Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Alliance demonstrates social return on investment


Child supported by CHAHA (c) Alliance

As it becomes increasingly important to demonstrate aid effectiveness and value for money, the Alliance has been adapting and piloting a method to measure the social return of investment (SROI) as one of a number of methods to test the value for money of specific programmes or activities.

A two-week study in Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh ,India in October, calculated a social ROI of $6.97 for every $1 invested. The period over which the SROI was calculated is Jul  2007 to June 2010.

The CHAHA programme used for the study is a child-centred community-based care and support initiative, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is implemented by Alliance India and its partners.

Measuring returns

The social ROI framework measures the value created by a programme, or series of initiatives. It is of particular relevance to Alliance programmes where there is no way of allocating a monetary value to outputs. It is a community-led approach, with financial values defined by progamme beneficiaries to represent the impact of social, health and economic outcomes.

Older children over 10, and parents and care givers were asked to assign values to the outcomes from the support they received including nutritional, educational, support in household emergencies, Income generating projects income generating projects and vocational training and antiretroviral therapy.

For example beneficiaries outlined how:

  • Nutritional support can improve children’s health status, a financial value of which can be that costs of travel for health support and medicine are avoided
  • Educational support can improve attendance and increase earning potential.
  • Anti-stigma and dsicrimination activities to increase acceptance of people living with HIV can lead to people going back to work and earning a salary.
Case study

GK is a 15 year old child living with HIV. Both his parents died AIDS from related illness. He is taken care of by an elder sister. GK is now receiving antiretroviral therapy since registering on the CHAHA programme. He has been receiving nutritional support as well as educational and support to treat opportunistic infections. He is now able to attend school regularly and is achieving really good grades. The counselling has made him feel really positive about himself and his future, and it has also helped him take the medicine regularly.   

Early recommendations

The report is being prepared and will available to download from the Alliance website soon. Sign up to our publications RSS feed to receive an alert for this and other new publications.

Among the report’s recommendations is that the Alliance continues to use Social ROI as one of the methods to measure value for money, using a community consultative approach. Studies should be viewed alongside other qualitative reports of outcome and impact where these exist, as well as standard monitoring systems.    

Social ROI could be used as a tool to decide to focus on programme activities that have most ‘outcome value’ in order to maximise the outcomes for beneficiaries. CHAHA has been able to identify its activities that generate the most amount of value for its beneficiaries. These include the income generating projects and vocational training to build skills and raise earning potential of families. CHAHA’s influence on the state level  policy to provide double nutrition to children living with HIV has generated value that will last for many years to come and has an impact well beyond the geographic location of the CHAHA programme.

    The counselling has made him feel really positive about himself and his future