This page offers a collection of stories which illustrate the great potential of the private sector to improve the living conditions of the poor by creating jobs and income at scale (nominally more than 10,000 beneficiaries). Most stories are based on results that are self-reported and broadly credible. More submissions are welcome.
For robust research and evidence on results, please refer to the DCED Evidence Framework; private sector development programmes which underwent an external audit of their results measurement system are listed here. Further insights into how to achieve results at scale can be found in Getting to Scale: Lessons in reaching scale in PSD programmes, by Gareth Davies, 2016.
Featured story: Assets and Training for Ultra-Poor Women in Bangladesh
The Bangladesh-based development NGO BRAC developed a programme targeted at the ultra-poor that used a ‘big-push’ approach, combing both a large-scale asset transfer and skills training.
What has been done? The programme offered women a range of productive assets, such as livestock, or assets for cultivating vegetables and making and selling handicrafts. Most beneficiaries (97%) chose livestock and the livestock received was valued at approximately US$140, nearly double the average baseline wealth of households eligible for the programme. A training programme of equivalent value was also provided over two years to support recipients in working with their new assets.
What has been achieved? According to a 2007-2014 evaluation of 1,300 villages and 21,000 households, the programme has triggered long-term and large-scale benefits for the poor. Though the programme ended after two years, the benefits have continued to accrue; After four years, the ultra-poor increased hours devoted to livestock rearing by 361% and earnings increased by 37%. The programme resulted in increased ‘non-durable’ (i.e. food) consumption, household savings, and value of household assets. Further, it led to a decline of 8.4 percentage points in the number of households living on less than $1.25 per day. Sources: Oxfam, 2015 and IGC, 2015.
- Bandhan is working to transform the lives of the poorest in India—particularly women and their dependent families—through its evidence-based Targeting the Hardcore Poor (THP) “graduation model.” This programme provides a productive asset, a temporary allowance, mandatory savings, and 24 months of training/mentoring to a female in each participating household. THP has been proven to improve women’s financial inclusion, income, and household food security. Since launching THP in 2006, Bandhan has lifted more than 45,000 households out of extreme poverty. Source: USAID.
Featured story: Market-based sanitation in Cambodia
Sanitation in rural Cambodia is poor, with serious repercussions on health, income and productivity. The Asian Development Bank estimates that 7% of Cambodia’s GDP is lost due to its lack of sanitation.
What has been done? iDE conducted supply and demand studies to better understand sanitation markets in Cambodia. iDE then commissioned the design of low-cost latrines which local businesses, with a little training, could make and sell.
What has been achieved? More than 300,000 improved latrines have now been purchased, which has led to an increase in households with improved latrine, from 29% in 2012, to 67% in 2018. In particularly poor households, ownership of an improved latrine increased from 12% in 2012 to 52% in 2018. Source: iDE, 2019.
- In Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, and other countries, KickStart has sold 335,000 human-powered irrigation pumps at low cost to farmers since 1991. KickStart’s pumps have enabled these farmers to increase their productivity and increase of annual household incomes by 100-200%. Farming households have also created about 230,000 jobs. In total, Kickstart has helped about 1.3 million people move out of poverty. Source: KickStart, 2019.
- In Nepal, USAID’s Smallholder Irrigation Market Initiative (SIMI) focused on promoting low-cost micro-irrigation technologies, combined with capacity building and value chain development activities for high-value crops.Between 2003 and 2008, the project helped generate more than $30 million in additional agricultural sales, and increased the incomes of 72,760 households (about 500,000 people) by an average of $209 annually through the sale of vegetables. Access full impact story (USAID, 2013).