Most economic development programs that aim to reach the poorest households have not been designed using a sustainable business approach. Instead, these programs have been developed as grants and charity-driven projects. While there is a role for grant-driven programs, organizations can also make sustainable business decisions to extend outreach to poorer populations in the medium to long term. This paper investigates the “double” (financial and social) bottom line implications for two microfinance institutions that have added product lines to serve very poor households: Fonkoze of Haiti and The Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) of South Africa.
For over 30 years, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have been successfully serving some of the poor and poorest people around the world, primarily with credit products. Generally however, MFIs grapple to successfully add savings services to their portfolio of financial products. Whether offering savings as a way to provide additional valued financial services to clients or to have a reliable source of funding, or both, MFIs must learn to bring together people and technology and build the capacity and infrastructure to grow this business.
This article by Debbie Dean of our Solutions for the Poorest team explores how market research, product design and testing, marketing, technology, alternative delivery channels, and a microfinance institution’s ability to transform from a credit-led institution to a market-led institution can assist it in reaching poor savers with products that are accessible, affordable, and secure.
© Practical Action Publishing, 2011. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Enterprise Development and Microfinance, volume 22, issue 2, pages 118-133, June 2011, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3362/1755-1986.2011.015.
The capability of their staff is perhaps the single most important resource microfinance institutions (MFIs) have for meeting the challenges of reaching more people, while navigating financial, regulatory, political, competition and other issues. veis the capability of their people. Maximizing staff strengths depends not only on hiring right and providing appropriate learning and development opportunities; it requires adoption of strategically focused human capital management practices.
This paper from our Human Capital Center discusses how MFIs can maximize their internal talent to support their strategic objectives. It was first presented at the Global Micocredit Summit 2011 in Valladolid, Spain.
This report examines if and how mobile phones can improve financial literacy amongst the poor. It details the findings from our pilot performed in Uganda from March through December 2010.
Grameen Foundation’s holistic approach to microsavings provides the framework and tools to develop and offer convenient, accessible, and secure poverty-focused savings programs while building sound financial, organizational, and operational practices that help transform microfinance institutions (MFIs) from credit-led to demand-driven institutions. One important component of the holistic approach is the management of process and systems changes and the impact they have on the organization and its people.