Using individual PPI indicators for analysis beyond poverty scoring alone

Calum Scott
• Opportunity International Australia
• Australia
• 03/23/17

Hi all. I’m the Global Impact Director for Opportunity International and lead Opportunity’s global Social Performance Management (SPM) program. Opportunity is an Institutional Support Partner of the PPI Alliance and we have promoted use of the PPI among our partners and other stakeholders for a number of years.


I’d be very interested to hear how other networks and FSPs have used data from individual PPI indicators:

  • Which PPI indicators are useful on a standalone basis?
  • What use did you put the data to? Did you make operational or strategic decisions based on this data?
  • Do you report this data to management/Board? Or do you report this data externally?
  • What type of questions would you like to see included more (or less) in PPI scorecards? Eg asset ownership questions? Access to services? Household demographic information?


20 of Opportunity’s network partners (FSPs) collect PPI data. A few have used data from individual indicators for:

  • Understanding client need – our partner in Indonesia collected data from across all of their branches. Responses to the PPI question “What type of toilet arrangement does the household have?” provided management with data that identified a lack of access to proper sanitation facilities in specific geographic areas. The partner is now piloting a health education and sanitation loan product.
  • Product/service development – our partner in India identified specific areas where a significant minority of clients lacked access to mobile phones. This information influenced the partner’s delivery strategy, in light of current trends towards mobile phone banking. Data on access to transportation has similarly been used in this way.
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Dear Scott, I am Raymond Mukisa from CRS Uganda, below are few comments/experiences about the use of PPI 1. Highest grade that the female head/spouse completed is a useful PPI indicators that stand alone (Question 3) 2. We use this data to help us when designing training interventions for female participants in our SILC/Savings groups. The literacy levels help us to customize trainings offered to different categories of beneficiaries 3. we sometimes report this data to management and our donors externally 4. Include the following questions a) Decision making mechanisms of the female household members b) Financial inclusion indicators like membership to saving groups c) Social-economic characteristics of households like occupation, sources of incomes and food etc
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Hi Calum, This is Sachi Shenoy of Upaya Social Ventures and we invest in small and growing businesses (SGBs) in order to create dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor. We do ask our portfolio businesses to administer PPI surveys to a sampling of their job holders so that we may assess progress out of poverty. We like to keep track of the assets that are asked about in the India PPI scorecard; it is interesting for us to note what purchase decisions a household is making once it is able to increase its income. In our surveys, we inquire about a few other asset questions such as mobile phones and bicycles. We find that these are often the highest priority purchases once income increases. We also keep track of overall housing quality. If we see, for example, over time that the household is acquiring more and more assets but is unable to improve the overall condition of their homes, we can brainstorm ways to help. With one of our portfolio of businesses, we experimented with salary advances that could be applied to home improvement projects.
Oikocredit's recent interview on the PPI blog talks about they have used responses to some of the individual PPI indicators. check it out here:
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Hi Everyone, At Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN), we have used PPI to determine eligibility of potential investee credit borrower social enterprises/MFIs (essentially, are they REALLY serving/employing the working poor BoP?) and to determine income set backs/adverse impact effects upon micro-borrowers after natural disasters. This helps us determine re-capitalization efforts. Hope you find this helpful.
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Hey Calum, I'm from the Islamic Microfinance Unit of UK-based Islamic Relief Worldwide. We have developed an Android device form that takes the responses to our central MIS where all the scores are generated. We've piloted in Pakistan and we're in an early stage of the usage but we're mainly assessing how deep our outreach is. However, we have noticed that some responses and their scores are a bit broad. For ex.: 10. Does the household own a motorcycle, scooter, car, or other vehicle? A. No 0 B. Yes 12 Now having a bicycle would give the person 12. Having an old worn-out motorcycle will also give them a 12. And having a car will also give them a 12. So it's clubbing individuals from highly varying income backgrounds into one group. Same is the case with some other questions. Has anyone figured out how this broad generalization can be addressed? Regards, Jasim