Thursday, 15 October 2015

Better evidence means less poverty

The primary purpose of Lendwithcare is to help poor people to improve their lives through supporting them to access loans for their businesses. Do we actually have any evidence that this is happening? Certainly, we have a great deal of anecdotal evidence – in addition to the periodic updates that we receive from some of the microentrepreneurs that we have funded, each year my colleagues and I also visit and speak with hundreds of individuals and groups who Lendwithcare supports in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Although we do come across some persons for whom nothing much seems to have changed, more often than not they explain to us how access to loans over an extended period of time has enabled them to develop their businesses, stabilise or increase their incomes, increased their self-confidence, self-esteem and economic independence, make improvements to their homes, and sometimes as a result even spend more money in areas such as their children’s education and the health of their families.

However, this approach is not particularly scientific – there are often other important reasons aside from improved access to loans why their lives have improved, it might be that we are simply meeting the more ‘successful’ microentrepreneurs, people are simply being polite, or they are telling us what they think we want to hear.

Ghulam Raza interviewing an entrepreneur at Akhuvat