Small Firm Diaries (SFD) Project Update (As of November 2021)

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The Small Firm Diaries (SFD) project, led by Financial Access Initiative of New York University, is fully underway with L-IFT and MFO supporting methodology development, implementing the field operations, and taking care of the data process. The project is currently active in Ethiopia, Colombia, Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia.

Anne Marie has just visited Nigeria and met the Lagos team and could witness the tremendous commitment both from the field team and the small firms participating. With this humbling experience, witnessing the team in Nigeria putting in significant efforts, Anne Marie has realized even more what rich and subtle data the project is producing. 

The SFD is a unique project tracking small firms’ daily transactions for an entire year. The project also records for a year, hours worked (both by staff and owner(s) of the participating firms), the owners’ plans, their focus, the adverse events they may have faced and how they coped. Importantly, the project also collects every two weeks another ‘special survey’ which looks at firm owners’ record-keeping, aspirations, decision making, firm history, assets and financial tools and many more topics. 

This set of surveys is designed in such a way that the questions gradually explore more and more subtle, personal issues close to the owners’ hearts. Due to the financial diaries process that builds a rapport and trust between the respondent and field-researcher, we believe that the survey data will discover small firm owners’ true opinions that could only be found through anthropological research, but here we will study almost 800 firms in-depth. 


The Small Firm Diaries is definitely L-IFT’s largest project at the moment, but L-IFT has a number of other exciting projects to mention. Links Below: