credit and savings mechanisms; and 3) high degrees of stocking activity suggests the need to develop instruments to mitigate commodity price risk at the individual and program level.

Three observations are made regarding program implementation: 1) be more consistent in the treatment of debts of deceased borrowers; 2) become more sensitive to the complexity and variety of procedures followed in the event of non-repayment; and 3) devote more attention to preventing and mitigating the effects of staff embezzlement.

Credit with Education impact review no. 2: Economic capacity and security.

MkNelly, Barbara and Mona McCord. 23pp. (September 2002). (English and Spanish)

PACTS’s women’s empowerment program in Nepal: A savings- and literacy-led alternative to financial building.

Ashe, Jeffrey and Lisa Parrott. Journal of Microfinance. 4(2):137–162. (Fall 2002).(English only)

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