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Small Firm Diaries (SFD) is a global research initiative providing insight into the financial lives of small firms. Small firms are an essential source of livelihood – globally, they provide jobs, goods, and services to billions of people working hard to make ends meet. Understanding small firms is key to designing policies, financial services, and tools that help these businesses – and their communities – thrive.
SFD is a multi-country study that will collect high-frequency, quantitative, and qualitative data across Colombia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Fiji. While most research studies produce static snapshots of a single point in time, financial diaries create dynamic and nuanced portraits using a combination of methods. It aims to understand small firms by listening closely to how firm owners and workers make choices, on their own terms.
SFD is led by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI). FAI is a research centre housed at NYU Wagner focused on how financial services can better meet the needs and improve the lives of poor households around the world. With partners, FAI produced the Portfolios of the Poor and the US Financial Diaries projects. These ground-breaking studies reshaped the financial inclusion field, illuminating volatility as a central issue for low-income households around the world. SFD is a collaboration with a network of local partners in each country, data collection experts, and field-leading researchers.
The Development Policy Centre is collaborating with FAI, the University of the South Pacific, and Microfinance Opportunities to include Fiji in SFD. Field data collection – focused on the Suva-Nausori corridor – will be conducted from late-2021 to mid-2022. The Fiji part of the project is supported by the Pacific Research Program and ESCAP’s Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship programme supported by the Government of Canada, in addition to the main global project funding partners.