KIT Royal Tropical Institute is engaged in assessing the impact of the “Strengthening African Rural Smallholders” project (STARS). The four-year project is funded by the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) and implemented by ICCO in four African countries.
STARS supports microfinance institutions in developing financial products for smallholder commercial producers, producer groups, as well as small and medium size enterprises. Using a Theory of Change, KIT employs a mixed methods approach to assess all aspects, steps and assumptions. Gender-specific data collection and analysis, including in-depth interviews with female farmers, yields insights and lessons related to the impact of inclusive finance products and policies at all levels: from cooperatives and producer groups to inter- and intra-household levels, related to productivity and production, commercial strategies and sales, income and wellbeing. Learning is an explicit strategy at the level of the groups, microfinance institutions, and MCF and ICCO partners of STARS.