Initiative for Smallholder Finance: Smallholder Impact and Risk Metric
The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) is a multi-donor effort focused on expanding financing for smallholder farmers. ISF recognized that the smallholder agricultural finance sector needed a more coordinated approach to impact measurement to:
• aggregate, demonstrate, and communicate impact within the wider agriculture industry;
• drive internal improvements and risk reduction; and
• help develop infrastructure that increases efficiency and profitability.
Dalberg was hired to create a shared results measurement strategy agenda for ISF.
Dalberg worked with ISF’s key stakeholders to understand how they view impact, and how their theories of change drive their work. Dalberg created an initial concept for a theory of change that was refined through one-on-one conversations with over 50 leading actors from social lenders (such as Root Capital and Triodos Bank), to technical assistance organizations, (like Technoserve and Rainforest Alliance), and brand-name companies. The final theory of change led to several new pieces of industry infrastructure:
• A set of core recommended metrics for all in the agriculture industry
• A library of industry metrics and measurement tools and indicators
• An online wiki of evaluations and literature supporting each aspect of the theory of change
The seven largest investors in smallholder agricultural finance have adopted the theory of change and core metrics. The metrics library and online literature wiki have been viewed by thousands and have helped focus new evaluations on unexplored questions around increasing livelihoods for smallholder farmers.