MBK uses two tools, applied sequentially, to identify and target its programme to the very poor:

1.    Cashpor Modified Housing index
2.    Ganesha Casual Income Test

The process of identifying the poorest households begins with field officers completing a housing index form for the houses of the women who express interest in joining the program. Through visual inspection, the field officers allocate points for each main component of the house, namely its size, structural condition, building materials used for walls, floor and roofing, and electricity and water. If the household passes the housing index test, the Account Officer proceeds to estimate the household income. If the household passes the income test, i.e., below the official poverty line, she becomes eligible for the Compulsory Client Preparation Training.

    Cashpor Modified Housing Index

The Cashpor Housing Index is a poverty targeting tool developed by CASHPOR and adapted afterwards with some adjustments to Malaysian conditions by Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM), and several other Grameen Bank replicators. This index is an effective tool for poverty measurement. It is low-cost and quick, since different features of a house can be visually appraised with a fair level of accuracy without the need for interviewing the owners.

Modified CASHPOR Housing index, Rural District Tangerang

ItemType or Condition (Points)Typical Score
Size of House Large (3) Average (1) Small (0) 1
House Condition Good (3) Average (1) Damaged (0) 1
Type of Roof Asbestos/Aluminium sheet/special tiles (2)  ordinary tiles (1) Grass/Hay (0) 1
Type of wall Brick (2) Partly brick (1) Wood/bamboo/Mat (0) 1
Type of floor Floor tile (3) Partly floor tile (2) cement (1) earthen (0) 2
Electricity Own meter (2) Connected to another house (1) None (0) 1
Water source Piped water (2) Protected well/pump (1) Unprotected/open well (0) 1
Housing Index Total of all points above 8

Note: Housing Index categories: Below 8, very poor household; 9-10, poor household; 11-12, moderately poor household; 13 and above, not poor, not eligible.

Households joining MBK for the first time and living in a house which scores less than 10 pass directly to the second stage of the assessment, which focuses on their income. The households which scores 11 and 12 are referred for to the branch. Applicants whose houses score above the cut-off point of 12 are not eligible. Before disbursing the working capital, the branch manager double-checks the results of the poverty assessment with the members to avoid leakages of program services to the non-poor.

    Ganesha Self-Employed Income Test

In 2003, Ganesha, MBK’s precursor, developed the following tool for estimating the household income of self-employed earners and labourers earning casual, seasonal income.

Ganesha Self-Employed Income Estimate




Place of Business/

Own capital

MBK Working capital

Gross income/
per day/ week/mth

Purchases/ expenses/ transport
per day/ week/mth

Net Income per day/week/month

Total days worked/

Net income (RP 000)































































Rp. 000 /person

Include family members who send money every month/3 mths/year. Include pensioners.                        
Net of transport costs to and from work; Include pension income.
If total income more than Rp.300,000 per capita/month, not eligible. Discontinue interview.  

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