Research and Policy Unit

Good Shepherd Microfinance is building an evidence-base of rigorous and innovative research that will inform the impact and reach of programs and services.

More importantly, these research findings will help guide and shape the future development of activities that better support the economic and social inclusion of people on low income.

The work of the Research and Policy Unit is guided by principles in Count Me In, the organisation’s five-year strategic plan:

  • Specific - we will undertake specific work where we have capability and share this widely to inform and influence
  • Collaborative - working jointly and cooperatively is essential to continue our learning and sharing our progress and aims
  • Evaluations – we will assess progress against program aims as well as in terms of economic mobility
  • Social performance and impact – our Board will set the social performance and impact aims and govern and monitor this through a committee
  • Continuous learning and action-based program development – we will be disciplined in terms of periodically reflecting on research and evaluating outcomes to develop and adapt programs

Research & Evaluation

The Research and Policy Unit is committed to the Good Shepherd vision of fullness of life for all people, living in connected resilient communities. The Unit supports the organisation's services and programs by assisting with reviews, program development and data collection.

The use of ‘action research' is deliberate as it brings about positive change in people's lives while building knowledge of effective responses. Priority is always given to hearing the voices and experiences of microfinance clients, recognising people as experts in their own lives.

·         Collaboration
To further the impact of programs on client economic mobility, Good Shepherd Microfinance partners with research centres to undertake impact assessment enabling learning, continual improvement and shared knowledge. We collaborate with others to establish cooperative research on economic inclusion. We also offer policy and research placements for students from a range of disciplines.

·         Research proposals and ethics approval
Good Shepherd Microfinance is committed to undertaking research which is carefully planned and adheres to the best ethical principles.

Our Ethical Clearance policies and procedures operate in accordance with the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council and include academics and community representation. Approval from the Good Shepherd Microfinance Social performance committee is required for all research projects. If you would like to apply to undertake research with us, please contact us on (03) 9495 9600 or via email.

Policy & Advocacy

The Unit undertakes policy development, advocacy and research across the organisation's strategic priority service areas. The agenda is set in consultation with the organisation's programs and services and with other key stakeholders including government and community service providers.

Good Shepherd Microfinance works on behalf of the national provider network and microfinance clients across Australia. Wherever possible, we represent their issues to government and others who have the power to make a difference.

Good Shepherd Microfinance’s advocacy activities include:

  • Developing community information material
  • Media articles and letters
  • Launching research reports
  • Publishing position papers and policy submissions

We also partner with other organisations and individuals with similar concerns to strengthen the impact of our advocacy.

Research publications

Good Shepherd Microfinance produces a range of publications that document the organisation’s research and learning.  Over recent years there have been several significant research projects undertaken to examine Australian microfinance programs.

For more information or copies of recent research publications please visit the Publications page. You can subscribe to the Good Shepherd Microfinance Publication Alert here.

Policy publications

To strengthen the impact of our advocacy Good Shepherd Microfinance publishes policy documents and position papers on specific issues related to our microfinance work. To engage in legislative change we write submissions to government inquires on matters that align with our aims and work.

Submissions:

Current projects

Good Shepherd Microfinance is currently working in partnership with external researchers on the following projects:

·         National NILS Evaluation
The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is evaluating the NILS model and the national NILS network.

·         Mapping Microfinance
Good Shepherd Microfinance is working with Geographic Information System (GIS) software to map the need and reach of our microfinance programs across Australia.

Contact the Research and Policy Unit

If you would like to apply to undertake research with us, or find out more about our work, please contact us on (03) 9495 9600 or via email.

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