SPTF Newsletter

October 2020                                            

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25,000 microfinance clients talk about COVID

By now, you know about the COVID-19 Client Interview Tool--a set of simple, standardized questions for financial service providers (FSPs) to use when interviewing their clients. But did you know that almost 40 FSPs across the world have used it to interview roughly 25,000 clients? Now, FSPs and investors must ask: What do we do with the results? Keep reading >



(Con't from above) Clients + COVID

The preliminary findings emerging from the data are stark. While severity of impact varies considerably from country to country, the majority of clients surveyed find themselves in a vulnerable or highly vulnerable state.

Though large numbers of clients report using savings as a coping mechanism, the length of the crisis means that many have exhausted their reserves and are now borrowing, selling assets, consuming farm seeds and animals, and other coping strategies.

As a result, food insecurity has increased, and women and the poor are the hardest hit. As economies begin to restart, some sectors and businesses appear better poised for recovery than others. Overall, the portrait that emerges shows a need for recapitalization coupled with strategies to mitigate vulnerability and build resilience.  

Earlier this month, SPTF launched a series of invitation-only workshops and roundtables with financial service providers and investors who have been collecting data on COVID-19’s impact on clients. The first two workshops, which so far have taken place in English and Spanish, focused on working with financial service providers to look at the data that has come in so far, its implications, and how institutions are and can respond. 

The next two workshops to be held in November will focus on the investor response to the crisis. The first session will be an opportunity for investors to learn from the data and each other. The second will take the form of a roundtable discussion generating dialogue among investors and financial service providers. 

Over the course of the coming months, we hope to broaden the engagement of our membership around this topic with the goal of defining a path that puts all stakeholders on the path to a sustainable recovery. If you are interested in participating in dialogue, data collection, or peer learning on this topic, please let us know of your interest.


Explore Global COVID Insights with a Visual Dashboard

60 Decibles--in partnership with SPTF and FINCA International--is using the COVID19 Client Interview Tool to collect client data and generate actionable insights for its partners in the field. During July and August 2020, 60 Decibles spoke to over 2,000 clients from 10 FSPs across 8 countries throughout Africa and Asia. Their live dashboard presents the resulting insights for use by the entire industry. Check it out!

Social Investor Working Group News: Thank you, Anna Kanze!

SPTF thanks Anna Kanze for three years of service as the Social Investor co-chair to the Board of Directors. 

"Anna has been an invaluable support to the SIWG’s activities. Her broad exposure from microfinance to the larger impact industry enriched our discussions at the SPTF Board and was essential for positioning our work within the broader impact industry structure. 

Personally, I love Anna’s 'we can do this!' attitude which has been so appreciated during this very tumultuous year, in particular. I know that Anna's departure from the board will not distance her from the SIWG’s ongoing work."                  - Jurgen Hammer, SPTF


Election Announcement: Social Investor Board Seat

Voting is now taking place to fill the open Social Investor seat on the SPTF Board of Directors. 

Meet the candidates: Please visit the Social Investor Working Group page to view the bios and platforms for each of the following candidates:

  • Alexandre Nayme - BNP Paribas 
  • Edouard Sers - Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation 
  • Lone Søndergaard - Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI) 
  • Frank Streppel - Triodos Investment Management

Deadline: We ask you to please send your vote for one candidate by October 30. Your vote is completely confidential. 

Voter eligibility: Voting is open only to investors and funders who have been SPTF organizational members or SPTF collaborating members within the past two years. If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact Jurgen Hammer

Questions? Please contact Katie Hoffmann. Thank you in advance for submitting your vote by October 30.

Celebrating our new members

Oikocredit International

Nordic Microfinance Initiatve (NMI)  

SPTF Members: Responsibility in Action

  • The pandemic has thrown digital channels to the forefront of everyone's concerns, so we are feeling excited about Catholic Relief Services' recently launched ICT4D Conference Podcast.  Every Friday, they have a new episode about current digital development innovations, trends, or good practices.  Last week's episode is about digital trends in farming during COVID-19. 
  • Congratulations and applause to Grassroots Capital Management on their recent book publication! The Future of Microfinance features contributions from dozens of leading authorities in the field discussing the current challenges and future scope of an industry that has grown from a niche service in Bangladesh to serving over 200 million people globally.  
  • Oikocredit's Solidarity Fund is making a difference ensuring sure hard-hit entrepreneurs and businesses can adjust to COVID and keep working. Check out a video of their recipients here.

The Responsible Inclusive Finance Facilities

Apply for co-financing for an SPM project

If you’re interested in applying for co-financing for an upgrade project from one of SPTF’s regional responsible inclusive finance facilities, see below for the next application deadline in your region. 

  • Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East/North Africa (RIFF-SSA/MENA). Learn more about the facility. Next application deadline: Accepting applications on a rolling basis
  • Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Central America and the Caribbean (RIFF-CAC). Learn more about the facility. Next application deadline: Nov. 6
  • Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Southeast Asia (RIFF-SEA). Learn more about the facility. Next application deadline: Dec. 7

Resources and References

Explore the resources below for tools and guidance to help strengthen your social performance management and achieve your social and financial goals.

Universal Standards for Social Performance Management Technical Assistance Database  Universal Standards Implementation Guide
SPI4 Tool SPTF Guidance Notes SPTF Resource Center
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