The Volume, Issue 13: Dude, Where’s My Dashboard?

60 Decibels
3 min readNov 3, 2020

The Volume is our monthly collection of our own data and insights, plus the best things we’re reading elsewhere. We hope you enjoy and tune in to get next month’s issue :)

> 60dB Kenya agriculture dashboard: farmers are hurting due to COVID-19
Things are getting worse for Kenya’s farmers: in September, 54% of Kenyan farmers said their financial well-being was ‘much worse,’ compared to 34% in June. Despite easing COVID-19 restrictions, Kenyan farmers are selling less than they want while facing higher input prices. As they head into the short rain season, they need cash, affordable inputs and access to markets. A small silver lining: the data we’re collecting is helping drive decision making. Leesa Shrader, Director of Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Accelerate & Digital Farmer Programs shared: “because of your data we have made unprecedented effort to get support for unconditional and conditional cash transfers to farmers.”

> 60dB global financial inclusion dashboard: some surprising results
We’ve also been listening to microfinance clients in 15 countries to help MFIs understand what support their clients need. Surprisingly, we’re finding that MFI clients are, according to the 60dB Vulnerability Index, more vulnerable than our global 60dB COVID-19 benchmark: 47% of MFI clients we spoke to are ‘very vulnerable’ as compared to our benchmark of 22%, and only 13% of these clients are ‘coping’ compared to 36% of clients in our benchmark. Finally, 24% find payments to be a ‘heavy burden,’ 19% need affordable food and another 19% need cash. You can find detailed, country-level results on the dashboard.

> Can we trust the polls?
As the U.S. and much of the world anxiously awaits the results of the U.S. presidential elections, the big question on everyone’s mind is: are the polls right this time? We’ll find out this week, but here are some things we do know about polling. First, phone polls are the most accurate. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, “Live interviewers [calling] both landlines and cellphones continue to outperform other methods, such as online and automated (IVR) polls.” That said, 2016 showed us that methodology matters a lot, in particular over-weighting hard-to-reach populations. That said, some folks, like the Guardian’s U.S. data editor Mona Chalabi, are still serious poll skeptics. (Want go deeper? Check out this The Daily podcast on the nitty-gritty of response rates, correcting sampling bias and tone of voice; plus some reflections from 60dB’s own Ashley Speyer).

> Our partners are making us proud
Want to see some great transparency around customer-based outcomes data? Check out the REGMIFA 10 year impact report that came out this month, Solar Sister’s full results from their Tanzania Results-Based Financing in partnership with SNV, and Ceniarth’s practical and honest NextBillion article, “How Should We Measure Impact? We Asked Our Investees.

> From Sasha: Listening with intent to change
Speaking of listening well, this post from Sasha is a deeper look at the hallmarks of being a good listener (hint: it is not “listening with intent to respond.”) Bonus: ICYMI, Sasha on the SOCAP Money + Meaning Podcast with Alex Kravitz.

> Measure & Sip
We hosted a virtual dinner party at SOCAP this year, and, to really spice it up, we dreamed up some new listening and impact measurement puns. Fun, right? In case you want to dabble in measuring cocktails while you measure impact, here’s our first impact investing themed cocktail list. We recommend our signature cocktail (well, technically it’s a margarita), The Volume.

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