What Do Practitioners Think Of Impact Research?
It is exciting to see the body of evidence on the impact of access to finance growing. And I find it especially promising that studies are increasingly covering the full range of financial services including payments, savings, insurance and credit as well as financial capability. When I attended the recent Impact and Policy Conference, organized by Innovations for Poverty Action and the Asian Development Bank, I met a far greater range of researchers seriously interested in financial inclusion that I knew were out there. Many of these researchers were passionate about the role of research in helping improve policy and practice. They welcomed dialogue with policy makers and practitioners to create a real feedback loop between their work and what happens on the ground. This, I believe, is incredibly reassuring. The trend is promising and work must continue to ensure that these worlds do get closer.
Over 30 studies were presented at the conference. For those who did not attend the Conference or cannot shift through the (rather long) studies and full reports, we decided to ask the practitioners to comment on the implications and relevance of the new research findings. Perhaps it would have been more obvious to ask the researchers to summarize their own work – and we have done this in the past and will continue to do so. Yet, for this blog series, we will start the conversation from the perspective of people using research to inform policy, design funding strategies, or implement new approaches. I hope their perspectives will be useful, and invite you to join in the conversations.
And to the many researchers who have invested so much of themselves in this meaningful work, I extend a special invitation to comment on this blog series. The next post in this series, by Betty Wilkinson, will be published next week and focuses on how research can be made relevant for policy makers.