The study was done following the methodology and tools of Results and Impact Management Systems (RIMS) developed by the IFAD to facilitate reporting on the achievement of program results and impact. RIMS information is used by the IFAD project management teams as tool to improve performance and to report on project-level achievements. RIMS uses a comparable set of indicators across IFAD projects. The system calls for each project to report on three levels of results: measures of physical progress (1st level results), functionality and sustainability indicators (2nd level results), and impact indicators. Two impact indicators are mandatory for each project: prevalence of child malnutrition and an asset ownership index. It is envisaged that impact assessment surveys would be conducted three times during the life of the project in order to measure changes over time for these two indicators.
Recognizing the needs of the small and marginal farmers, the IFAD has undertaken a six-year (July 2005–June 2011) project called “Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmers (MFMSF) Project” in collaboration with Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)—one of the world’s leading autonomous microfinance apex institutions, as a wholesaler of credit to NGOs—for on-lending to farmers. The International Federation for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been active in the microfinance sector in Bangladesh for over 20 years and today remains one of the most engaged donors in the sector. The MFMSF Project paves the way for a genuinely new institutional approach to delivery of financial services to small and marginal farmers in Bangladesh. The project is being implemented by PKSF through 25 of its medium and small partner organizations (NGOs). The project will cover a total of 210,000 beneficiaries. The project is being implemented in 14 districts in the north-western and north-central regions of Bangladesh, selected because they have high levels of poverty and good agricultural potential. Ten of the districts are in the north-west and four in the north-central. These 14 districts have 113 upazilas. The total population of these districts is 28 million, of which some 1.7 million will be reached by the project. The project focuses in particular on households that experience a food shortage (less than three meals a day) for more than two months a year, and on especially disadvantaged households (tribal households, those headed by women, and those with unemployed youth).
The objective of the project is to enable marginal and small farmers (both men and women) to access and utilize microfinance services in order to invest in existing and new farm and off-farm enterprises. Such services, linked with technical support, would enable these farmers to increase agricultural production, diversify income sources, and thus raise their household income and improve food security. The project will (i) channel credit funds through the PKSF as loans to its POs who then will on-lend to the members of beneficiary farmer groups that the POs have organized, (ii) provide limited support to the POs to develop their capacity in lending to agriculture (including crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, and agro-related enterprises), and (iii) provide support to build the capacity and skills of the members of farmers’ credit groups with the funds for both the DAE and the POs to train farmers and also provide technical support.
The survey was commissioned by the PKSF and funded by the IFAD.