Research Reports

The challenges inherent in supporting the self-help efforts of the chronically hungry poor require innovation to achieve greater scale, impact and sustainability.

Freedom from Hunger has always been committed to innovation backed up by rigorous research. Our research staff and collaborators put our innovations, and those of other organizations, to the test, employing a wide range of methodologies to ensure that they are supported by evidence from the field.

We are pleased to provide our research reports to all who are interested in evidence-based innovation. Generally, these reports have also been published in part in technical journals and other publications, but seldom are the complete research reports accepted for publication. Therefore, we make our full research reports, as well as summaries, freely downloadable in PDF format.

These reports provide the full details of the research projects—social and institutional context, objectives, design and implementation of the innovation being tested, research design, methods, analysis, results, discussion in light of relevant literature and conclusions. The reports are listed below in chronological order, starting with the most recent reports.

Most Freedom from Hunger reports have been translated into French and/or Spanish for the benefit of the in-country institutions with which we have partnered to develop and test these innovations. In the absence of full translations, summaries in French and/or Spanish are usually available.

We sincerely hope you will find these research reports useful for broadening your understanding of value-added microfinance and related innovations.

Strengths, Weaknesses and Evolution of the Peace Corps’ 11-Year-Old Savings Group Program in Ecuador

Fleischer Proaño, Laura, Megan Gash and Amelia Kuklewicz. Freedom from Hunger Research Report No. 13. 37pp. (October 2010). Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.

Leveraging microfinance networks to scale up HIV and financial education among adolescents and their mothers in West Bengal: a cluster randomized trial and mixed-method evaluation

By Freya Spielberg, Benjamin Crookston, Sheila Chanani, Jaewhan Kim, Sean Kline, and Bobbi Gray. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 15. 18pp. (October 2010). Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger.

Microfinance can be used to reach women and adolescent girls with HIV prevention education. We report findings from a cluster-randomized control trial among 55 villages in West Bengal to determine the impact of non-formal education on knowledge, attitudes and behaviors for HIV prevention and savings. Multilevel regression models were used to evaluate differences between groups for key outcomes while adjusting for cluster correlation and differences in baseline characteristics. Women and girls who received HIV education showed significant gains in HIV knowledge, awareness that condoms can prevent HIV, self-efficacy for HIV prevention, and confirmed use of clean needles, as compared to the control group. Condom use was rare and did not improve for women. While HIV-testing was uncommon, knowledge of HIV-testing resources significantly increased among girls, and trended in the positive direction among women in intervention groups. Conversely, the savings education showed no impact on financial knowledge or behavior change.

Advancing Women’s and Adolescent Girls’ Access to Resources and Influence in Rural India

By Bobbi Gray and Sheila Chanani. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 11. 79pp. (July 2010). Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. (English only)

Health and Microfinance: Leveraging the Strengths of Two Sectors to Alleviate Poverty

By Marcia Metcalfe and Sheila Leatherman, with Christopher Dunford, Bobbi Gray, Megan Gash, Myka Reinsch and Cassie Chandler. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 9. 27pp. (June 2010). Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger.

Can Financial Education Change Behavior? Lessons from Bolivia and Sri Lanka

Gray, Bobbi, Jennefer Sebstad, Monique Cohen, Kathleen Stack. Global Financial Education Program Financial Education Outcomes Assessment Working Paper #4. 94pp. (December 2009). Washington DC : Microfinance Opportunities and Davis, CA

Introduction – In 2003, when Microfinance Opportunities and Freedom from Hunger partnered to develop a financial education curriculum for the microfinance industry, there was very little experience with financial education for low-income populations in developing countries—and most specifically, for microfinance institution clients. Microfinance Opportunities joined with Freedom from Hunger to launch the Global Financial Education Program to respond to this gap. The education development was a grassroots effort that started with market research in which clients shared their financial goals and challenges, and their current knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices as related to managing money. As a result of this program, a unique curriculum tailored to lowincome populations in developing countries was developed. Within two-and-a-half years, approximately 350,000 microfinance clients have received training in financial education, and 19 million have had access to some of the key education messages presented through radio, television, print and street theater.

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)

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)