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Why microfinance in India isn’t doomed: Asian microfinance associations are collaborating to promote better social performance

by on Aug 19, 2011  |  posted in Microfinance  |  0 Comments
[caption id="attachment_183" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Image by Damon Taylor"][/caption] A recent study by the Microcredit Summit Campaign and the India Development Foundation estimated that nearly 9 million Indian families crossed the $1.25/day poverty line since 1990. This statistic offers a refreshing change to the bad press on microfinance coming out of India over the last year.  I would like to add another small contribution to this piece of good news. As the Global Facilitator for the Social Performance Working Group for Associations I have had the chance over the last year to work with a very talented set of Regional Facilitators to promote better social performance management in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.  This working group leverages the relationships between microfinance associations and their many member microfinance institutions (MFIs) to create broader awareness, build institutional capacity, and train staff on tools related to social performance. The crises in several countries, but most notably in India, have highlighted the fact that as microfinance becomes more commercialized it is increasingly important to maintain a focus on MFIs’ responsibility to their clients.  The Asia sub-group of SEEP’s social performance initiative has been especially hard-working and successful over the last year and is the only sub-group to involve 100% of the region’s national associations.  Participants in this group share a commitment to social performance, benefit from mentoring and peer-learning, and have better access to funds to expand their implementation of social performance programming.  Furthermore, each of the national associations will carrying out a country-level activity this year to promote social performance, such as a workshop on client protection, a training on social performance management, or the application of the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI). Working with microfinance associations has a multiplier effect as the training and commitment that are imparted to the associations’ staff are disseminated to their member MFIs and ultimately to those members’ clients.  For example, the Asia region of the Social Performance Working Group for Associations has 11 national associations, which have a total of 2,438 member MFIs, which serve an estimated 55,780,000 clients across Asia. For more information on the Asia Working Group please contact Cara Forster at forster@seepnetwork.org or Zahra Khalid at zkhalid@pmn.org.pk

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