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Grameen Foundation and MicroSave Partner to Implement the PPI® in Asia >

• Posted in India, MicroSave, ppi, training

Veena Yamini is a Senior Analyst at MicroSave.

The Grameen Foundation and MicroSave have joined together in Asia to implement the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®), a social performance management (SPM) tool that enables pro-poor organizations to measure whether they are reaching and helping the poor, and better align their products and services to serve the needs of the poor. This is especially critical in the current microfinance environment, where there have been concerns that microfinance institutions (MFIs) are more focused on profits than fighting poverty.

MicroSave is a consulting firm that helps financial service providers implement market-led approaches to serve low-income markets. It has developed an SPM methodology and toolkit that provides simple, low-cost, fast and effective ways to align systems and procedures in line with the mission of the organisation. MicroSave adopted the PPI late last year as an element in its Social Performance Management Implementation Project (SPM IP).

"Grameen Foundation is pleased to be working with a strong partner like MicroSave, and welcome them as a new service provider for the PPI. We especially look forward to collaborating at this critical time for microfinance in India, where recent events in Andhra Pradesh showed that it’s more important than ever for MFIs to demonstrate their commitment to a double-bottom-line approach to microfinance," said Steve Wright, Director of the Social Performance Management Center at Grameen Foundation.

MicroSave assumed stewardship of the year-old SPM IP project in September 2010 from Unitus, with financial support from Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Deutsche Bank Foundation and the Boeing Company. As part of our joint efforts for the project, Grameen Foundation conducted a PPI “training of trainers” workshop for MicroSave in November to help it aid MFIs seeking to pilot and implement the tool.

The early participant in the SPM IP project – Indian MFI Ujjivan – will receive ongoing technical support from MicroSave, which has also identified and will be working with two additional partners in south and southeast Asia: SANASA Development Bank, in Sri Lanka, and Village Financial Services Private Limited, in India.

In addition to the SPM IP project, MicroSave for the past two years has been refining its own Social Performance Toolkit and has worked with eight MFIs throughout India and the Philippines. Of these, MicroSave has helped Nirantara in India implement the PPI. The toolkit is designed to help MFIs and their stakeholders – including their board of directors, management, staff, clients, financial institutions, potential investors and others – determine how well their processes and outcomes are aligned with their mission and social objectives. MicroSave’s SPM methodology has a strong emphasis on client/staff surveys and feedback, as well as participatory processes that lead to the formation of an action plan.

Graham A.N. Wright, Programme Director of MicroSave, said that the SPM IP will ultimately enable MFIs throughout India and south/southeast Asia to transform social performance from a theoretical – and at times marginalized – topic into a subject that is both mainstream and one that proves the social and business case for monitoring and acting upon the social mission. In addition, gathering actionable information on client and staff needs and perceptions should lead to increased staff and client retention – thus improving both social and financial performance.