SPTF Newsletter

Your SPM Updates for Nov. 2019         

View in Browser

Spotlight on Responsible Treatment of Employees

SPTF applauds the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) for an excellent European Microfinance Week 2019! One panel in particular caught our ear, because it raised an issue that is too often neglected in our industry--the responsibility that financial service providers have for the safety and social wellbeing of their employees. Craig Churchill (International Labour Organization) reminded participants that "If work is dangerous, a source of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, it can have serious adverse affects on our wellbeing, with serious ramifications." SPTF couldn't agree more! In fact, we have standards for social responsibility to employees, developed in partnership with ILO. Keep reading to learn more.  

Watch Craig Churchill and other panelists discuss Protecting the working poor in the 21st century through responsible finance.


December 3-4, 2019

Training: How to Analyze Poverty Data
Accra, Ghana

In collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), SPTF’s Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for SSA/MENA is organizing a two-day training in Accra, Ghana. Hugo Salas, Senior Data Analyst at IPA, will lead the training to discuss how to implement and analyze PPI data to understand clients better and gain insights that inform strategic and operational decisions. This training is free, but space is limited. To register, please contact rmf@sptf.info.

January 22-24, 2020

Training: Responsible Inclusive Finance 
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania                           

In collaboration with the Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI), SPTF’s Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for SSA/MENA is organizing a three-day training. This training defines responsible and inclusive finance, explains the business case for it, introduces the Universal Standards and the SPI4 social audit tool, and discusses how to integrate responsible and inclusive practices into digital finance.  This training is free, but space is limited. To register, please contact rmf@sptf.info

Connecting You to the Field

From the Field: Building a Culture of Customer Care at MEC FADEC, Senegal

Earlier this month, RIFF-SSA/MENA Director Amelia Greenberg visited MEC FADEC, in Kébémer, Senegal to meet with Director Samella Tine and her staff to discuss their progress on the implementation of a client complaints mechanism.  The RIFF-SSA/MENA is co-financing this project and Mbagnick Gueye is providing technical assistance.  MEC FADEC is located in a rural area of Senegal and most of its clients are farmers or raise livestock.

The project MEC FADEC designed for a complaints mechanism is multi-faceted. It has purchased and installed television screens that show animated videos providing information on clients’ rights to complain and how the mechanism works. The videos, which are shown in all six of its branch offices, are subtitled in French, but the voiceover language is in two local languages -- Wolof and Poular. MEC FADEC has also set up a telephone line specifically for client complaints, and that line reaches a senior manager in the headquarters office.  Additionally, each branch office has an “idea box,” in which clients can submit written complaints or comments, and they will have a poster with information on how to register complaints. Once the complaints mechanism is functional, MEC FADEC will launch an awareness raising campaign among clients. The cashiers at the branch officers will lead these sessions, which they have expressed interest in doing because it allows them to spend some of their work time outside with clients. 

During the site visit, Ms. Greenberg and the MEC FADEC staff discussed some elements of the mechanism that are still under development, such as how to notify clients to assure them that their complaint was received, the permissible length of time between complaint registry and resolution, and how to design the graphics for both the posters and the video shown on the television to make sure clients feel represented and respected. The group also discussed the pros and cons of doing this work in-house versus hiring an external vendor to assist, as well as the merits of sharing the data on complaints collection with the board and with the staff members themselves. 
MEC FADEC has already piloted some elements of the complaints mechanism and has one encouraging story of a group of women who complained anonymously about electricity outages in their local branch.  When MEC FADEC purchased a back-up source of energy to eliminate this problem, the women were so grateful that they came to the headquarters to express their thanks. In addition to resolving this complaint, MEC FADEC was pleased that the women felt comfortable speaking to the organization in person, and they hope that once the mechanism is fully functional, it will continue to bring transparency and trust into their operations.

To learn more about RIFF-SSA/MENA trainings and co-financing opportunities, see below

SPTF Supports the BCEAO's Financial Inclusion Strategy

The Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) hosted the second edition of its financial inclusion week earlier this month in Senegal. The BCEAO is the central bank for a monetary union of eight African states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinée-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.   The BCEAO is currently implementing a financial inclusion strategy for the region, designed around five strategic axes: 

  1. Evaluation and supervision
  2. Improving the health and stability of the microfinance sector
  3. Promoting innovation that increases financial inclusion of populations that are excluded
  4. Strengthening consumer protection and financial education
  5. Implementing a tax framework that promotes financial inclusion

SPTF Deputy Director Amelia Greenberg spoke on day two of the conference, which was entirely devoted to the question of financial education for clients, about the importance of viewing inclusion not only as a question of access, but also as access that creates benefits for clients. SPTF is in discussions with the BCEAO to understand how best the RIFF-SSA/MENA facility can support the financial inclusion objectives and activities of the BCEAO, likely through a combination of trainings for all stakeholders, co-financing of activities that help FSPs be more inclusive and client-centric, and how specifically to educate and empower illiterate and innumerate customers.

Regional Responsible Inclusive Finance (RIF) facilities 

Apply now for co-financing and trainings! 

The SPTF manages three regional SPM implementation facilities, each of which aims to strengthen the capacity and SPM practices of financial service providers in its region. The facilities cover Africa, the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. 

From the Field: Digital Transformation Training in Cambodia

Earlier this month, SPTF held a one-day digital transformation training in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The training, which was held in conjunction with the Cambodia Microfinance Association’s Annual Microfinance Conference, focused on helping microfinance institutions develop strategies for responsible and inclusive digital transformation. The training was led by Nitish Narain of MSC and funded by the Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Southeast Asia (RIFF-SEA).
RIFF-SEA, as well as SPTF’s two other regional facilities, offers trainings on responsible digital transformation, as well as provides co-financing for digital readiness assessments and upgrade projects focused on digital transformation.

Training Report: SPI4 Auditors Meet in Burkina FasoFollowing international best practice, SPTF reviews the Universal Standards every 3 to 5 years to strengthen existing standards and expand the content of the standards, as needed, to remain aligned with the ever-evolving financial inclusion sector. Earlier this year, SPTF began its latest review process, which will conclude next year.  In June of 2019, CERISE and SPTF co-hosted a one-day workshop in Kenya for a group of experienced anglophone SPI4 auditors and Smart-certified evaluators to ask for their feedback on both the standards content and the resources we have to support their implementation. In October 2019, CERISE and SPTF co-hosted a second feedback workshop in Burkina Faso for a group of francophone auditors.
Auditors gave feedback on a wide range of topics. The discussion was particularly rich on the question of inclusion. For example, some noted that board members are often underinformed about social performance management, and yet board leadership and oversight are critical to the implementation of inclusive practices.  The group also discussed the close link between adaptation of products and services to clients’ needs and the FSP’s ability to achieve inclusion of all client group; however, they noted that although it seems that every provider claims to offer products that meet clients’ needs, in reality we often observe little product differentiation. This discussion led to a review of average SPI4 scores for standards 3A, “The provider understands the needs and preferences of different types of clients,” and 3B, “The provider’s products, services and delivery channels are designed to benefit clients, in line with the provider’s social goals.”  The average score for 3A (54) is noticeably lower than for 3B (71), which potentially reveals a weakness in the evaluation methodology; if the provider does not seek information on clients’ needs and preferences and analyze the results of its market research by client characteristics, how would it be possible for it to have the knowledge it would need to design and offer products and services that are suited to clients' need?



News from the SPTF Community

Welcoming two new SPTF board members

SPTF is thrilled to announce the addition of two new board members. Welcome Emmanuelle and Thomas! 


Emmanuelle Javoy

Head of Social Performance and Impact Measurement
Impact - SP & IM


Thomas Lammar

Secrétaire de Légation
Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Directorate for Development Cooperation

Congratulations to Equitas, winner of a National CSR Award from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India

Long-time SPM champion Equitas won the Indian government's CRS Award 2019 in the category of National Priority Area-Slum Development. Equitas' committment to nonfinancial services is embodied in the "Equitas Ecosystem," which is a series of development services including schools, health care, skills training, job placement for unemployed youth, and rehabilitation of homeless pavement dwellers families. To run these social activities, the company donates 5 percent of its profit and also earmarks 15 percent of its net worth to buy land and buildings to run schools.


Client Protection Spotlight: Genesis helps staff understand the importance of client protection

Smart Certified Fundación Genesis Empresarial (Guatemala) believes that client protection is the responsibility of each and every employee. Over the past few years, Genesis has developed a successful method for teaching employees about client protection and creating a culture where customers are respected. 

The bank periodically publishes internal bulletins called Client Protection Notes, which describe how each employee position (field staff, tellers, ITC, etc.) is responsible for client protection. This helps each employee understand his/her contribution.  

Genesis also publishes comic strips that engage yonger, frontline staff. Each comic illustrates a real client protection issue--for example, how to work with delinquent clients--and shows how employees are expected to handle themselves. 

Formal staff training includes messaging on how client protection should not be viewed as "something extra to do" but as a differentiator for the institution that helps ensure efficient and successful operations that guarantee strong social and financial performance.

Finally, given the 23 distinct Mayan languages and various cultures within Guatemala, Genesis employs a full-time anthropologist who consults on HR and training topics so the messages are culturally appropriate and relevant.  

Spoltlight on Responsibile Treatment of Employees (con't)

SPTF believes that for employees to serve clients well, they must work in an environment that supports and protects their rights and makes them feel valued. As part of the Universal Standards, there are three Essential Practices that create this environment for employees:

  1. The provider follows a written Human Resources policy that protects employees and creates a supportive working environment.
  2. The provider communicates to all employees the terms of their employment and provides training for essential job functions.
  3. The provider monitors employee satisfaction and turnover.

Many providers agree theoretically with these practices, but don't have clear strategies for achieving them. Fortunately, the Universal Standards Implementation Guide gives practical guidance on how to do this, as well as case studies and links to other industry resources. For example, learn how to calculate and monitor your employee turnover rate and read how organizations from around the world recruit employees, protect their saftey, and respond to employee grievances. 


SPTF Membership

SPTF thanks its paying organizational members

In 2018, SPTF started collecting annual membership fees from its stakeholders. We wish Organizational Memberto recognize our sustaining members, whose partnership and financial support ensure our ongoing operations. SPTF is the only inclusive finance community that spans all industry stakeholders -- and is therefore fundamental to building cross-sectional knowledge, strengthening practitioners, and maintaining the focus needed for industry-wide change. 

To further acknowledge these members, we will be highlighting a few such organizations each month. 

Today, we thank three new sustaining members in particular:



Catholic Relief Services




Grameen Crédit Agricole



Grassroots Capital Management


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
Unsubscribe   |   Copyright Social Performance Task Force®. All Rights Reserved

SPTF | 7816 Carteret Road | Bethesda, MD 20817
This email was sent to .
You are receiving this mail because you opted to receive messages from the Social Performance Task Force Newsletter.
Click here to unsubscribe at any time.