NOTES FROM THE FIELD: PPI Training of Trainers in Central America >


As the new Latin America and Caribbean PPI specialist for Grameen Foundation, I have just completed-- and helped facilitate-- my first Training of Trainers course in San Salvador, El Salvador. During the last few weeks, Mary Jo Kochendorfer and I have been preparing all the materials for the sessions while I learn as much as possible about the PPI. The training was coordinated by Central American microfinance network REDCAMIF, and hosted by ASOMI, the microfinance network in El Salvador. The participants were a group of consultants who work closely with members of various national associations in Central America on social performance managerment (SPM). They will have the important role of introducing the PPI to microfinance institutions (MFIs) interested in poverty measurement. So our first objective was to train the participants in the value and knowledge of using the PPI so they would feel more confident supporting MFIs in the process of using the tool.

Most of our participants had worked with their countries’ MFIs through the CRS-MISIÓN Project, which encourages MFIs to measure social performance and report those results. The commitment of the MISION Project to carrying out these goals was clear at the training. Jack Burga, the CRS-MISION director, and Tomás Rodríguez, coordinator of the program for Central America and México, participated. Jack told the group how investors are now looking for MFIs that can demonstrate strong financial performance with measurable social performance results. Tomás highlighted the importance of the PPI as a tool for targeting clients, measuring outreach to the poor and designing products focused on meeting the needs of the poorest clients. The clear support of Jack and Tomás resonated with the participants and demonstrated how the region is truly prioritizing social performance and transparent poverty measurement.

After reviewing the training evaluation sheets, I could tell that the participants were very enthusiastic about incorporating the PPI into their current SPM efforts. Specifically, they indicated their appreciation of the PPI’s ability to measure poverty levels in a quantitative way. They understood that demonstrating the PPI in an integrated and comprehensive way to MFI managers would increase their odds of achieving management buy-in.

Branch Training Orientation was one of the most popular training activ ities. The training participants themselves successfully trained loan officers on the value of the PPI. Sonia Belinda Baca, one of the participants, used an interesting methodology to introduce the PPI to the loan officers. She began by asking them about the financial data of their clients. The loan officers were able to answer her questions confidently and precisely. Her next line of questions addressed the MFI’s mission and how they could demonstrate that they were delivering on it. This time the loan officers were hesitant, so Sonia leveraged the moment to explain how the PPI can help them show how they are reaching and serving the poor.

After the branch training, the participants and loan officers went to the field to practice asking clients the questions from the PPI. There I could easily see how enthusiastic the participants were about understanding clients’ situations and the improvements they had made after taking a loan. For example, one client proudly showed us his new pick-up truck in which he can now transport the corn meals that he makes with his wife. Although these histories were inspiring, the participants were also excited to be able to talk about poverty levels and not just the anecdotal stories. After the training in El Salvador, I feel we are one step closer in our mission: maximizing outreach to and impact on the poor and poorest.

Sergio Correa Asmar is the Latin America and Caribbean PPI Program Officer with Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Management Center. He has extensive experience in finance and logistics as well as social projects throughout Colombia. Sergio is based in Medellin, Colombia.