Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Conducting an effective market survey is crucial to understanding demand and ensuring program success across a wide range of microfinance and development activities. Yet many organizations, due to time, financial, or logistical constraints, cannot complete an effective assessment, particularly in crisis-affected environments. How can these challenges be overcome? In 2007, the “Advancing Microfinance for Post-Disaster Economic Reconstruction” (AMPER) project of ShoreBank International (SBI) conducted a household livelihood survey in the Pakistani Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region, following the 2005 earthquake. This case study explores the challenges, successes, and lessons of this survey. Its primary objective is to highlight concrete examples of best practices in survey implementation in challenging environments for microfinance providers, as well as other development actors. (See the appendix for additional project materials, including the survey timeline, individuals interviewed for the case study, and details on survey subject areas).
In October 2005, the AJK region, one of the poorest in Pakistan, was hit by a massive earthquake. It destroyed or damaged more than 400,000 homes and eliminated almost one-third of local jobs. SBI responded to the disaster by establishing a program—AMPER—to foster economic recovery and housing improvements. The company first worked with local partners to conduct a comprehensive household survey across AJK.
The earthquake left hundreds of thousands of families in greater need of access to capital than ever before for purposes that included rebuilding homes and redeveloping assets. It was difficult to ascertain the earthquake’s total economic impact on individuals, families, and businesses, and therefore difficult to know what kind of financial products would speed recovery. The household survey was a first step in understanding the economic positions and needs of AJK families. This case study examines how the survey was able to anticipate, maintain communications, organize logistics, and remain flexible in the face of changing conditions.