ENRICH Research Findings

Institute of Inclusive finance & Development (InM) has conducted an evaluation study titled “Mid-Term Evaluation of the Effectiveness of ENRICH Program at the Household level of 21 Unions of Bangladesh”on in 2015.

According to the analysis of InM, the study focuses on 6 major areas of ENRICH, namely

  1. The Health Programme
  2. The Education Programme
  3. The Environment Programme
  4. The Community Development Programme
  5. The Finance/Economic Programme
  6. Financial Sustainability of ENRICH

The key findings of the study are given below:

1. The Health Programme

The effectiveness of the health programme was assessed by using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative data were obtained from the global household survey of 1400 households designed to cover all components of the ENRICH programme. In addition some secondary data obtained from the MIS of the ENRICH cell of PKSF were also used. The health component of ENRICH is an universal programme in the sense that all the households in the union are eligible to receive health care provided under this programme regardless of their economic status.


  • According to the research, among all the components of ENRICH, the Health Scheme has expanded the most. Overall, nearly three-quarters of the households availed of at least one of these three facilities (Static clinic, Satellite clinic and Health camp) provided by ENRICH.
  • The household survey shows that more than a third of the households have attended the static clinics, a third have attended satellite clinics, and some 13 per cent have had the opportunity to attend a health camp.
  • The study expected that the sale of health card will expand in due course as people begin to see its benefits more clearly and are also assured of the continuity of the scheme with the passage of time & thus it will help the programme to be financially sustainable.
  • The study proposes that the scheme should consider increasing the incentive for holding the card by access to non-card-holders more restricted and more expensive than is currently the case.
  • Several structural weaknesses of the programme were identified, such as little impact on out-of-pocket expenses (defined here as payments for direct medical inputs) for healthcare; inadequate referral services for treatment at secondary and tertiary levels; and issue about the financial sustainability of the Health Scheme.


  • Provision of drugs and basic pathological tests are essential for yielding better outcomes from the health scheme.
  • Reason for inadequate referral services lies in the absence of any real integration between ENRICH and government health services that are available at the union and upazila levels. Although there is an evident lack of functioning hospitals that can be considered as proper referral centers, the scheme may look for establishing a referral link to the nearest government and/or private or NGO hospitals.
  • Health camp is a very useful as well as popular item of the health scheme. This also works as an advertisement of the other components of the scheme.
  • Although the improvement brought about by ENRICH was not perceived to be adequate, an overwhelming majority of respondents felt that there has been an improvement as a result of ENRICH’s interventions: positive response varied between 71 and 88 per cent depending on the dimension of healthcare.

Financial Sustainability of the Health Scheme

Health scheme covers about 17 percent of the costs from its revenue income (2012-13), which is derived mainly from selling health card and the remainder from fees and other sources. Thus, the scheme is still a long way off from being financially self-sustainable.

  • The MIS data shows that the scheme covers about 17 percent of the costs from its revenue income (2012-13); mainly from selling health card and the remainder from fees and other sources.
  • The grants provided by the POs as a cross subsidization from credit programme covers a significant part (about 24%) of the total costs.
  • Thus, about 41 per cent of the total costs are covered from revenue income and contribution of the POs.
  • The remainder 59 per cent comes from PKSF.


2. The Education Programme

The stated objectives of Education Programme are to

  • Enhance the quality of primary education,
  • Eliminate dropout from school and thereby help blossom potentials of meritorious children and
  • Eliminate fear/apprehension (if any) about school among young learners.


  • The research found a promising picture in case of achieving the target of this component.
  • The poor households view the role of ENRICH-sponsored education quite positively.
  • Motivation to go to the school was found to have increased for children in more than 90 per cent of the participating households.
  • Another important finding is that children from the more disadvantaged backgrounds have been served better by these schools.


The research finding demonstrates that there exists a potential role for ENRICH to influence the problem of late enrolment on the part of children. Geo-physically and economically backward areas need more education centers. In particular, flood prone and coastal regions should be given priority for establishing education centers.

There are also some suggestions to strengthen the performance of the education centers through

  • Improvement of the capacity of education centers in terms of physical facility, instructional materials and teaching resources,
  • Up gradation of tutor’s skills and learning and higher incentives for them to acquire those skills.


3. The Environment Programme

There are four major interventions under the Environment Programme:

(1) Improved cooking stove (bandhu chula),

(2) Renewable energy source: solar lantern / solar home system (SHS),

(3) Biogas plants, and

(4) Cultivation of medicinal plants (basak leaf).


  • None of these interventions has spread in a large scale so far. However, the majority of those who have received these benefits acknowledge their usefulness.
  • The adoption rate of these interventions is extremely low.
  • Lack of after-sale service is one of the major reasons behind the lower adoption rate. There appears to be aserious technical issue here – related to economies of scale. The current small scale of use ofthese services does not justify employing full-time technical staff by POs. As a result, service hasto be procured from outsiders at a price, but the problem is that they are not always availablewhen needed.
  • Cultivation of the medicinal plant (basak) has been popular wherever it has been tried. Some 95 per cent of the cultivators appreciate that the opportunity cost of basak cultivation is negligible since it can be grown on fallow/barren lands. Among the beneficiaries, 85 per cent reported that their family members use the leaf as medicine when needed, and 75 per centreported that they found basak cultivation economically profitable. The study indicates that there exists the marketing issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Heavy installation cost is a serious obstacle to rapid dissemination of the technology. In order to popularize the use of biogas as an alternative and clean fuel among the rural masses, ENRICH can link it with its credit to buy cows/dairy farm components.
  • As a biogas plant requires smooth supply of a large amount of cow dung, only those households who either have a dairy farm or enough number of cows/buffaloes can afford to set up a biogas plant;
  • Some 95 per cent of the cultivators appreciate that the opportunity cost of basak cultivation is negligible since it can be grown on fallow/barren lands.


  • The problem of low adoption rate is inadequate technical support from the POs. The current small scale of use of these services does not justify employing full-time technical staff by POs. The consequent lack of after-sale service leads to few takers of the interventions offered by the POs. In this circumstance, PKSF or the POs has to subsidize the employment of full-time technical staff, which may not be economic in the short run, but may well be so in the long run if the prospect of satisfactory after-sale services gradually encourages a much larger rate of adoption over time.


4. The Community Development Programme

The Community Development component of ENRICH aims to promote two distinct parts

  1. Tangible part (Physical infrastructures such as roads, bridges; health and sanitation related infrastructure such as tube wells, toilets).
  2. Intangible part (Empowerment of the poor and especially of poor women).


  • In case of tangible part the community is, however, encouraged not just to be a passive beneficiary of these facilities but to be an active agent for ensuring that the benefit can be enjoyed in a sustainable way by being entrusting with the responsibility of managing and maintaining them. The achievements are well appreciated by all concerned.
  • While the tangible part of the Community Development Programme has met with reasonable success, the same cannot be said of the intangible part. The study did not, however, find any major breakthrough in this regard. Less than 1 per cent of ENRICH beneficiaries are involved as UP members, or in UP standing committees, or in UP’s project implementation committees. Only 3% of beneficiary households are involved as members of market committees. 7% are involved as members of management committees in educational institutions.


  • Since ENRICH is a very new programme, it will naturally take time to change the social balance of forces in a way that will enable the previously marginalized groups of the society to take active part in social decision-making processes.
  • One of the basic hypotheses of ENRICH was clearly right in proclaiming that development is essentially a political process and that no development intervention at the local level can hope to succeed by being isolated from the process of local governance. The challenge remains, however, of successfully fostering and sustaining a mutually supportive relationship between ENRICH and local government in all regions.


5. The Finance/Economic Programme

The finance programme of ENRICH is composed of two major components: a special savings scheme and a credit scheme. Both components contain a number of innovative features.


The credit part of the finance programme has had more success than the savings scheme. As many as 61 per cent said they had all along felt the need for large loan. The vast majority of borrowers (79 per cent) claimed that they felt satisfied with their experience with large loans. Of them, 72 per cent said the reason for their satisfaction was that large loan enabled them to earn higher returns by scaling up their existing IGAs.

  • The end result was that as many as 92 per cent of borrowers reported no problems at all in repaying the loans in spite of facing a much larger repayment burden than before.
  • ENRICH loan enables households to earn substantially higher income by scaling up their IGAs with the help of bigger loans
  • The most attractive feature which highly appreciated by 48 per cent of the borrowers was that they no longer had to lie to the Loan Officers.
  • The provision of non-IGA loans is the second most attractive feature of non-IGA loans under the ENRICH programme, which appealed to 29 per cent of borrowers.


  • There is an evident mismatch between the criteria that has been set for selecting the beneficiaries for special savings programme (i.e., the extreme poor households) and the amount that they are expected to save on a monthly basis. It is, in fact, difficult for most of them to save regularly on a monthly basis.
  • The credit programme is now operating like the old model of financing, with a couple of differences. ENRICH should go back to the original idea of providing IGA & non IGA loans on the basis of a comprehensive Family Development Plan (FDP).
  • To conclude, unless the lending programme expands substantially, financial sustainability of ENRICH will remain in doubt.


6. Financial Sustainability of ENRICH

While ENRICH has several possible sources of revenue –including its health programme – by far the major source is the lending programme. Since the ENRICH lending programme is supposed to be operated at a significantly higher scale compared to the standard models of microcredit, the revenue for the POs is also expected to be correspondingly higher. Over time, the enhanced revenue from lending is expected to be high enough to cover the cost of the rest of ENRICH, thereby making it possible to gradually do away with the subsidy from PKSF. The success of the lending programme is thus the key to the sustainability of ENRICH itself. Accordingly, the ensuing analysis of ENRICH?s sustainability focuses especially on the lending programme.

The factors affecting sustainability that the study analyses – namely, outreach, savings, lending, and loan productivity – all have reasons to engender some pessimism.

The sustainability of MFI branches implementing ENRICH program has been examined by the operational self sustainability (OSS) ratio. The OSS ratio is defined as total operating revenues (excluding grants and donations) divided by total operating expenses. The ratio indicates the ability of an MFI branch to generate operating revenue for each Taka of operating expense within a particular period. The operating revenues of branches implementing ENRICH fell short of sustainability benchmark by 23.4 percent in year 2012 when the median OSS ratio reached its bottom.

In view of the fact that ENRICH social programmes had a significant negative impact on the sustainability of MFI branches, PKSF must adopt some policy measures to continue the programme through the partner MFIs. There are two ways to cope with this. First, the MFI branches can scale up the revenue generating activities that will provide sufficient margin to cover the costs of social programmes. Second, PKSF can provide subsidy to ENRICH branches for this noble cause until poverty is eradicated.


Although still very new, the programme has already evolved in fundamental ways that were hardly foreseen at the stage of its formulation. The objective of ENRICH was to emancipate targeted poor member households from poverty. In particular, the support given through ENRICH was supposed to continue until the targeted households were actually lifted out of poverty. This single-minded focus on targeted poor member households has now changed, due to the change in methodology. Credit is the only component where the original targeting still applies. But credit was always targeted. What we now have is a multi-pronged approach to overall rural development – a resurrection of the now defunct IRDP model. If PKSF chooses go back to the original model, Government support would certainly be needed, but it would be up to the POs to extract the right kind of government services tailored to the needs and capabilities of the targeted households.