When resources are scarce and social safety nets are weak, households’ ability to manage income and assets wisely may be an important determinant of economic security. However, many open questions remain about how households in low- and middle-income countries gain and exercise financial capability, and the best ways for governments and the private/nonprofit sector to help increase this capability.
With the exception of a small but important number of studies that have recently been completed or are currently under way, robust evidence regarding the efficacy of financial capability interventions is relatively sparse compared to the level of interest and programmatic activity. One reason for this is a lack of systematic evaluation.
While there are many useful toolkits that address different aspects of program evaluation, this Toolkit, sponsored by the World Bank’s Russia Financial Literacy and Education Trust Fund, focuses on the specific challenges of evaluating financial capability interventions in the low-income and middle-income country setting. A comprehensive approach to high-quality evaluation seeks to identify effects that can be causally attributed to a program, to draw conclusions about these effects that reflect both program theory and the realities of implementation, and to derive insights that can be reasonably generalized to a broader population. This Toolkit provides a practical guide to the various aspects of conducting such evaluations that addresses the specific needs of financial capability programs in the developing world.
The Toolkit draws from past experience and the experience of the Russia Financial Literacy and Education Trust Fund pilot projects to provide concrete and tangible examples for the reader that illustrate the specific circumstances and challenges in this field. For further reference, the reader is invited to adapt the templates and survey instruments provided freely. The hope is that the material presented here supports the efforts of a diverse group of users, and contributes to the generation of an ever more robust body of evidence on how to best support financial consumers around the developing world in their quest to achieve financial security.