- January 25, 2020
Impact Economix conducted a summative evaluation of the Jobs Funded micro-finance initiative Creating Micro-Jobs for Rural Women in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa (for Government Technical Advisory Centre: National Treasury. This evaluation was undertaken for the following reasons:
• To find out whether a particular job creation intervention is effective, i.e. are actual new sustainable jobs being created as a result of the JF grant (using the JF and Phakamani agreed definition of a job i.e. a Phakamani client that has completed re-payment of three Phakamani loans)?
• Secondly, projects are evaluated to try and find out how a particular project has been able to catalyse growth, and why or why not it been successful? How sustainable is a particular initiative (will it end when the JF grant is over)? And importantly, how can particular job creation initiatives may be replicated to another industry, geography, or for additional jobs?
• To promote accountability and transparency, and to assess and disclose the extent of project accomplishments.
• To synthesize lessons that can help to improve the selection, design and implementation of future Jobs Fund funded projects.
• To provide feedback on issues that are recurrent across the JF projects portfolio and need attention, and on improvements regarding previously identified issues.
• To build a body of knowledge that can contribute to public policy.
The data and evidence collection process involved conducting 6 focus groups with rural women beneficiaries, key informant interviews with project implementation staff and beneficiaries, and two surveys of of clients who have recently successfully paid off a 3rd loan (total of 4,455 clients are currently in their 4th loan cycle with a response target of 354 responses) and clients who have either defaulted on a loan or who have turned down the option to secure a 2nd or 3rd loan (with a response target of 132 responses).
The Most Significant Change technique was used. MSC is a tool for exploring programme outcomes/impact using qualitative methods. MSC is a qualitative and participatory form of monitoring and evaluation based on the collection and systematic selection of stories of reported changes from development activities. As Davies suggests, the MSC also helps provide texture to stories of change that are “are difficult to quantify and where there is a focus on learning, not merely accountability”. This method allows one to unpack the who, what and why a change took place as well as the specific role of the project in effecting the change. MSC is most useful:
• Where it is not possible to predict in any detail or with any certainty what the outcome will be.
• Where outcomes will vary widely across beneficiaries.
• Where there may not yet be agreements between stakeholders on what outcomes are the most important.