From January – February 2014, an impact assessment of the MEDA Pakistan “Entrepreneurs” project was conducted by Innovative Development Strategies (IDS), an independent Pakistani consulting firm with the support of Management Systems International (MSI), USAID Pakistan’s program evaluation partner.
The impact assessment indicates that the project performed well against the Mission Strategic Framework and exceeded project targets. The impact assessment highlights the following key results:
- The Project was able to increase the net sales of its 75,000 beneficiaries (of which over 75% were women) by 147%, thus much exceeding its target of increasing net sales by 50%. Ninety-five percent of project beneficiaries were from rural areas in Pakistan.
- As a direct result of project activities, beneficiaries were able to access wider markets for their products and benefitted from higher profits of their products; 60% of beneficiaries were introduced to new markets; 75% were linked with group leads; and 26% were linked with large-scale domestic producers. In terms of access to finance, very few beneficiaries were linked to formal financial institutions mainly because of the scarcity of such institutions in rural areas.
- Part of the success of the project can be attributed to the fact that the project focused its resources in developing and improving the skills of the beneficiaries, which allowed them to manage their enterprises more effectively. The impact assessment found that 26% of beneficiaries had improved marketing skills; 31% had improvement in preservation of outputs; and 26% had improvement in quality control.
- The program had a strong emphasis on female empowerment. Focus group responses indicated a positive change in the way female employment and entrepreneurship was viewed. This indicates a positive effect of the project on the perception of beneficiaries (male and female both) towards women empowerment.
- The USAID Entrepreneur’s Project has had substantial positive impact on the lives of its beneficiaries and their families. They have been able to spend the additional income on their children’s education and on the purchase of durable goods. It also played a part in giving confidence to female beneficiaries as many of them are now performing tasks which previously only male members of their family could do.
NOTE: The full Impact Assessment report is included along with a short two page report that MEDA Pakistan team developed.