IA Brazil

The USAID/Brazil Micro and Small Enterprise Trade-Led Growth Program is intended to demonstrate that targeted assistance to key small lead firms can open export markets and lead to increased sales. Because the lead firms selected for assistance involve large numbers of microenterprises, as suppliers of finished and semi-finished products, and hire low-income workers, the increased sales will benefit small microenterprises and the poor through expanded opportunities to supply goods and services tot he lead firms, increased employment, and income.

Impact Assessment Overview

The program was initially selected to be the subject of one of two impact assessments of USAID-supported private sector development programs under the Private Sector Development Impact Assessment Initiative (PSDIAI) to test the application of USAID’s impact assessment methodology to enterprise development programs. The USAID/Brazil Program was selected for the following reasons:

  • It is a relatively small, focused activity ($1.7 million over a two-year period).
  • It has a strong value-chain orientation that involves large numbers of poor, both as microenterprises and as employees in the value chains.
  • It is taking an integrated approach to enterprise development, including non-financial services and linkage activities.
  • It is being implemented by a DAI affiliate, guaranteeing full program management support.
    It was scheduled to coincide with the timing requirements of PSDIAI.

A PSDIAI team—consisting of Don Snodgrass, John Magill, and Andrea Chartock—visited Brazil in July 2005 to conduct an “evaluability assessment” as a first step in planning an impact evaluation for the program. Following meetings with the program team, USAID/Brazil’s CTO, and the PSDIAI CTO in Rio, it was decided that the program was not well suited to the type of impact assessment envisaged under PSDIAI because the short time-frame of the interventions limited the usefulness of the program as a case study. The fact that the interventions were not fully planned and the limited scope of the program meant that it was unlikely to produce large-scale, quantitatively measurable results within the program’s timeframe. In addition, the limited timeframe of the program that, even though it might be extended, did not meet the two-year minimum follow-up period for an impact assessment.

Nevertheless, the program contained a significant monitoring and evaluation (M&E) component and planned to collect data relevant to impact assessment as part of its on-going M&E activity. Accordingly, a decision was made to scale back PSDIAI activities to a minimal effort that would support the program’s existing M&E plans. PSDIAI will use this opportunity to learn about the feasibility of building low-cost impact assessments into on-going program M&E activities as an alternative to large-scale, independent impact assessments.