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Tracking Impact for GIF Investments

By Nzinga Broussard, Senior Director, Analytics  |   Posted 20th May 2021

GIF seeks to achieve impact by finding and funding evidence-backed innovations with the potential to transform the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people. We invest, therefore, in a wide range of innovations from bringing financial services to the poor, contributing to domestic resource mobilisation, improving livelihoods and education, and increasing access to water among other important investments.

Additionally, as a learning organisation committed to evidence, we are interested in tracking short-term impact and performance and therefore adjust our long-term projections. To achieve this, and do it in a transparent way, GIF has prepared and begun posting Impact Briefs to analyse and document the impact GIF funded innovations have achieved to date.

The Impact Briefs for each investment will be updated as we get more data. One highlight is One Acre Fund, or 1AF, which, by the end of 2019, had provided direct services to over one million farmers and indirect services to another 1,376,000 farm families in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia. Other agricultural focused impact briefs posted are from investments made in Babban Gona, Kamatan, myAgro, and EM3.

The impact brief posted for Lively Minds, which engages kindergarten teachers as well as empowers mothers to run Play Schemes and provide education and care at home in Ghana, highlights that by the end of 2019, Lively Minds had supported over 250 play schemes; reached 50,000 children; trained over 11,000 mothers; and trained over 600 teachers. A GIF-funded randomised controlled trial showed that the programme improved the school readiness of the children at low cost. The programme is particularly successful in raising cognitive abilities for children coming from poorer households. Children from the bottom socio-economic quintile saw more than twice the increase in cognitive development of others. There were significant health benefits as well, including a decrease in acute malnutrition, and an increase of children’s mid-upper arm circumference (a proxy for overall weight and health) by 21mm on average.

Other education innovations improving the learning outcomes of children in developing countries that GIF has supported include Chrysalis, Educate!, Educational Initiatives, and DGMT-Smartstart.

These Impact Briefs are meant to demonstrate the social impact GIF is having around the world and reinforce our efforts to invest in innovations that improve the lives of the poor in meaningful ways. For those interested in tracking GIF’s short-term impact in a more quantitative way, GIF released a report recently showing that between 2015 and 2020, just five of GIF’s 38 investments generated over $53 million in social value attributable to GIF’s funding.

After five years of implementation experience, the impact briefs are meant to bring a high level of transparency about the progress (and even the lack of progress at times) partner organisations have achieved with our support.