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Rwandan Delegates Participate in Study Tour to Draw Lessons from India’s Experience in Responsible Finance

by on Oct 26, 2017  |  posted in Responsible Finance  |  0 Comments

The Rwandan delegation visits the Financial Ombudsman at the Reserve Bank of India

The SEEP Network organized a four-day study tour for a Rwandan delegation as part of the Responsible Finance through Local leadership and Learning (RFL3) program. Six participants traveled to New Delhi, India for a field-based learning initiative drawing lessons from the Indian experience in implementation of Responsible Finance. Participants included representatives from:

  • Umutanguha Finance Company
  • Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR)
  • Development Vision SACCO
  • The National Bank of Rwanda

Goal of the Study Tour

The goal of the study tour was to learn how consumer protection policies are embedded in core policies (Code of Conduct compliance, grievance mechanisms, incentives and sanctions, etc.) of the two microfinance associations in India (Microfinance Institutions Network of India-MFIN, and Sa-Dhan) and how they translate at the level of the microfinance institutions. There was dedicated focus on India’s work in client grievance resolution mechanisms and the delegates wished to complete the study tour with a roadmap for incorporating best practices to the Rwandan context.

The study tour was structured to strengthen the participants’ understanding of key aspects of code of conduct development, implementation and client grievance mechanisms.

Rwandan delegates participate in study tour to India

Why India?

India served as a leader in the field of microfinance and its significant work on addressing challenges in the sector since the 2010 Microfinance Crisis made it an ideal choice for the tour. The two associations have played a very important role in the sector’s development and the Rwandan delegates visited both of these Self-Regulatory Organizations with the aim to understand their Microfinance Code of Conducts (CoC).

During the delegation’s visit to Sa-Dhan, particular attention was drawn to a tool, developed in partnership with Smart Campaign to monitor implementations of the CoC. They also discussed Sa-Dhan’s business model being linked to investments in client protection practice and how the organization works with the regulatory development authority. Among other lessons learned, the visit to MFIN gave the delegates a better sense of their grievance handling mechanism. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) informed delegates on the critical role of regulatory support in advancing client protection.

Key Takeaways

We are delighted to share a few key takeaways from the study tour and steps moving forward.

  • It is important to have an industry Code of Conduct that is shared across both associations and includes core values of microfinance industry and client protection guidelines.
  • The Code of Conduct should specify the need for MFIs to have a grievance mechanism which currently does not exist in Rwanda.
  • Associations should develop their own mechanism that clients can utilize.
  • It is crucial to ensure MFI adherence to industry CoC and develop their own institutional CoCs.
  • Finally, it would be helpful to establish a learning platform to continue sharing ideas going forward in Rwanda.

This study tour is the first of many that the SEEP Network plans to organize as means to strengthen its member’s global engagement in determining best practices in responsible finance.

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