When working with the poor, the stakes are high. A misinformed decision can lead to wasting precious resources or missing opportunities to help families in need. This is why Grameen Foundation believes so strongly that real, objective data should drive decision-making in programs that serve the poor. We applaud organizations for sharing this belief and putting it into practice with the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®).
In 2010, Grameen Foundation established a PPI certification program. Since then, we have developed meaningful standards for PPI implementation and certified 23 organizations. As more professionals see the value in poverty data, the demand for PPI Certification has risen. This demand and our long-term vision for poverty data have caused us to look to new models for delivering PPI Certification.
We are happy to share that beginning early 2014, PPI Certification will be delivered by rating agencies. Microfinance institutions and other organizations will enjoy the convenience of the PPI Certification being bundled with existing ratings packages. Grameen Foundation will continue to provide oversight of the PPI Standards of Use and maintain a public list of organizations that have received certification.
Grameen Foundation will also provide a self-audit tool that may be used to prepare for certification or simply to internally assess performance.
The PPI Standards of Use have been revised to make them more relevant given the rising level of competency among PPI users. Changes were made based on our experience over the past three years, the progress that the industry has made in understanding and using client-level poverty data, and generous feedback from the participating rating agencies, particularly MicroFinanza Rating. Additionally, the new standards are now applicable to programs beyond microfinance. Any organization implementing the PPI may earn PPI Certification.
The new PPI Standards of Use will be published in April of 2014.
Organizations may pursue a Basic or Advanced Certification. A separate certification for tracking poverty over time will no longer be offered, as those standards have been integrated into the new Advanced Certification.
A Basic Certification indicates that the organization employs best practices for accurate poverty measurement. The Basic Standards of Use will now include four standards that were previously considered advanced, as well as new standards. The new Basic standards are designed to ensure the integrity of an organization’s PPI data.
Organizations that receive an Advanced Certification demonstrate exceptional integration of poverty data within their operations. The organization has set up systems to effectively capture and analyze poverty data along with other client-level characteristics. These insights lead to changes that improve the organization’s offerings and outreach to the poor. The new Advanced standards have been designed to better distinguish high performers.
Benefits for Practitioners
- Gauge how well your organization is using the PPI
- Identify weaknesses and areas for improvement
- Publicly demonstrate your commitment to reaching and serving the poor
- Mitigate reputational risks and enhance your brand
- Become a leader in poverty measurement
- Improve transparency
- Compare your practices to others using the different levels of certification
- Increase your organization’s confidence in using the tool
- Build excitement among staff about furthering your mission
- Differentiate yourself among peers
- Demonstrate your success through an objective, third-party review
- Attract mission-driven investors and donors
Benefits for Investors and Donors
- Certified organizations display a deep commitment to serving the poor
- Certified organizations are poised to improve their practices based on feedback from rating agencies
- Organizations that have received Advanced Certification have demonstrated the deepest level of commitment to using poverty data to enhance their products and services
Trust the Results
- Rating agencies thoroughly review the practices and data of organizations
Organizations that are currently PPI certified will retain their certified status until the date of expiration, two years after the certification was given. The industry should continue to feel confident, as we do, in the integrity of these organizations’ poverty data. Organizations that received PPI Certification over the past three years were pioneers in collecting and using poverty data.
When seeking certification renewal, these organizations will be required to comply with the new standards. However, we encourage currently certified organizations to begin complying with the new standards as soon as possible after they are published in April of 2014.
To apply for PPI Certification, contact any of the four rating agencies to notify them of your interest. We recommend that organizations seek PPI Certification as an extension to another rating product in order to reduce cost and staff time required. We also encourage organizations to review the revised PPI Standards of Use, to be published in April, before requesting certification. A self-audit tool will also be made available at that time.
Please direct questions to Frank Ballard at firstname.lastname@example.org.