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60dB’s 2023 Year in Review

2023 was 60 Decibels’ biggest year on record! To take a breath and reflect on all that was achieved, we’ve collated our top insights and findings of the year into our 2023 review.

Mapping our year in projects

Explore all the places where we completed impact measurement projects in 2023.

2023 by the numbers


unique data points collected across our projects


people shared their lived experience with us


impact studies delivered across 54 countries


new Research Assistants, bringing our total to 1,395


new 60dBers, bringing our total team to 119 across the world


new languages spoken, bringing our total to 209

Understanding how our clients are using 60dB Data

We surveyed the organizations we work with to understand how they use our data. 94% told us they are using their results in one or more of the following ways…

Sector highlights

It’s hard to choose favorites – but here are some of the projects that we’re proudest of this year.
  • Financial Inclusion

    2023 Microfinance Index

    We launched our second Microfinance Index this year, with comparable, customer-based social impact performance data from more than 32,000 borrowers from 114 leading financial service providers (FSPs), a full 50% of the world’s microfinance market. If you want to know who is being served by microfinance and the impact they’re experiencing—across client protection, business impact, agency, financial resilience, access, and household impact—check out what we learned by poring through more than 1 million data points from customers around the world. You’ll find new insights as well as geographic snapshots for Cambodia, India, Uganda, Ecuador, and Indonesia, the names of the top-performing FSPs in our Index, and more.

  • Off-Grid Energy

    Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) Lean Data Insights

    Between 2020 and 2023 we conducted lean data studies for 25 AECF portfolio companies across Africa, listening directly to more than 7,000 customers to understand how increased access to energy products and services from AECF investees has affected their quality of life. The report provides insights on usage patterns, experience, satisfaction, and impact; and assesses performance relative to peers via our Energy Benchmarks.

    63% of customers we spoke to shared that their lives had been significantly improved by the product or service they use from an AECF portfolio company and, on average, the AECF portfolio companies we studied outperformed our 60dB Energy Benchmarks in five out of seven metrics; including First Access, Female Reach, and Ease of Use.

  • Agriculture

    Bayer’s Collaborative Initiatives: Improving Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihoods

    Bayer, a global leader in agriculture, is committed to enhancing smallholder livelihoods worldwide. Bayer brought on 60 Decibels to assess and improve the impact of these programs. This partnership aims to better understand the challenges faced by agricultural communities around the world and identify opportunities for social enterprises to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. We studied four Bayer programs: the Ansal Tomato Variety in Kenya, the Better Life Farming Program in India, a small-scale cattle ranch program (DKsilos) in Mexico & Honduras, and the GeoPotato Program in Bangladesh.

  • Quality Jobs

    Upaya Social Ventures Dignified Jobs Collaborative Report

    We delivered a report to provide aggregate insights from the Dignified Jobs Collaborative – an initiative by Upaya Social Ventures which brings together impact investors in emerging markets to engage in transparent inquiry across themes of workforce development, dignity, and quality in jobs. These insights are based on 989 phone interviews with jobholders who work with the seven participating companies of the DJC in India – Essmart, Frontier Markets, Greenworms, Just Organik, Oorja, Project Hero, and ReCircle.

  • Gender

    CARE International Aggregate Lean Data Report

    CARE International partnered with 60 Decibels and Mission Measurement – who represents the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth – to measure core business themes and capture the impact of the CARE Women’s Entrepreneurship program in Vietnam, Pakistan, and Peru. This initiative aims to reduce barriers that women entrepreneurs face by offering a combination of financial and non-financial services that are essential to creating sustainable growth and empowerment for women entrepreneurs.

    This report presents aggregate results based on surveys conducted with clients in three different countries. By assessing performance across implementing countries, we can highlight variations in performance and identify opportunities for cross-pollination amongst these programs.

Interactive sector benchmarks

In 2023 we launched Financial Inclusion Benchmarks and Farmer Benchmarks. These are free, interactive and regularly updated tools that enable organizations to compare their social performance within their sector, using never-before-published, high-quality impact data.

60dB Financial Inclusion Benchmarks


60dB Farmer


60dB Off-Grid Energy


Listening to the people who matter most

We believe that the best way to understand social impact is by talking to the people experiencing that impact. It sounds obvious, but this isn’t the typical practice for many impact investors, corporations and foundations working to create social change. Here are some snapshots of what customers and beneficiaries shared with us this year – all via phone calls with our global team of research assistants.

“My confidence has increased after working as an Agri-Entrepreneur. Many people now recognize me in my village. I rarely used to go outside, but now I do so and advise people on farming. This makes me proud.”

– Female, 42 (India)

“My life changed because of the assistance. I stopped hovering around and asking people for help such as loans and I also paid most of my debts. I had the opportunity to take care of my children as a mother for first time after so long.”

– Female, 42

“Meals are clean and fresh without any smell of smoke. My meals are cooked on time. Sometimes I charge my phone from this product as well, so it’s very helpful.”

– Male, 34

“I have been able to increase the number of permanent workers and now I harvest a large amount of rice because the machine has made my work easier.”

– Male

“My life has improved as I learned to go outside of the home to work. That has helped me learn new skills like public speaking, and convincing [the community]. I am earning money and supporting my family.”

– Female

“The agents were helpful and friendly in their efforts to help me. They truly wanted to see my business succeed and were encouraging throughout the loan process.”

– Male

“I am so happy now that I can make some money by myself without expecting it from anyone. I am now able to cover my expense for my home.”

– Female, 35

“The quality of my life is improved because I earn a high income from the business, and I have purchased new furniture for my house. The business is improving my lifestyle as it’s the main source of income. ”

– Female, 23

Top Volume opens

The Volume is a curation of our favourite weird & wonderful finds, with almost 13,000 fellow data geeks tuning in each month. Not yet one of them? We can change that.

Here are some of the most popular reads of 2023, based on your clicks.

> Latest millennial diagnosis: Telephonobia. Is the phone call in crisis? So asked the Evening Standard, in an article citing research that found that “75% percent of millennials dislike phone calls because they’re time-consuming, while 81 percent suffer from anxiety before they manage to make a phone call.” UrbanDictionary has dubbed this “telephonophobia” (no word yet from Merriam-Webster, but we’re hoping they come up with something pithier).

> It’s ‘literally’ ‘fine.’ This amazing Mental Floss post discusses 40 words that are their own opposites. Our personal favorites include some ones we knew—oversight, sanction, handicap—and some serious head-scratchers—help, seed, and fast. As in, “we can’t help it, we’re addicted to seeding tomatoes before eating them. We’re holding fast to our passions.” SOS!

> Clean up on aisle…New Jersey. File under: how NOT to compost. 300+ pounds of pasta were recently found dumped next to a stream in Old Bridge, New Jersey. The pun pastabilities are endless here, but the winner from Reddit is undoubtedly “send these perpetrators straight to the pennetentiary!” Honorable mention for “someone is gonna have to pay a pretty penne to clean this up” as well as “throwing away pasta? What a fusilli mistake.” *Chef’s kiss*

Client feedback

Don’t take our word for it – here are some of the lovely things our clients had to say about our work this year!

“[60dB is] a great organisation, delivering great work. The team is very diligent and responsive, ensuring that work of the highest quality is delivered on time and within budget.”

– David Russell
Sustainable Business Reporting Consultant at Unilever

“Highly responsive expertise aimed at efficiently driving exceptional results and knowledge in support of organizations’ goals.”

– Nicola Corzine
CEO & Executive Director, Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center

“Great team…they do go beyond the call of duty to help create really interesting and useful insights and products.”

– Ronan Ferguson
Senior Manager, Private Sector & Investment at Clean Cooking Alliance

“This is something that really helped us take a picture of our current customer and potential customer base. The results of the exercise were impressive and with great quality.”

– Mateo Jaramillo
Co-founder & CEO of Heru

“We were doing the impact measurement on an ad hoc basis without having clear matrices. 60 Decibels has defined it for us and provided a clear approach.”

– Pankaj Agarwal
Co-Founder and MF of Just Organik

Ready to hit the ground running – or should we say, listening – in 2024? Reach out via the link below to see how we can help!

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