About the Project

Research Programs

Research Methods

Notes from the Field

Going to School with M-PESA

Missing Water Money: Playing Nancy Drew Made Easy by M-PESA

Does M-PESA in Kenya Crowd Out Corner Store Bankers?

Money in a Pot: Has OIBM Altered Savings in Rural Malawi?

The Emerging Effects of M-Pesa's Rural Outreach at the Household Level

Hello... Cell Phones or Landlines for Poverty Status Indicator?

About the Project

Measuring the impact of financial services in the developing world has been a point of great debate in the field of international development. While previous assessment research has shown impacts to be generally positive, the extent of the impact often does not match the enthusiastic rhetoric of the field, and even negative effects have been documented. The studies also have shown that microfinance programs tend to reach households just above or below the poverty line, rather than the extreme poor—i.e. those in greatest need of poverty alleviation. At the same time, multiple studies have suggested that there are pathways to improved outreach—better ways of reaching poorer households—using innovative products, services, and delivery systems.

With grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the IRIS Center and Microfinance Opportunities, is examining the impact of innovations undertaken by several organizations supported by the Foundation. The project employs new research methodologies that focus on the impact of innovative financial services for the poor at the level of the client's household, individual enterprise, and the institution.