Alex Counts, Grameen Foundation president and CEO, considers how important it is for MFIs to "keep score" when it comes to poverty reduction. Being profitable is not enough to define success — MFIs need to demonstrate how well they're achieving their social mission.
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
Stephanie Denzer is Program Associate for Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Center (HCC). This is her second blog from a recent trip to Peru where she participated in a Human Capital Management Assessment of an MFI in the process of transforming into a regulated institution. Her last blog post focused on Cultivating Leaders and Empowering Organizations, and in this post she follows a loan officer to a group meeting of several microfinance borrowers.
When I arrived in Pucallpa, Peru, I had worked in the microfinance sector for over a year without having seen in practice what I support daily from our DC-based offices. I was soon heading out on the back of a motorcycle taxi to a village bank meeting for clients of Microfinanzas Prisma. Bouncing down a dusty dirt road to the home of one of the clients where the monthly repayment meeting was being held, we followed Ramiro, one of Prisma’s loan officers, on his motorcycle as we traveled out of the central part of this city of about 300,000 in the country’s Amazon region.
I was in Peru to assist with the implementation of Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Management Assessment tool. See my previous blog post for more information on how we are working to help MFIs better meet their missions of serving the poor. We were accompanying Ramiro to the field because we wanted to see what it’s truly like to walk in the shoes of one of Prisma’s more than 100 dedicated loan officers.
We arrived at the home of Dacia, who serves as president of this village bank group of 18 local women. Our visit came just a few days after her group had celebrated its fifth anniversary. Dacia herself has gone through 10 different loans since the group began on July 12, 2005. She has used her credit from Prisma to purchase a small boat in which she transports timber from family land further upstream on the Ucayali River. She sells this timber for a profit and with a bit of bashful pride, told us that because of the profit she’s made, she was able to move from a small wooden house into the larger, sturdier concrete structure where the group was meeting.
Her eyes lit up when I asked about how her life had been most affected by the access to the credit Prisma provides. She took down a framed picture from the wall that hung next to her wedding portrait. It was one of only three photographs in the house and it showed a team of smiling teenage girls. Dacia pointed to one of the girls and told us how her oldest daughter was now in university and was playing volleyball on a team in Lima. In fact, all four of Dacia’s daughters are enrolled in school and seem to be thriving.
Steve Wright is the new director of Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Management Center.
Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI ) certification process. Through this new process, the Grameen Foundation will officially recognize organizations complying with Standards of Use for the PPI. Certified organizations will receive a seal of approval signaling that they are using the PPI correctly and they will be recognized on the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) beginning in January 2011.
Alex Counts, president, CEO and founder of Grameen Foundation, recently faced Vikram Akula, chair and founder of SKS, the largest microfinance institution (MFI) in India, in an Oxford-style debate at the Asia Society in New York City. In this post, Alex talks about his experience and viewpoint.
Stephanie Denzer is Program Associate for Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Center (HCC). This is her first blog post from a recent trip to Peru where she participated in a Human Capital Management Assessment of a Microfinance Institution (MFI) in the process of transforming into a regulated institution.
On a day when the humidity made it clear that rain was imminent, in the rear of a small branch office in Aguaytía, a rural town in Peru’s Amazon, we spoke with John, a branch manager for Microfinanzas Prisma, about a concept that would be just as familiar in an air-conditioned high rise of corporate America – the importance of having an inspiring mentor as a supervisor. John told us about how his former boss, the previous branch manager, had cultivated a group of highly dedicated and engaged loan officers by constantly discussing their performance with them and making sure they had the necessary support to accomplish their daily work. Now that he has been promoted to this same position, he works hard to maintain the team camaraderie his predecessor built and ensures that each loan officer receives special recognition when going the extra mile to support the branch office’s goals.
I was in Peru to assist with the implementation of Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Management Assessment tool, intended to be the starting point for aligning an organization’s human capital management practices (leadership, culture, talent acquisition, learning & development, rewards/recognition, etc.) with its overall business strategy. We believe that MFIs who are smart about managing their human capital will be more successful in achieving growth, maximizing the value of their workforce, and ultimately, reach greater numbers of the world's poorest people.