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PPI Training Marks LAPO’s Latest Social Performance Effort >


Lift Above Poverty Association (LAPO), Microfinance Bank Limited in Nigeria—the largest microfinance institution (MFI) in the country—ended 2010 with a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the use of the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI). Conducted by Grameen Foundation in Lagos, the three-day workshop attracted 17 LAPO staff members from the head office in Benin City, along with the Coordination office in Lagos and area offices and branch operations.

LAPO had been using a poverty estimation tool to target clients and provide baseline data. However, this tool was not standardized. LAPO decided to adopt the PPI because it provides an objective assessment of clients’ poverty status aligned with the Nigerian poverty line. In short, LAPO wants to use the PPI to monitor outreach, track clients’ progress over time, and potentially incorporate PPI data into its marketing and business development activities. The goal is to better understand clients’ satisfaction and improve or expand its products’ value to its clients.

The PPI training is the latest effort by LAPO to focus on its social performance goals. As a pro-poor organization, LAPO provides economic and social services to low-income households in the midst of intense poverty. Like other MFIs, it is facing the need to demonstrate customer satisfaction and protection, along with transparency in its management. To address these growing concerns, LAPO has in the past year expanded its social performance management efforts in these areas:

  • Customer protection: In July 2010, LAPO endorsed The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles and developed a code of conduct to strengthen its commitment to clients. The management of LAPO recentlyapproved the expansion of its clients’ relations unit to regional offices to further deepen its interaction with and protection of clients.
  • Customer satisfaction: Feedback from the latest branch council meeting suggests that clients are highlysatisfied with the LAPO reduction in interest rates, elimination of registration fees and the ongoing piloting of new products, including education loans and child welfare savings products.
  • Transparency: LAPO maintains transparency of its operations by involving clients’ representatives in decisions that relate to pricing. LAPO has just completed an assessment conducted by MicroFinance Transparency, an organization that promotes transparent pricing in the microfinance industry.

LAPO remains committed to social performance management; in fact, it will undergo its first social rating by Planet Rating this month. Looking ahead, LAPO intends to expand its social and economic empowerment services from Nigeria and Sierra Leone to other West African countries, starting with Ghana, this year.

This blog was written by Kenneth Okakwu. Kenneth Ndubuisi Okakwu has 7 years experience in social research (impact assessment, programme monitoring and evaluation), strategic planning and programme implementation. His interest specifically focuses on poverty alleviation through microfinance and social empowerment programmes. Currently, he is the head of strategy and business development of LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited, Nigeria.