ASA has set a trend of periodic impact assessment of its program in every 2 to 4 years since 1999 to identify the problems at stake, assess the work strategy adopted for achieving objectives and analyse impacts of initiatives in fulfillment of its vision. In 2013, as a continuation of its assessment process the impact study was conducted 4 years after the last assessment. Findings of the study are presented below.
Objective: The main purpose of the assessment is to ascertain the major impact of ASA microfinance services on the life and mode of livelihood of borrowers.
Methodology: In order to reflect countrywide impact with regional specificity, 28 out of 64 districts of the country were selected following ‘Random Sampling Technique’ taking 4 districts from each of the 7 Divisions. The same random sampling technique was applied while selecting 4 branches from each district making a survey area comprising 112 branches. The sampling technique was also adhered to while selecting individual respondent borrowers. Generally 4 Loan Officers (LOs) on the average work in each branch, while each LO deals with 18 groups and each group comprises 20-35 borrowers. In the sample 4 LOs of each chosen branch, 4 groups of each LO and 4 borrowers of each group were selected. This makes the sample comprising 28×4×4×4×4 or 7168 borrowers. During selection, borrowers having ASA attachment for at least 3 consecutive years were included in the sample.
Assessment Parameters: Selected members were interviewed to determine the status achieved under the following 3 categories of parameters:
- Economic Parameters
- Business Capital
- Monthly Income
- Family Asset
- Employment Opportunity
- Health and Behavioral Parameters
- Quality of Food Intake
- Pure Drinking Water
- Medical Treatment
- Sanitation Arrangement
- Dwelling Condition
- Educational Parameter
- Literacy and Child Education.
1. Has your business capital increased?
In all 6937 (97%) out of the total 7168 respondents informed that their business capital increased as a result of ASA borrowing (figure 1). But it did not increase in the case of 231 (3%) respondents.
2. Have you been able to increase your monthly income through Income Generating Activities (IGAs)?
The findings of the assessment showed that 6936 (97%) out of 7168 clients (figure 2) could increase their monthly income as a result of
investing borrowed money from ASA in various income generating activities.
3. Has your family asset increased?
In reply 5980 (83%) out of the 7168 respondents reported that their asset increased, while 1188 (17%) respondents informed that they could not increase their asset (figure 3).
4. Have you been able to create employment opportunities for anyone else by taking loans?
Employment either on part-time or full-time basis contributes to enhance income and generates an enabling environment for productive forces which in turn promotes for overall development. The survey result revealed that 6727 (94%) out of 7168 respondents were able to create employment opportunities for others in their current projects (figure 4).
5. Has the quality of food intake of your family increased?
In response 6962 (97%) respondents out of 7168 (figure 5) claimed that the quality of their food intake improved significantly in the families. Such improvement was made due to increase of income through proper use of loans in Income Generating Activities (IGAs).
6. Do you drink pure and arsenic free water?
The survey result showed that the percentage of drinking arsenic free water by the members increased. It was found that 7111 (99%) were using arsenic free water (figure 6).
7. To whom do you go for medical treatment to cure ailments?
The assessment study showed that the percentage in respect of calling the doctor increased significantly. Treatment cases in 2008 and 2012 as reported by the respondents showed a positive trend (figure 7).
8. Do you have sanitary latrine in your house?
According to the survey report, users of water sealed latrine (Sanitary and pit pucca) among the clients increased at a significant rate. In response 6772 (94%) out of 7168 respondents informed that they were using hygienic latrine (figure 8).
9. Has the condition of your dwelling house improved?
It was found that 5978 (83%) out of 7168 respondents were able to repair or build their houses. The rest 1190 (17%) could not make any progress in this respect (figure 9).
10. Are you aware of cleanliness of your family members?
According to the findings of the study, consciousness in respect of cleanliness increased during the reported period. A total of 6972 (97%) out of 7168 respondents claimed that the sense of cleanliness among the family members rose (figure 10). This was due to rise of their family income and enhanced awareness. The rest 196 (3%) of the respondents said that they could not make progress in developing the sense of cleanliness in their families because of their poor affordability and low awareness.
11. Do you use the same number of clothes as you did before?
As many as 1032 (14%) respondents out of the total 7168 were using the same number of clothes as they used before. The remaining 6136 (86%) respondents informed that their number of clothes increased (figure 11). The findings of the survey showed that the respondents made progress in respect of their dress.
12. Has your family’s literacy rate increased?
It was revealed in the assessment study that literacy played an important fundamental role in providing impetus for improving the overall socio-economic status in respect of arsenic free pure drinking water, basic sanitation, and cleanliness and also in managing the income generating activities of the ASA clients.According to survey statistics, 6717 (94%) out of the total 7168 clients agreed that the rate of literacy increased among the members of their family (figure 12):
The respondents mentioned the following reasons behind improvement in the literacy status (figure 13):
- Attained family solvency through increased income acted as a motivating factor: 4750 (71%);
- Motivated by consciousness after joining the microfinance program: 4736 (71%);
- Schools being within a stone’s throw: 3305 (49%);
- Available opportunities for study without fees: 2912 (43%);
- Others: The head of the family and other relatives encouraged to send children for education: 48 (0.7%).
Conclusion: Findings of Impact Assessment Report 2013 revealed that major objectives of introducing ASA micro-finance program have been fulfilled to a greater extent during the period under review. Majority of borrowers improved their socio-economic condition and thereby improved their standard of living. In most of the cases they used borrowed money in income generating activities that resulted in enhancement of their monthly income and family asset creating a state of family solvency. This additional income and solvency facilitated them to improve in educational status, and dwelling condition as well as supported their excellent progress in basic health treatment, use of pure drinking water, sanitation, cleanliness and dress. Despite remarkable success in the micro-finance program, the study identified few limited challenges such as illness, natural calamities, using fund in unproductive sector, inadequacy of borrowed fund and lack of awareness, experience and skill that slowed down the pace of achievement. These challenges other than unavoidable natural ones can be addressed through intensive monitoring and imparting training to members using weekly meetings as platforms for enhanced awareness on social issues, capacity building and group dynamics.The overall findings amply justify the continuation of ASA micro-finance program with added flexibility in credit ceiling in response to client demand.