MicroScore Tool

It has always been a pressing question how to measure success of capacity building programmes. While success can be measured on the output level, there was no suitable measure on effect level. On behalf of MicroNed (which later became NpM), Joost de La Rive Box designed an institutional scan to measure the performance of capcity building programmes. This tool combines four performance ratios: governance, institutional, services & social performance management and financial performance management.

The development of the first version of the MicroScore Tool was financed by Hivos in the context of the evaluation of their Seed Capital programme. The tool was then further developed, finalized, tested and translated in the MicroNed Capacity Building working group in which Cordaid took the lead. After a year of development and intensive pilot testing by MicroNed members as well as Terrafina Microfinance, the tool has now been finalized.

The tool helps MFIs and cooperatives to assess its performance and to reflect on its graduation. Consultants can use MicroScore in their first contact with a MFI as a guideline for baseline assessments and further on as a tool for progress monitoring. Desk officers at microfinance organizations should be able to better assess the proposals they receive from MFIs and consultants.

The MicroScore Tool is not intended to replace ratings. The ultimate aim is to enhance the effectiveness of capacity building programmes.

The MicroScore Tool is presented in three languages: English, Spanish and French, combined in one format, and is now available for download, free of charge.

Download the MicroScore Tool here.

Microfinance Impact Study 2011

The impacts of microfinance as a tool for achieving widespread poverty reduction are more complex and variable than previously believed. That’s one of the conclusions of the debate ‘Impact of microfinance: Taking stock of evidence’ at the Annual Conference of MicroNed on 28 June 2011. The Conference report has been published.

A wide range of representatives at the conference provided differing perspectives on impact (104 people joined us). Even the relatively simple and neutral objective of the conference to “take stock of evidence” proved difficult – with academics, researchers and practitioners applying different criteria of quality and usefulness.

The impact of microcredit is highly variable and any overall judgement is unclear. The early wave of positive results has been replaced by more rigorous yet more modest evidence of outcomes. Quantifiable studies that have attempted to attribute impact of programmes have provided little evidence that microcredit alone will achieve poverty reduction.

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