Social Performance Task Force

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Special Edition on the SPTF 2016 Annual Meeting 

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The 2016 SPTF Annual Meeting: Marrakesh, Morocco



The SPTF welcomed over 250 global participants, representing over 45 countries, to Marrakesh, Morocco for the organization’s 11th Annual Meeting, May 30 - June 2, 2016. This year’s meeting focused on how financial inclusion stakeholders can implement the SPTF Universal Standards for Social Performance Management ("the Universal Standards"), with a particular focus on managing client outcomes. The meeting, hosted by Fédération Nationale des Associations de Microcrédit (FNAM) and Centre Mohammed VI de Soutien à la Microfinance Solidaire, was the first SPTF annual meeting held in North Africa.


SPTF Annual Meeting Highlights 

All Roads Lead to the Universal Standards

The meeting kicked off with a speech from SPTF board member Dina Pons, called All Roads Lead to the Universal Standards. Dina used personal stories to describe how the Universal Standards are changing the industry for the better. Her speech provides a great overview of how each Dimension of the Universal Standards contributes to strengthening responsible inclusive finance.

Below, you will find more interesting highlights of our meeting. For even greater detail, the meeting notes, presentations, and briefing materials can be found on the SPTF website.

A Focus on Client Outcomes

Several of the meeting’s sessions centered on the recent work of the SPTF Outcomes Working Group, a large constituency of SPTF members whose goal is to develop practical guidelines for credible measurement and management of and reporting on outcomes.

An Outcomes Workshop explored two sets of outcomes guidelines—one for investors and one for financial service providers (FSPs), soon to be finalized by authors Lucia Spaggiari and Frances Sinha, respectively. The guidelines, published in partnership with e-MFP, present practical guidance for measuring client level outcomes, analyzing the results, and using the findings as part of social performance management. Workshop participants discussed a list of “common core indicators” proposed for use by the entire industry, with the purpose of creating consistent and stable indicators for business outcomes, poverty/assets, and resilience/vulnerability.

A follow-up panel of experts emphasized the increasing importance of outcomes measurement—rather than anecdotes, for legitimizing financial inclusion and drawing investment to the industry. Panelist and SPTF board member Calum Scott remarked: At Opportunity International, we used to rely on individual client stories as a way of demonstrating client outcomes.  I'm happy to say that we've moved away from this way of thinking, and so have our donors. Client stories are not bad but we must demonstrate the effectiveness of our programs in a much more sophisticated and robust way. We need to show  client outcomes across our programs—how effective are we in different countries, with different products? What measurable improvements do we see in clients' lives? Increasingly there are funds out there – social investment funds – that we cannot tap into unless we are able to consistently and reliably report on the outcomes of our programs.

Regulation for Responsible Inclusive Finance 

Regulation for responsible inclusive finance was another topic that drew great interest from participants. Regulators and policymakers from almost two dozen countries attended this year’s forum, meeting first as a group to discuss how to integrate SPM into their regulatory frameworks, and later sharing lessons from Nicaragua, Peru, and the Philippines during a plenary session. (Photo above)

Products that Clients Want

Responsive product design and the client experience was another topic covered extensively at the meeting. Several breakout workshops were offered, including customer experience design and human-centered design for digital financial services.

For the first time ever, the SPTF offered a workshop on refugee microfinance. Workshop participants discussed how financial service providers can overcome barriers to serving refugees with financial services. The SPTF now offers resources and guidance on financial services for refugees, with more coming throughout the year.

Field Visits

The last day of the Meeting was dedicated to field visits to MFIs in Morocco to see practical application of SPM. Participants visited four local institutions: Al Baraka, ARDI Foundation, Al Amana Microfinance, and Attawfiq. Meeting participants not only had the chance to visit local branches and meet with the staff, they also toured client businesses.  

Photo: An SPTF meeting delegation visits a client from ARDI (Morocco). Unlike the nearby pottery factories that pollute the air, this client used a loan from ARDI to install solar panels that generate clean energy for his factory.


Putting Clients at the Center of the SPTF 2016 Annual Meeting 

Client Marketplace  

Clients were not only the focus of this year's meeting agenda, they were also at the center of the meeting venue. A client marketplace in the meeting venue provided local artisans with an opportunity to meet and talk with meeting participants while selling their handicrafts.  


Social Media at the SPTF Annual Meeting 

As you know, the SPTF is now present on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. The SPTF, along with meeting participants, tweeted and shared interesting information and photos throughout the meeting. Use #SPTF2016 to search for the meeting tweets and to tweet your feedback on the meeting agenda. 

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Meeting notes, presentations, and briefing material can be found on the SPTF website.

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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 CGAP Brief on the Universal Standards Implementation Guide Universal Standards Implementation Guide
SPI4 Tool SPTF Guidance Notes SPTF Resource Center
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