Since April 1998, SC/US had been executing a microfinance program with its implementing partner, the Women’s Union (WU), in the Nong Cong District of Thanh Hoa Province. At the end of October 2003, the program counted 4,012 active clients in 11 communes, with US$151,536 in outstanding loans. Ninety-nine percent of the active clients were women. After five years of operation, SC/US decided to conduct a comprehensive program evaluation and impact assessment to determine whether the program achieved its goals and objectives, and whether the program had its desired socio-economic impact on the targeted beneficiaries and their community.

SC wished to conduct a survey in order to evaluate the impact that their Dawn Microfinance Program has had on the lives of poor women clients and their families, including assessing the possible reduction in their vulnerability through increased human, social and financial assets. As a child-focused organization, SC specifically wants to know whether the children of the borrowers are better off than they would have been otherwise. In addition to knowing whether the program was working, SC also wanted to know where it was working, how it was working and what it could do to improve it.