Cost-effective Household Surveys: Key Lessons for Implementing a Household Livelihood Survey on a Budget

  • Date Posted: December 31, 2012
  • Authors: Jessica Shortall
  • Organizations/Projects: FHI 360
  • Document Types: Other, Assessment
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

This document outlines the key lessons learned for the cost-effective implementation of a household livelihoods survey, drawn from the experience of a successful effort in earthquake-affected Pakistan. In 2005, a massive earthquake struck the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region of Pakistan, damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and livelihoods. ShoreBank International Ltd (SBI) and its Pakistani partner, the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), responded to the disaster with the "Advancing Microfinance for Post-Disaster Economic Reconstruction" (AMPER) project, with support from the USAID Implementation Grant Program. Its goal was to increase access to financial services for the poor in the disaster-affected area.

Before financial products could be developed to suit the post-earthquake situation, SBI and NRSP recognized the need to gather market and livelihood information in the AJK region. In 2007, AMPER accordingly implemented a two-month household livelihood survey, reaching 1,510 households across AJK. The survey gathered information about the population, housing and household amenities, borrowing practices, savings and remittances, and demand for financial services. Survey results helped AMPER address local financial needs with appropriate products and services. Through careful planning and collaboration, AMPER survey staff came in 21 percent under budget without compromising data quality or field staff safety. The survey cost less than US$11,000 to implement, or just over US$7 per household reached.

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