The Hunger Project - Integrating the PPI into outcome indicator frameworks >

The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project (THP) works to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world. Our programs throughout Africa, South Asia and Latin America are based on an innovative, holistic approach, which empowers women and men living in rural villages to become the agents of their own development and make sustainable progress in overcoming hunger and poverty.

While adapted to meet local challenges and opportunities wherever we work, all our programs have at their foundation three essential pillars:

  1. Start by empowering women as key change agents
  2. Mobilizing entire communities into self-reliant action
  3. Fostering effective partnerships to engage local government

1. When did your organization start using the PPI, and why? What was the need you were hoping to address?

For an organization focused on ending hunger and poverty, it was critical for The Hunger Project to measure poverty rates. However, most data available to the public is collected at the national or state level, and does not necessarily correspond to the real poverty rates in our communities, where we would expect to see higher poverty. Tracking income can also be extraordinarily difficult in rural communities where most households are smallholder farmers. The PPI was attractive because it was a brief, well-researched set of questions that we could use to estimate poverty rates directly in our communities. The Hunger Project has been using the PPI since 2012.

2. How does your organization use the PPI? To measure poverty outreach? To improve social performance (targeting or product/service design)? To track changes?

The Hunger Project uses the PPI to measure poverty rates at baseline and then track changes over time. Once a community is surveyed for the first time, our program teams will set a target to reduce the poverty rate of the community. All our program targets are set after a baseline study is completed. In general, our national program staff will determine targets based on the achievement to date and what is needed for the community to achieve self-reliance. We have target ranges for many indicators, which are based on the achievement of the top-performing communities on that indicator. Specifically for the PPI, we encourage teams to set a target of halving the extreme poverty rate (measured against the $1.25/day 2005 PPP poverty line), to be consistent with the Millennium Development Goals. PPI data is collected again every 3-4 years to determine whether poverty rates have changed.

3. Does your organization collect PPI data directly from households, or do you get PPI data reported to you from partners/investees?

The Hunger Project collects PPI data directly from households using trained enumerators and mobile surveys. See more detail on this below.

4. What did PPI data tell you that you didn’t already know? What actions has your organization taken as a result of what you've learned from the PPI data? For example, have you made changes to your product offerings, your client base, or your business model? Or chosen to invest or partner with organizations differently?

The PPI is the only tool currently used by The Hunger Project to assess poverty in communities. Without the PPI, we would have to find a different tool or identify a few proxy indicators, but the PPI is preferred as it is statistically sound yet simple to implement, and its accuracy is well-documented. PPI results are used for target-setting and planning and are a key indicator in determining whether our communities are ready to graduate to self-reliance.

5. Is PPI helping you to achieve your goals? What impact do you think PPI has had on your organization and/or its beneficiaries?  How many people do you think have benefited from your organization’s use of the PPI?

Yes, the PPI has provided data that The Hunger Project needs to reach its goals. The PPI has allowed us to efficiently access data that we otherwise would not have at the community level, or would have to employ a much more complicated and lengthy survey to obtain. The PPI has been implemented in 10 of the countries where we work, covering more than 20,000 households in communities with an estimated population of over 2 million people.

6. Describe the logistics of collecting and using the PPI at your organization. This could include what data collection platform you use, who does the data collection, whether data is collected via sample or census, how many households you collect PPI data on, whether data collection is integrated into operations, how frequently data is collected, who does the data analysis, and whether the PPI is used as part of a broader monitoring and evaluation strategy.

The PPI has been integrated into our indicator frameworks for eight countries in Africa, and in Bangladesh and Mexico. The data is collected during outcome evaluation surveys, where we collect data on a larger set of outcome and impact indicators. This data is collected every 2-4 years in each program site. The surveys are conducted digitally using Samsung tablets and iFormBuilder software by third party enumerators, often university students, trained and supervised by our staff. In each community, a random selection of households will be surveyed through a sample that is statistically representative of the area that The Hunger Project intends to impact. This number usually ranges from 200-500, depending on the size of the community and the level of confidence selected. 

Once the data is collected, it is synced to a central server where it can be viewed and downloaded for analysis. The analysis is conducted in THP’s Global Office to ensure consistency across program sites, though much of the calculation is done in the iFormBuilder program itself. Once the results have been calculated and verified, the results of the PPI and other indicators in the outcome evaluation surveys are shared with the rest of THP staff via our global database. The staff in the program country are responsible for hosting a community data presentation, where they present the results to community members and use them to set targets and priorities. The PPI is integrated into our indicator frameworks and is essential in determining whether a community is ready to graduate from The Hunger Project’s program.

Photo credits: The Hunger Project