IDEAS has taught several types of Monitoring and Evaluation. This page focuses on that related to determining the impact of an organization’s services or products. While impact evaluation is often thought to be too expensive for non-profits, the IDEAS team was active in developing a version of impact evaluation that was able to be carried out by practitioners at relatively low costs. It was called AIMS-SEEP, meaning Assessing the Impact of Microenterprise Services developed by the SEEP Network. More recently, IDEAS has been involved in helping to develop a less expensive way of monitoring impact called Social Performance Management.
IDEAS provides training and technical assistance in the use of the 5 AIMS-SEEP tools, which represent a worldwide standard for evaluating the impact of microfinance. We can help microfinance organizations learn to use these valuable tools. In four weeks they can train their personnel, do the interviews and prepare a report of recommendations for their managers and board of directors. The results will continue to be useful for on-going program monitoring purposes.
The AIMS-SEEP Tools:
- Provide results, which are oriented to managerial decision making.
- Include 2 quantitative surveys and 3 qualitative tools.
- Are used for primary research with clients, ex-clients and non-clients.
- Are cost-effective, using a cross-sectional impact methodology.
- Have been used with much success in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
- Have been promoted by funders and international organizations such as USAID, CGAP, Oxfam, ACT, Ford Foundation, ImpAct, BCIE, and NOVIB.
- Are flexible, adaptable and participatory.
- Measure changes attributable to the microfinance programs on the four levels:
- the client
- their business
- their family
- their community
During a three-week period, you can train your personnel, do the interviews and prepare a report of findings and recommendations for the managers and board of directors. Afterwards, you can use the indicators for your on-going program monitoring in your Social Performance Management system.
The IDEAS team has worked closely with the following national networks of microfinance institutions to train their members and to assist them in evaluations:
- SEEP Network
- COPEME – Peru
- PHILNET – Philippines
- REDMICROH (at the time called COVELO) – Honduras
- GHAMFIN – Ghana
- ASOMIF – Nicaragua
- CASHPOR – Asia
- ALPIMED – El Salvador
- APPEND – Philippines
- PROMIFIN-COSUDE – Nicaragua
Carter Garber was the Lead Trainer and Lead Consultant for the AIMS-SEEP tools internationally. He led the piloting of the tools and the first trainings in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Along with other members of the IDEAS Team, Dr. Garber taught the tools in many workshops in Latin America, North America, Asia, and Africa.
The authors of the AIMS-SEEP tools selected Epi Info, a public domain software, to do statistical analysis for the two quantitative tools. For more information and to download the latest version, see http://www.cdc.gov/epiinfo/.
IDEAS team members also have assisted practitioners in Impact Monitoring. They help practitioners to isolate key impact indicators and to build them into their Social Performance Management systems so that the organization can do impact monitoring on an ongoing basis, measuring the progress of specific clients over time.