IFC Project

Country: Ethiopia

Research Description: The IFC Project is a collaboration between the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and L-IFT. The project aims to understand the financial behavior and needs of Small Holder Farmers and value chain actors in emerging markets, their digital payment needs and pain points as well as the capabilities of financial services providers, such as but not limited to Read More>>

    banks, microfinance institutions, non-bank financial institutions, payment service providers and fintech, as a basis for expanding access to finance. The project uses a combination of surveys, interviews, and mobile data collection.

Small Firm Diaries Project

Countries: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Colombia, Indonesia, and Fiji

Sample size: 865 participants

Research Description: Small Firm Diaries is a 3-year global research initiative focused on understanding the economic lives of people near poverty. L-IFT conducts financial diaries research for this project, visiting small firm businesses to understand their cash flow, the stories behind the cash flow, and the decisions made by the owners of these firms. Read More>>

    The goal is to empower small firm owners, uncover their unique obstacles to growth, and promote financial security in underserved communities, fostering a more inclusive economy.

    For more information please visit the project website here.

RCT and Financial Diaries of Female Entrepreneurs in Uganda (RFDF)

Countries: Uganda

Sample size: 600 participants

Research Description: The RCT and Financial Diaries of Female Entrepreneurs in Uganda (RFDF) project is a collaboration between L-IFT, New York University, the Financial Access Initiative, and Careerpath. This project, supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aims to dive into the world of female entrepreneurship.Read More>>

    The research project delves into the impact of maintaining financial diaries on business outcomes for female entrepreneurs’ engaged in retail businesses. This study uses a randomised experiment with 600 female entrepreneurs in Kampala Uganda to explore whether keeping a fortnightly business financial diary for one year, with and without a detailed report on the performance of the business, has an impact on their businesses. A survey was carried out with all the businesses before the start of the study, and we followed up with everyone using a midline survey after 6 months and an endline survey after 12 months to collect detailed data on business sales, profits, expenditures, employees, record-keeping practices, inventory management and innovation as well as savings and loans taken, women’s empowerment and household economic outcomes.

    Three different target groups of retail business owners had participated. The first group got financial transaction recording as a treatment via well-trained field researchers’ (FRs) biweekly visits using a financial diary application called FINBIT. The second group received the same treatment as the first, with complete performance reports translated into Luganda, the local language. FRs assisted this group of participants in comprehending the reports during their visits. The third group was a control group that was participated only on the surveys.

    The project aims to reveal the true potential of financial documentation to influence business success and effects of record keeping on micro enterprises, and whether providing business feedback through reports leads to additional improvements in business performance.

Solar Adoption Randomized Control Trial

Countries: Uganda

Sample size: 1200 participants

Research Description: The Solar Adoption RCT project, implemented by L-IFT on behalf of the World Bank’s Behavioral Approach Unit, aims to address the low penetration of electric gridsRead More>>

    and lack of reliable electricity in refugee settlement camps in Uganda, particularly Rhino and Kyangwali Refugee Settlement camps. The project’s goal is to determine the most effective way to encourage refugees in settlement camps to adopt solar energy as an alternative energy source. The project, which began in April and is expected to conclude in March of next year, involves a 6-month intervention period and utilizes a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) methodology.

    The project is implemented in Nakivale and Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement camps, selected for their distinct demographic characteristics – Kiryandongo mainly for South Sudanese refugees and Nakivale with refugees primarily from Congo and Burundi. The project aligns with Sustainable Development Goal #7, which focuses on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

RISE Refugee Finance – Financial Diaries of Refugees Financial Behavior in Response to Financial Services: 2019-2022

Country: Uganda

Sample size: 257 diaries respondents in Dooblo for 1 year, 232 diaries respondents in FINBIT including 31 Cornershop participants, intake of more than 800

Duration: 34 months

Research Description: The beneficiaries for this project are OBUL and FINCA, commissioned by Opportunity International and implemented with PHB consulting services. Read More>>

    These two prominent financial service providers wanted to serve refugees with appropriate products matching the priorities of refugees’ livelihoods. They realized they need to understand the refugee clients better and also investigate what type of financial services priorities they have. They wanted an innovative approach to product development that would simultaneously track how product adoption would evolve and to measure when useful changes start to kick-in. Access the data portal here.
    L-IFT provided this financial diaries to inform all involved actors with the data they required. The first few months of the project served as a market assessment, understanding people’s current financial lives and how they would ideally solve some financial problems. The study supported with design of financial literacy, informing which skills people and did not have and which segments existed in terms of financial literacy. The study identified a number of financial products that were desirable for refugees and others which were mistrusted or deemed inappropriate. The project also tracks financial literacy impact.