Through the combination of MEL tools, AKAM seeks to be able to answer the following three core questions:
- Who our clients are and should be
- What their needs are and how AKAM’s products help meet them
- How access to products contribute to changes in clients’ quality of life
MEL tools include: Progress out of Poverty Index: AKAM measures its clients’ poverty level using the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®), a poverty measurement tool developed by Grameen Foundation for organizations and businesses with a mission to serve the poor. AKAM has collaborated with Grameen Foundation USA to fund the PPI development for Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Mali. AKAM entities capture PPI data for clients through intake application forms and other periodic assessments. This data is used to report on poverty outreach, assess changes over time and inform product analysis and development by allowing client segmentation. Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Database: AKAM has worked with MFSYS, a software company, to develop the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Database (MELD). MELD is a web-based application that allows AKAM to collect client socio-demographic and poverty information, captured during client intake or through periodic assessments (e.g. client satisfaction surveys). MELD also extracts financial data from each entity’s core banking system. Combining different types of data allows AKAM to: segment clients into distinct groups; monitor product performance and uptake across different segments; understand the potential effect of different products on the clients' lives. This ultimately enables AKAM to tailor its products to meet the needs of identified segments. Client Experience Assessments: A key component of the MEL framework is assessing client experience with AKAM products and services. Assessing customer experience means asking clients about their satisfaction with the institution and the products and services it provides. It also allows AKAM to investigate how clients perceive access to its products and services satisfies their needs and supports their livelihoods and, more broadly, changes in their quality of life. AKAM uses this information to shape products and processes to better respond to clients’ needs, potentially creating a greater positive effect on clients’ lives. AKAM entities carry out client experience assessments in the form of Customer Satisfaction and Customer Exit Surveys on a periodic basis. These assessments are often carried out by product or service, to ensure feedback can be translated into concrete actions aimed at improving the current offering. Quality of Life Assessments: AKAM aims to improve the quality of life (QoL) of people by helping them to improve their incomes, become self-reliant and gain the skills needed to graduate into the mainstream financial markets. Thus, the assessment of changes in clients’ QoL is a key part of AKAM’s Social Performance Management practices. AKAM’s approach to assessing changes in QoL is informed by the AKDN’s QoL assessment methodology and aims to gauge AKAM’s contribution to changes in clients’ QoL, stemming from accessing AKAM’s products and services . AKAM has a three-pronged approach to measuring changes in clients’ QoL:
- Client experience plus – Periodic client satisfaction and exit surveys include questions that inquire about changes in QoL (both positive and negative) that clients perceive have taken place as a result of using AKAM’s products and services.
- QoL indicators captured in the MELD – analysis of changes in key socio-economic indicators captured from clients on an ongoing basis (e.g. PPI).
- In-depth QoL client interviews – qualitative interviews that explore not only what changes are taking place but also the processes leading to these changes.
While the assessment of changes in clients’ QoL is focused on understanding AKAM’s contribution, through component 3, AKAM also seeks to understand whether any QoL changes may be attributed to AKAM’s products and services. Attribution is based on the plausible association made by the client in their account of the changes that were made possible/facilitated by having access to AKAM’s products and services.