The method was used to estimate the social and economic returns on investment (SROI) in one of Hand in Hand’s village projects in Kenya. During the two-year project period, over 400 villagers participated in self-help groups. They started 225 businesses, increased income among entrepreneurs by 296%, and savings by 166%.
The evaluation methods incorporate the social value of inclusion in a group, access to advisory services, and the possibility to make a livelihood. The results show that the village project in Kiboko had social and economic impacts equivalent to 32 shillings per one invested shilling. Impressive results.
The evaluation was conducted by Lind Invest, a Danish family-owned company specialising in social investments. The results were presented in February 2020. Afterward, Lind Invest decided to dedicate 4.5 million crowns to a co-operation with Hand in Hand Sweden. This contribution makes it possible to train 2,500 persons in starting businesses and lifting themselves out of poverty. The programme takes place over the course of three years and will improve living conditions for 7,500 persons, making positive impacts on entire local communities.
The objectives of the village project in Kiboko which was evaluated by Lind Invest were to:
• Give 450 villagers the opportunity to increase their incomes
• Increase standards of living
• Reduce poverty
• 414 villagers participated in self-help groups
• 225 businesses were started under the duration of the project (27 months)
• 20 existing businesses received assistance for growth
• 21 villagers found work/employment in the newly created businesses
• 296 % increased their incomes
• Savings increased by 166 %
• 164 villagers started saving for the first time
The objective of Hand in Hand’s village project is to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable people, predominantly women and their families. 60 % of the population in the Kiboko area live on less than 20 SEK per day. Lind Invest estimated both the economic and social returns of the project. In economic terms, the project led to increased incomes and savings among the participants. The social aspects measured include improved well-being – a measure based on the comprehensive UK Social Value Bank tool. Self-sufficiency, savings, and participation in self-help groups providing advisory services and support all contribute to an increased sense of well-being. The combined value of the social impacts was estimates at 30.40 shillings, which can be added to the estimated economic value of 2.48 shillings. Altogether, the net impacts of the project per invested shilling were estimated to be 32.88 shillings, i.e., a rate of 1:33.
Not all the effects of the village project in Kiboko can be measured in monetary terms. The project has led to improved health status as participants are able to afford medicine, better homes, more nutritious food, etc. These impacts could not be measured. Neither could the benefits of being included in a network or increased gender equality be included in the evaluation. These impacts would likely raise the SROI quota.