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Papers/Reports | July 23, 2018

Expanding Financial Inclusion (EFI) in Africa Research Program

Research studies

This page contains links to all of the research studies associated with the Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa project (EFI), a 4-year effort whose core goal was to ensure that vulnerable households experienced greater financial inclusion to improve their resilience. To this end, EFI formed savings groups using CRS' Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and Private Service Provider (PSP) methodologies in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia. The EFI project aimed to create 19,200 new SILC groups with 502,320 members and had targeted its areas of operation using financial exclusion criteria; criteria which may well stand as a strong proxy for poverty. To try to bring in poorer households, EFI made critical adjustments to the SILC methodology, known collectively as the "Pro-Poor Package" (PPP) and contrasted with "Normal" SILC programming. The PPP adjustments included, for example, training PSPs to identify and mobilize poor households, replacing a minimum savings with a "target" savings, removing fines for failure to save and reducing the pressure to take loans.

THE SILC FINANCIAL DIARIES: Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa Research Program (Final Report - 65 pages):  (2-page summary)

This report answers the following questions:

  • How do SILC households earn and spend money? What financial tools do SILC households use?
  • How do SILC households use SILC services?
  • How do SILC households manage their cash flow? How does their cash flow management change in response to major cash flow events in their lives?
  • Are there differences between the cash flows of men and women living in the same households? 

Exploring the success of EFI’s pro-poor package in Senegal and Uganda (Study brief - 5 pages): 

To develop EFI’s understanding of the differentiation on poverty outreach between Normal and Pro-Poor Package villages, the project has complemented the PPI analysis with a community level ethnographic study.

  • To what extent are extremely poor households included in SILC membership?
  • Has the inclusion of extremely poor households increased as SILC formation has progressed in the research sites?
  • What elements of the Pro-Poor Package work to attract and retain the poor households in SILC programs?

Depth of Poverty Outreach: EVIDENCE FROM THE EFI SAVINGS GROUP PROJECT (Study results - 15 pages) (2-page summary)

Drawing from more than 25,000 PPI interviews, this report explores poverty outreach in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia, addressing the following questions:

  • What is the mean poverty level of SILC group members, relative to their communities, at the start of the program?
  • What are the effects of the PPS delivery model variants in terms of poverty outreach?

Pricing and Payments in the Private Service Provider (PSP) Model (Study results - 18 pages) (2-page summary)

This report presents findings on pricing and payments observed in the EFI project, as well as CRS’s conclusions on how to implement its fee-for-service strategy moving forward. It draws on several tools deployed in support of EFI’s overall research agenda,
in order to produce as comprehensive a picture as possible, while drawing conclusions about the different conditions. These tools were:

  • A survey administered to SILC groups to record payment practices and elicit
  • member feedback on PSP services and price
  • A modified share-out tool to measure group payments to the PSPs with respect to
  • their cycle financial transactions
  • A survey to examine PSPs’ income and motivation, among other themes
  • Interviews with implementing partner staff to get their feedback on model variants

Testing the Progress Out of Poverty Index: Triangulation of the PPI® with Key Informant Wealth Ranking Exercises and SILC Financial Diaries Data (Triangulation report - 36 pages) (9-page brief

  • What poverty category do the majority of SILC group members come from?
  • How did the PPI poverty likelihoods compare to the actual percent of households living below the poverty line?
  • Were the assets mentioned in Zambia’s PPI Scorecard similar to those mentioned by the key informants?

EFI ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH UGANDA COUNTRY REPORT  (Final report - 121 pages)

To develop EFI’s understanding of the differentiation on poverty outreach between Normal and Pro-Poor Package villages the project has complemented the PPI analysis with a community level ethnographic study in Uganda. The study provides detailed information on the study areas and explores the following questions:

  • To what extent are extremely poor households included in SILC membership?
  • Has the inclusion of extremely poor households increased as SILC formation has progressed in the research sites?
  • What elements of the Pro-Poor Package work to attract and retain the poor households in SILC programs?"

To develop EFI’s understanding of the differentiation on poverty outreach between Normal and Pro-Poor Package villages the project has complemented the PPI analysis with a community level ethnographic study in Senegal.

EFI ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH SENEGAL COUNTRY REPORT (Final report - 114 pages)

This study provides detailed information on the study areas and explores the following questions:

  • To what extent are extremely poor households included in SILC membership?
  • Has the inclusion of extremely poor households increased as SILC formation has progressed in the research sites?
  • What elements of the Pro-Poor Package work to attract and retain the poor households in SILC programs?"

PSP Pricing Studies - (2-page brief

  • What are the actual PSP pricing practices and SILC members’ payments in the field?
  • What do the SILC members think about regarding the quality of service they receive, and their ability and willingness to pay PSP fees?
  • How much do SILC group members’ pay the PSP in comparison to the money they’ve saved, and their return on savings?
  • What is the level and variation of member savings compared to minimum savings?
  • How prevalent it is for SILC members to subtract an outstanding loan from their share-out?

A REVIEW OF PSP INCOMES, LIVELIHOODS, AND MOTIVATIONS WORKING WITH EXPANDING FINANCIAL INCLUSION (1-page brief

The main questions that this study addresses was post-project sustainability within the current PSP and SILC methodology. The study is largely qualitative in nature and draws from more than 160 PSP interviews as well as 40+ key informant interviews with partner implanting staff in order to understand:

  • How the PSPs combine their SILC work with other ways of making a living
  • How much the PSPs are working on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
  • How much the PSPs are earning from SILC related work and work not related to SILC
  • How the PSP work fits with other duties, especially for female PSPs
  • The primary motivation for PSPs to do this work

A REVIEW OF STUDIES INVESTIGATING PSP NETWORKS AND APPRENTICES PERFORMED BY EXPANDING FINANCIAL INCLUSION (EFI) IN AFRICA (2-page brief

EFI researchers interviewed PSP Network members and performed focus group discussions and participatory ranking activities with Network Management Committee members. These study focused on Network operations, activities, benefits, and challenges. One role of the PSP Network is to manage the Apprenticeship process. To understand this work better the questions asked to PSPs were supplemented with 40 interviews with Apprentices. 

MOBILE MONEY AND LINKAGES PILOT IN UGANDA (2-page brief)

The EFI Project in Uganda provided a unique opportunity to enhance and expand the range of services available to new and existing members engaged in informal savings groups. The CRS Uganda SILC program provided a strong foundation to experiment with the facilitation of formal long-term savings products using mobile money platforms, supported by program scale.