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Notes from the Field: Setting the Stage, Poverty in Mali and Senegal >

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Today I arrived in Dakar to join Sharlene Brown from our Social Performance team and Babacar Sambe, our West Africa representative. Along with our partners in the PPI Users Collaborative for Africa (PUCA), we were gathering for the second installment of PUCA PPI trainings.

PUCA is a two-year initiative designed to help African MFIs understand the poverty outreach of their portfolios and better track the numbers of clients are moving out of poverty. The initiative is currently working with three MFIs—Caurie Microfinance and U-IMCEC of Senegal and Kafo Jiginew of Mali. All three MFIs were trained between December and February, and began piloting the PPI shortly afterwards. In the next few days, we are going to train the staff of PUCA members – Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Oikocredit, Terrafina Microfinance, and Planet Rating – and a few of their MFI partners as a means of expanding local capacity and the use of the tool in both countries. Even more importantly, we will enlist the experiences of the MFIs already trained to help us do that. The plan is to do a pre-training, host an Executive Session where leaders of all the invited MFIs gather to discuss the benefits and challenges of doing SPM and using the PPI, and then host a full training. There’s a lot to prep work involved for all of this, but we we’re ready to do it!

My role here is to help capture the experience through a number of different media – Twitter, videos, and blogs! I’ll also be compiling information for a PUCA case study planned for release next year. The case study will outline the experiences and feedback of the three MFIs that have piloted the PPI in Senegal and Mali in the past year as well as the benefits and takeaways of working within a collaborative structure with other networks.

Just so we’re all on the same page, It’s important to set the stage of what poverty is like in West Africa, so here’s a little background on the countries we are working in and more on the PUCA initiative.



Population: 14,086,103 (July 2010)

2000-2007 Population living below $1.25 a day  = 33.5%

2000-2007 Population living below $2 a day = 60.3%

2000-2006  Population living below the national poverty line  = 33.4%



Population: 13,796,354 (July 2010)

2000-2007 Population living below $1.25 a day =  51.4%

2000-2007 Population living below $2 a day = 77.1%

2000-2006 Population living below the national poverty line = 63.83%

*This information is taken from the CIA factbook and 2009 UNDP Report

To learn more about the PPI Users Collaborative in Africa (PUCA):


 Preeti Wali is Communications Officer at the Grameen Foundation Social Performance Management Center (SPMC). She is based in Washington, DC.