The Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®) is a client poverty assessment and targeting tool that provides objective poverty-level data for organizations to use within their social performance management system. It is an inexpensive and easy-to-collect scorecard (10 questions) that assesses simple, non-financial indicators. The Grameen Foundation, in collaboration with CGAP, the Ford Foundation, and other donors, commissioned Microfinance Risk Management, L.L.C. to develop PPIs globally. The PPI provides information that enables users to better understand their clients’ needs and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and products. In the past five years, the Grameen Foundation, in partnership with global and regional microfinance networks and industry leaders in the social performance community, has offered training, resources and support to promote adoption of the PPI. Currently, Grameen Foundation is aware of 106 different organizations globally using the PPI.
The USAID Poverty Assessment Tool (PAT), is a short and simple household survey (albeit typically a bit longer than the PPI) used to measure the prevalence of poverty among a population. Each PAT includes a short, country-specific survey (10–25 questions) that takes less than 20 minutes to conduct. The survey collects a variety of information, including household member characteristics, housing conditions, and ownership of durable assets. The data gathered from these surveys is then entered into a data-entry template, from which specific software (CSPro or Epi Info) processes the data to calculate simple statistics and estimates the share of households living below several poverty lines. The basis for the PAT surveys is 10 to 25 indicators that have been identified as the best predictors of the poverty levels. These indicators were selected with statistical methods from a large pool of potential indicators derived from data from nationally representative household surveys. PAT implementers are supported by a wide variety of free resources, including country-specific user guides, an implementation manual, in-person and online trainings, an online forum and a help desk. By mid-September 2011, PATs will be available for 38 countries; currently 25-30 organizations are using them.
FINCA International’s Client Assessment Tool (FCAT) is a survey tool that assesses clients’ social well-being. The questions aim to measure internationally comparable variables, targeting areas related to expenditures & assets, business activities, access to financial services, satisfaction with FINCA, household demographics, standards of living, loyalty and retention. This tool is designed to be implemented in an interview setting and runs through a series of about 100 questions to gain in depth understanding on clients’ lives. Researchers interview clients and directly input responses into a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, allowing FINCA headquarters to use the data immediately. FINCA has devised the Client Assessment Research Fellows program gather this data annually and consistently through a pool of talented graduate students and young professionals. The FCAT was conceived in 2003 by founder Dr. John K. Hatch and has been implemented for 6 years in 21 FINCA subsidiaries.
The Microfinance Poverty Assessment Tool (PAT) is a rigorous and complex poverty measurement tool that provides accurate data on the poverty levels of MFI clients relative to the community members’ level of poverty. Intended to help donors and investors make educated decisions about their investments, it can provide the ability to reliably make comparisons of MFIs and their clients across regions and countries. The PAT takes multi-dimensional measurements of “poverty” to create the Poverty Index, with indicators measuring human resources, dwelling, food security and vulnerability, assets, and some others. It is more time consuming and expensive than tools typically used by MFIs, but provides far more detailed and statistically accurate data. The PAT was developed for CGAP by the International Food Policy Research Institute and has since been applied by microfinance donors and MFI networks in numerous countries.