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SROI analysis of a development project for women of Menschen für Menschen in Ginde Beret (Ethiopia)

Fotocredit: Menschen für Menschen

The women's projects of the aid organization Menschen für Menschen were analyzed for their social and economic effectiveness. This social return on investment analysis (SROI analysis) was carried out by the NPO & SE Competence Center of the Vienna University of Economics and Business. In Washa Catchment, a sub-area of the project region Ginde Beret where about 10,000 people live, the impact of women's projects was evaluated over a period of three years. The study commissioned by the Essl Foundation concludes that the women's program is highly effective: the sum of the financially evaluated impacts corresponds to around 27 times the value of the financial investments made. This means that every donation euro that has flowed into the Menschen für Menschen women's program generates a social return on investment worth 26.60 euros for society.

Methodology of the SROI analysis

The aim of the SROI analysis is to explicitly capture not only the financial added value but also the social impact and thus the social value. A key point here is the identification of the most important stakeholders, such as the participating women, relatives, day laborers, regional authorities, etc. For each group, the resources used (input) are compared with the services achieved (output) and their effects (outcome). This identified outcome is verified, quantified and finally, as far as possible and reasonable, evaluated in monetary units. The sum then corresponds to the total financial value of the social impacts achieved. This total value is compared to the project investment. This yields the ratio figure of "social return on investment." In this case, each euro invested in women's projects resulted in an overall social value of 26.60 euros.

The quantification and financial evaluation of the project's impact was based on qualitative on-site surveys, the inclusion of data from Menschen für Menschen and extensive secondary data research. The SROI analysis did not include effects that arose independently of the specific women's project under review. For example, interactions from other areas of Menschen für Menschen's integrated approach or measures taken by the Ethiopian government.

Impressive result

On the basis of the surveys and calculations carried out, the total impact for the years 2011 to 2013 corresponds to a financial value of 3.36 million euros. This compares with investments of around 126,000 euros. This results in a social return on investment of 26.6, which means that each euro invested creates an impact on society as a whole equivalent to 26.6 euros and is thus returned around 27 times over. This value is far higher than for projects in more developed countries. This is mainly due to the fact that a comparatively small budget can generate high societal benefits due to widespread lack of basic services.

"The value is extremely high," says Olivia Rauscher, head of the study at WU's NPO & SE Competence Center. "The study shows quite clearly the high positive impact achieved by the Women's Program of People for People in this region. Not only for the women themselves, but for the entire local society."

"Every euro invested in the project achieves an impact worth around 27 euros through our work, which corresponds to a return on investment of almost 2700%," Rupert Weber, executive director of Menschen für Menschen, is pleased with the result of the study. "This result also confirms the personal impression I myself regularly take away from project visits: The work of Menschen für Menschen brings about long-term positive changes for all residents in the project regions. The impressive result also shows that the donations entrusted to us are used with the greatest possible impact."

Women's programs at Washa Catchment

The Washa Catchment is a sub-region of the Ginde Beret project region and covers around 70km² - roughly equivalent to the area of the city of Salzburg. The measures, whose effects were examined in the context of the study, aim at the improvement of the living conditions of women in rural Ethiopia and contain among other things: Measures on improved hygiene and housekeeping, micro-credit programs, vegetable gardens, cooking courses, wood-saving stoves and combating harmful traditions such as circumcision or early marriage.

Commitment of the Essl Foundation

The study on the social return on investment was commissioned by the Essl Foundation. In 2011, the Foundation awarded the Essl Social Prize for the work of Menschen für Menschen. The prize money of 1 million euros was used to implement integrated development measures in the Washa Catchment. During the analysis, the measures implemented specifically in the area of women's empowerment were examined with regard to their sustainable effectiveness.

Impacts achieved by the women's projects

The most significant positive impacts naturally arise for the participating women, followed by their relatives. The women themselves benefited primarily from improved health as well as time and labor savings, which can be attributed to the dissemination of wood-saving stoves as well as sanitation and hygiene measures. In addition, the project participants were able to generate additional income through participation in the microcredit program as well as through the sale of newly established vegetable varieties. The knowledge gained from various courses as well as the increased self-confidence through the measures of the women's program also contributed significantly to the overall benefit of the participants.

Relatives also benefited significantly through improved health, which was reflected, for example, in a reduction in malnutrition among children. Other surveyed impacts included higher educational attainment among children and an increased sense of safety among girls due to a reduction in harmful traditions. There was an additional benefit for husbands, who experienced psychological relief. As a result of women's increased financial independence, men are no longer solely responsible for household income.

Mag.rer.soc.oec. Olivia Rauscher

Olivia Rauscher

Senior Researcher
Responsibilities: Social Impact Measurements focusing on SROI analysis, evaluation, social inequality, poverty reduction, health promotion and prevention
Mag.Dr.rer.soc.oec. Christian Grünhaus

Christian Grünhaus

Academic Director, Senior Researcher (prev. Schober)
Responsibilities: Work and research focus: Evaluation, SROI analyzes, financing, donation behavior, job satisfaction and motivation, care for the elderly, care for the disabled and accessibility