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Impacts & Lessons

The performance of livelihoods projects is measured against their original project objectives through
  • baseline studies and impact evaluation
  • quarterly and annual reporting from Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation Systems
  • other analyses of individual interventions or groups of interventions

The findings from these studies are included in the Implementation and Completion Reports that are prepared when each project closes.  

Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project

According to impact assessments at the end of APDPIP, the project was more than successful in achieving its objective.

  • The poor and poorest households acquired assets (especially livestock) and shifted from wage employment to self employment.
  • The poor and the poorest households brought their fallow land under cultivation and started actively participating in the land lease market.
  • Distress and contract migration reduced, especially for women and children and decline in incidence of child labor.
  • Household debt burden and the dependence on moneylenders reduced.
  • SHGs became a major credit supply institution with increased access to finance from commercial banks.
  • Poor households are now perceived as clients by commercial banks.
  • Increased access to information by women on education, family planning, health care and social issues have resulted in higher level of mobilization and action on social issues by women and their organizations.
  • All forms of social capital increased substantially, which increased solidarity; peer support in crisis; linkage with government programs and other institutions, like banks; and collective action against undesirable social practices.

APDPIP's key investment areas were institutional and human capacity building, community investment funds, educational support for girl child laborers and school drop outs and project management including monitoring and evaluation studies. The key outcomes of the project are as follows:

Thriving organizations of the poor, social mobilization and institution building

The project promoted and supported the formation and strengthening of three tiers of self managed, self reliant and sustainable institutions of the poor:

  • Self-help Groups (SHGs) of poor women formed the foundation and Village Organizations (VOs)  federated SHGs at village level,
  • Mandal Samakyas (MSs) federated VOs at the Mandal level;
  • Zilla Samakhyas (ZSs) federated at the District Level.

These institutional arrangements have enabled the poor to access a range of services, resources and expertise from both public and private sector.

Institutional Development by the Numbers

  • 2.29 million rural poor women
  • 171,618 SHGs and
  • 9872 VOs
  • 316 MSs
  • 6 ZSs 

The project currently covered 90 percent of all rural poor households in six project districts of AP, which was much higher than originally envisaged due to a good response from communities, government agencies and commercial banks.

Access to thrift, credit, investments, and financial resources

The organizations of the poor leveraged resources and accessed significant amounts of credit and other financial sector services. From an IDA investment of US$111 million the participating poor households leveraged the following additional resources in six years:

  • Cumulative savings in excess of US$113 million, which was used to further leverage credit from commercial banks.
  • Cumulative credit from commercial banks in excess of US$425 million with repayment rate higher than 95 % indicates a strong relationship with commercial banks as clients. 
  • The annual bank credit accessed by the members of SHGs increased from US$11.6 million in 2000 to $124 million in 2006.
  • The number of SHGs linked to banks was 155,091 as against the target of 45,000. The SHGs have become valued clients of the banking system.

During the project period, SHGs revolved a total of US$919 million (from CIF, recycled CIF, SGSY subsidy, revolving fund, interest subsidy, bank loans, and internal loans from own savings and other earnings). This worked out to be at an average of US$5355 per SHG. The cumulative credit flow is expected to cross US $1 billion the year the project closed.

Livelihood Diversification, Assets, Income, and Consumption Expenditure

Livelihoods.  In six years the livelihood sources for households shifted from wage employment below subsistence level to self employment, with increased asset ownership (land, livestock and other non farm enterprises) and diversified forms of livelihood. Access to CIF and Bank finance let the poor upgrade their assets, acquire new assets, and diversify their livelihood sources. With the reduced dependency on money lenders for credit, increased surplus from economic activities and assets and reduced consumption expenditure, livelihoods of the poor have improved.

Assets. The value of assets at the household level almost tripled---from US$1032 to US$2974 on average during the six year project period, and there was a significant increase in the ownership of both immovable and movable assets. A large majority of this investment was leasing dry and wet land, constructing houses, purchasing milch animals, and purchasing gold jewelry. Many households now participate in land lease markets. The extent of irrigated land owned by the poor also increased. Many women took up non-farm activities, including small manufacturing and trading including garments, furniture and retail trading in consumption goods. The turnover from assets also increased by 177% during this period.

Food Security. The project helped many VOs access rice through the public distribution system and procure rice and other food commodities in bulk from the market on credit. Over half a million households and 5,577 VOs, across the six districts achieved food security through the program. The turnover handled by the VOs in DPIP districts for the Rice Credit Line (RCL) was US$171 Million. As a result an average household was able to increase its annual income through savings on transaction cost of US$48. Food assurance has reduced the proportion of indebted households from 21% to 13% and increased the daily wage rate by 30% due to the enhanced bargaining power of the poor farmer. 

Find out more about the rice credit line in the 
Livelihoods Learning Note and a presentation by Vijay Kumar, CEO of the Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty

Market Access . The project invested significantly in value addition at the local level for various agribusiness activities by developing market linkages with public, cooperative, and private sectors. These linkages enabled producers to realize price increases of more than 30%. Access to the market was improved by

  • meeting critical infrastructure gaps (e.g. setting up bulk milk cooling centers);
  • promoting wholesale trade by community groups in commodities produced and consumed by the poor; and
  • developing franchises and partnerships with private sector.

Over 1500 VOs now implement collective marketing activities, including 695 community-managed procurement centers. In addition, 273 VOs and 42 MS operate village procurement and bulk milk cooling centers and act as franchises for large state and national dairy companies and cooperatives. The cumulative collective marketing turnover in 2006 (project closing), including all commodities was US$38.8 million. These investments also contributed to the increased sustainability and viability of individual economic activities taken up by the poor households.

Jobs. The project supported rural youth in SHG-member households by providing skill development, scanning the market for employment opportunities and providing placement support in partnership with many private sector organizations and employers. The project also supported Livelihood Advancement Business Schools (LABS) at the district and mandal levels. In FY 2005-2006 (project closing), a total of 11,883 youth belonging to poor households were offered placement in training programs and/or jobs. A post assessment study conducted on youth who took jobs in urban areas revealed that, on average, each was earning annually about US$1000 and sending about US$500 as annual remittance back to their families.

Household Income and Consumption. According to a CESS impact study based on a sample of households, the annual income per household increased in absolute terms by 115% from US$483 to US$1041 over the last five years of the six-year project, compared to a 64% increase for non-participant households. On the whole, the average household expenditure increased US$196 per annum, and project households spent three times more on education.  A January 2007 survey indicated that a substantial part of the income increase was reinvested in existing and new livelihoods.

Reduced in Vulnerability and Indebtedness. Dependence on high-cost sources of borrowing reduced by more than one-third. Small but compulsory savings and inter-lending by SHG members reduced the dependence of the members on traditional high-cost sources of borrowing, often interlinked with commodity/labor sales. Interest payments significantly reduced from an average of US$104.5 to US$60 per household, indicating access to credit on reasonable terms from commercial banks and less credit from moneylenders.

Reduction in distress migration. Improved food security through the project interventions and other livelihood impacts significantly reduced distress migration, which was a common feature in drought prone areas of Anantpur and Mahbubnagar and parts of Chittoor Districts.

Access to insurance services. Over half a million households purchased life insurance coverage (death and disability insurance) on a voluntary basis. This is more than a three-fold (15 percent of poor households have insurance) increase when compared to the scenario in 2003 (less than 4 percent of poor household had life insurance coverage).

Increase in school enrollment for girls and their academic performance

APDPIP included a component to increase girls enrollment in schools by creating bridge schools that helped girls who had been working back into education. 

  • Female enrollment, increased from 91.95 percent in 2001-02 to full enrollment when the project closed. The number of girl laborers enrolled in residential schools was 21,468, which exceeded the target of 15,000.
  • 78.42% of girls enrolled moved into regular schools from bridge schools.
  • During, 2002-03, in 7  th class the pass percentage was 97% and in 2005-06 it was 100%.
  • The performance in high school (Senior School Certificate - SSC) examination improved from 76.75% to 93.92% with six schools achieving 100% results in SSC.
  • The drop out rates from residential schools decreased from 14.8% in 2001 to 4.3% in 2005-06, and the project resulted in motivating parents to withdraw their girls from work and to send them to schools and into hostels.
  • Academic performance in bridge schools was found to be better compared to other government schools.

Greater inclusiveness in the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Political Empowerment

During the project, SHG members were sensitized to their entitlements and their potential role in local government institutions, including PRIs. A large number of poor women were willing to stand for elections, and 4072 were ultimately elected. These included all tiers of local government from the district, Mandal, and ward level, and they included leadership positions. According to CESS, 2.33% of participant members stood for election, out of which 1.3% won. In comparison, 1.54% of non-participants stood for election and only 0.7% won. The CESS study concluded that political empowerment had occurred among poor women due to the project, and it points out an increase in participation by women in gram sabhas and community level meetings conducted by panchayat bodies.

Access to government programs and services and Improvements in household perception of the quality and quantity of government services

A number of factors contributed to improved service delivery: 

  • community institutions provided a ready database to channel funds from line departments, which  made targeting for service delivery agents more efficient, and some public agencies have outsourced or franchised some of their services to community based organizations (CBOs). Up to November 2006, a total of 822,602 pensions worth US$31 million were distributed by VOs.
  • CBOs organized midday meal services, executed watershed works, mobilized and mainstreamed child labor, increased school enrollment and mobilized immunization and sanitation campaigns.
  • CBOs have also provided additional teachers to primary schools at their own cost.
  • CBOs carried out a social audit of the Employment Guarantee Scheme.
  • An external evaluation by CESS:
    • school drop out rates have decreased and enrollment ratio has increased---87% of the participant households (compared to 80% of non-participants) in Srikakulam and 78% in Adilabad (compared to 75% of non participants) reported better performance of primary schools.
    • health seeking behavior in terms of improved antinatal checks, hospital deliveries, and increased participation in immunization campaigns has improved.
    • use of services provided by Primary Health Centers, ICDS, Employment Guarantee Scheme and veterinary services available at the village and sub-district levels has increased.
    • the proportion of households with immunization cards and children receiving BCG vaccination increased from 78% in the baseline survey to 91% in 2006 among participants.
    • Breast feeding increased by almost 10% among participants in comparison to non-participants.

By and large, the proportion of households who access the various government programs is high among participants as compared to the non-participants.

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 Madhya Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project

MPDPIPs core investment was to support the formation common interest groups (CIGs) of the poor and help them become self-managed, self-reliant, and sustainable institutions. This has enabled the poor to access a range of services, resources and expertise from both public and private sector. Studies show that the project successfully achieved its objectives:

  • The project’s interventions have enabled the poor and poorest households to acquire assets (especially livestock) and shift from wage employment to self employment.
  • The poor and the poorest households have brought their fallow land under cultivation. There is a reduction in distress and contract migration, especially for women and children
  • There is also a reduction in debt burden and dependence on moneylenders.
  • CIGs have become a major credit supply institution with increased access to finance from commercial banks. The poor households are now perceived as clients by commercial banks.

By the end of June 2008:

  • the project reached more than 325,724 households (108% of completion target) in 2,817 villages (115% of completion target)
  • A total of 56,089 CIGs have been organized (467% of completion target).
  • 2650 VDCs have been registered and received apna kosh funds totaling almost US$8.3 million from CIGs to sustain activities after the project.
  • Communities contributed US$6.2 million equivalent in cash towards sub-project costs.
  • On gender empowerment and tribal development, the project organized 16,093 (29%) sub-projects for women and 14,357 (26%) sub-projects for Scheduled Tribes.
  • A total of 3882 village infrastructure projects were set-up, which meant that the project met its target to set-up on average at least one such investment in every village covered by the project. Participation of tribal groups significantly exceeded the stated completion target of 6%.


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