CBM helped conduct an exploratory study to investigate how the 'Social Return on Investment' framework can be applied in the field of livelihood development.
CBM aims to better understand what effects our work has on the lives of persons with disabilities, their families and communities. One of the approaches to capture changes is the framework of Social Return on Investment (SROI) which seeks to account for the social value created, based on financial returns as appreciated by the perception and experience of different stakeholders. This framework tries to make externalities visible which the common business economics methods like Return on Investment falls short of.
Objective of the study
CBM commissioned the Technical University Munich/Department of Diversity of Sociology to conduct an exploratory study to investigate how the SROI framework can be applied in the field of livelihood development.
The study came up with an SROI formula based on empirical field work carried out in livelihood development programmes targeting persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups in Coastal Kenya.
The formula incorporates the investment for individuals in form of a loan and the reinvestments into different areas of life like education, health, informal social security, assets, business or housing which affected their quality of life.
The study shows that
- Social impact from livelihood development for persons with disabilities featured high in terms of belonging to and taking actively part in community life;
- the SROI approach is not a very straight forward formula development but requires adaptation to each specific field;
- the SROI approach needs a cross-sectional design incorporating comparison data which is not always easily available (need for baseline data);
- further research is needed to improve the impact assessment technique to measure impact and calculate returns holistically.
Hence this study applied the SROI approach in a very feasible and contextualized manner acknowledging the limitations especially to quantify and monetize the social aspects. This research is a very important contribution in improving measurement of the impact of our work.