Measuring impact matters–it’s how we can be sure that our investments affect people in a way that warrants the name “impact investing.” We try to make our measurement routine rigorous and transparent, without burdening our clients (you can get a peek into our process here). While our numbers rely on assumptions that require regular review, they suggest we’re moving in the right direction.
Numbers aren’t everything, of course. What matters more is how those numbers affect peoples’ lives. Over the next few months, our GBF Lima team will take the lead with qualitative assessments of some of the region’s clients, helping us better understand the people and companies behind our numbers.
If the stories our current and former clients have helped write so far are any indicator, we think that this new project will share some uplifting news.
The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a registered trade association of over 900,000 low-income women in Gujarat, India. SEWA allows artisan members to diversify their income by selling embroidery and other handicrafts. GBF mobilized funding for the Barefoot Managers’ School, which provides training in microfinance and livelihood activities for trainers and rural women working in the informal sector. GBF also provided support for product design development, market expansion, business plan development, and business information and evaluation systems. During GBF’s first two years of support, SEWA generated over $681,000 in revenue for low-income female artisans.
Gone Rural, based in Swaziland, supplies raw materials, training, and markets for female artisans, thus providing them with substantial additional income from craft production. GBF worked closely for an extended period of time with Gone Rural’s management to develop financial forecasting tools, which allowed the company to match its capital structure to its operational and financial needs. The organization’s management still uses these tools and has expanded to a supply chain of over 760 women in remote areas of Swaziland. The female artisans directly earn 30-60% of the sale price of any artisanal good, quite high by international norms. Additionally, the artisans’ relationship with Gone Rural provides access to training and HIV awareness workshops.
BrazAfric addresses a critical finance gap in East Africa by providing farming coops with quality capital equipment to improve operational efficiencies. Mr. Mbithi (right) is one of the smaller scale farmers from the Kasinga cooperative society. He supports a 9-member household, with 7 in school. He delivered 1,200 kg of coffee in 2013, earning KES 71K. Approximately 1/3 of his farm is dedicated to coffee growing, with intercropped bananas sold for additional income. The rest of the land without coffee is used for subsistence food crops, particularly maize. He identified reduction in transport cost as the biggest potential benefit from BrazAfric’s mill. You can find out more about GBF’s work with BrazAfric here.