SILC Innovations Research Brief 1: Poverty Outreach
To assess the model and inform future SILC rollouts of this fee-for-service savings-group model, CRS carried out a broad research project using a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design. The research was set up to make a fundamental comparison between delivery channels: the fee-for-service PSP model against the more conventional project- paid FA model. To rigorously compare the two, an experimental design established statistically comparable cohorts of agents serving members in comparable environments over a one-year interval.
At the heart of the mixed-methods RCT is a large-scale quantitative household survey (endline n = 2119) to gauge the impact of the savings-group model at the household level. Sampling centered on both SILC and non-SILC households in 240 randomly- selected villages, served by agents randomly assigned PSP or FA status under the study. Embedded in the survey tool were the country-specifi c Progress out of Poverty Indices (PPI) developed by the Grameen Foundation, which are simple, standardized 10-question surveys used to measure the likelihood that a population falls below various poverty lines. Use of the PPIs allowed for precise observations on poverty outreach in the areas served by the program. The PPI tools were available and employed in all three pilot countries on the endline and in Kenya at both baseline and endline.
Depth of outreach among SILC members varied considerably between the three pilot countries in the endline observation. Despite Kenya’s reputation as a regional economic powerhouse, the member base there emerged as the least affl uent. Nearly 30 percent of the Kenya sample fell below the USAID Extreme Poverty line, and 64 percent fell below Kenya’s national poverty line. Sixty-three percent of respondents in Kenya and 71 percent of respondents in Tanzania fell below the $1.25/Day poverty line (2005 Purchasing Power Parity [PPP]). By contrast, the Uganda sample showed the most affl uence of the three countries, with only 4 percent of SILC households below the USAID Extreme Poverty line and 15 percent below their national poverty line.