mSTAR/Bangladesh Midline Evaluation Survey
The purpose of the midline evaluation is to respond to key questions regarding the outcomes and impact of mSTAR/B project activities, examine how mSTAR/B grantees and technical assistance (TA) recipients have been incorporating mobile payments into their projects and evaluate the extent to which mSTAR/B learning products, workshops, technical assistance, and dialogue facilitation are contributing to the adoption of MM payments. This midline evaluation will illustrate clear conclusions about what happened as a result of implementing mSTAR/B interventions. The main evaluation questions are as follows:
- What is the result of mSTAR/B grants program, awareness-raising activities, learning documents, TA and dialogue facilitation for adopting MM payments by staff and beneficiaries of USAID/B health and agriculture projects?
- What are the reasons for not adopting MM payments by non-user IPs? What is the perception of MM non-user IPs regarding the required preparation for fulfilling PEB requirements?
- How and to what extent targeted projects of USAID/B are achieving increased productivity and efficiency as a result of incorporating MM payments across their programmatic and operational interventions?
A baseline study conducted by mSTAR/B on the status of mobile money usage by USAID IPs finalized in June 2014 found that 86% of respondents (representing 24 organizations) were not using mobile money. Of the three organizations that were using mobile money during the baseline, one of them effectively started after receiving support from mSTAR/B. This is because the baseline was conducted after some mSTAR/B project activities had already begun.
As this midline evaluation reveals, the number of IPs using mobile money for payments has tripled from three organizations at the baseline to nine, among which all but one was supported by mSTAR in some way. Since transitioning to mobile payments, some of those IPs are already experiencing positive results. For instance, WorldFish realized BDT 1,455,565 (~ US $19,150) in annual savings as a result of their shift to mobile payments and reduced the administrative burden on technical staff by 600 days annually. Meanwhile, Dnet saved the equivalent of roughly 20 full-time staff per year in reduced administrative tasks while realizing a financial benefit of BDT 4.75 million (~ US $60,900).
The midline evaluation also reveals that usage of mobile financial services has generally increased among staff and beneficiaries of USAID IPs that have started making mobile money payments. This is a positive sign, as it demonstrates that the payment behavior of IPs has the potential to influence individual financial inclusion—although this hypothesis requires further study. In addition, from the midline we see that mSTAR/Bangladesh’s activities have generally helped to increase awareness of and capacity for integrating mobile money into projects. Although it also revealed that barriers to adopting MM payments still remain, as does poor awareness of the new PEB requirements.