Some 400 representatives of microfinance institutions, social investors, microfinance associations and networks, donors, support organisations, government regulators and microfinance auditing and rating service providers participated in the 2014 annual meeting of the Social Performance Task Force held here in Dakar, Senegal, June 2-6.
There were animated discussions about new developments such as digital finance – its potential as well as challenges and implications on the direction of microfinance. The presentation of case studies facilitated an in-depth sharing of experiences in specific SPM interventions emphasizing the outcomes for clients and institutions, the business case and potential for replication. Three Oikocredit partners brought their experience to the plenary: CRECER, Equitas, and Caurie Microfinance.
CRECER focused its efforts to ensure transparency and client understanding of its products and services. Equitas shared its dedication to working with investors aligned with Equitas’ social goals by being upfront about the institutions’ growth targets, profit expectations and intended use of profits. Finally, Caurie shared how it defines social indicators, collects and analyses data and develops staff capacity to collect, understand and use data.
The Universal Standards for Social Performance Management was a major focus of the meeting and discussions were capped with the launch of the Guidelines for implementation - a 200 page volume developed with the support of Oikocredit, CGAP, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Ford Foundation.
Other burning topics tackled during the meeting included social performance management and regulation, focusing on outcomes data for measuring and communicating the impact of microfinance.
It was satisfying to leave the meeting with a confirmation of Oikocredit’s focus on change in clients’ lives as a cornerstone of its SPM strategy in the next 5 years.
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