SPTF Newsletter

July 2020 Edition                                                                                  

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Strengthen Your Resilience During Difficult Times
by Oricel Caminero

According to Google Trends, the word “resilience” has been one of the most searched topics during the early months of 2020. This is most understandable given the current situation around the globe.  

We all want to be more resilient. But do we all understand what resilience is? Personally, my favorite definition of resilience is “the ability to advance despite adversity” (Rossouw, 2016).  Not just bounce back, not just adapt, but to advance. In other words, if you are resilient, you thrive while you survive.  

It is critical for us to develop this skill, not only in ourselves but in our families, our teams, our communities, our organizations, and in our clients. 

How do we build resilience? Keep reading below.


SPTF Announcements 

New Resources: Using Client Insights to Drive your COVID-19 Response

Our new webinar series features FSPs who are collecting customer data and using the findings to inform their COVID-19 Response. Join us to glean ideas on how your institution or your partners can use client insights to drive your crisis response and recovery. 

Watch webinar #1: SEF (South Africa) and 4G Capital (Kenya). Read the one-page briefs too: SEF + 4G

Watch webinar #2: FINCA International and Annapurna (India). Read the one-page briefs too: FINCA+ Annapurna   

Watch webinar #3: BRAC International (focusing on its African affiliates) and Ujjivan (India). Browse the presentations: BRAC + Ujjivan

French webinar: Al Majmoua (Lebanon) and UCEC-MK (Chad ). Read the one-page briefs too: Al Majmoua + UCEC-MK 

Spanish webinar: Introduction to the Tool 

SPTF Events

July 16, 2020

FINCA Impact Finance webinar: The Economic Impact of COVID-19: Results of a Global Survey of Microfinance Customers
WebEx, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. EDT (UTC-5)

Join this webinar on the economic impact of COVID-19 on emerging markets. Based on a global survey of more than 5,000 microfinance customers, the baseline data paints a compelling picture of the different ways COVID is affecting lives and serves as a benchmark as borrowers chart a path to recovery. 
Register and find out more here and join the meeting here

July 16, 2020

SPTF Spanish Webinar: Using Client Insights to Inform your Crisis Response
WebEx, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EDT (New York)

In this session, Fundación ESPOIR in Ecuador and ADRA Perú  will share their experience and learning from their client surveys. Both institutions are using the results to guide their response to the crisis. 
Join the webinar here.

July 16, 2020

AFI Webinar: Microfinance - Response & Recovery from COVID-19: Regulator and Industry Perspective
Choose between Session 1 : 3.00 AM UTC, AND Session 2 : 1.00 PM UTC

Jurgen Hammer--Managing Director SPTF Europe--will speak on this virtual panel. The webinar is designed to be a call for action by AFI member institutions to support the regulated microfinance sector to address the challenges they have been facing due to the pandemic. To enable this, the webinar will discuss three possible policy interventions to:
- Minimize impact on customers – individuals and small businesses, especially owned by women.
- Ensure sustainability and business continuity of microfinance institutions.
- Support recovery of the sector from a medium to long term perspective.
Register to attend

July 23 (Part 1) and August 13 (Part 2)

SPTF Spanish Webinar: Resilient Leadership in a Crisis
Both will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m EDT (New York)

This two-part webinar series will encourage you to find greater resilience in this time of crisis. Part 1 will discuss the domains of resilience: Vision, Composure, Reasoning, Health, Tenacity, and Collaboration. Part 2 will present the framework for institutional resilience, delve deeper into each of its domains, and how they apply to financial service providers. Facilitator Oricel Caminero will discuss with the participants practical approaches to enhance organizational resilience in microfinance institutions in the region.
Join Part 1 on July 23 here.
Join Part 2 on August 12 here.


                     Resources You Can Use

Have you downloaded your copy of the COVID-19 Client Interview Tool? 

Join over 100 users who have registered for the The COVID-19 Client Interview Tool--a set of simple, standardized questions for financial service providers (FSPs) to use when interviewing their clients during the pandemic. 

The survey questions produce actionable information for FSPs and their investors. FSPs are using it to understand the differences between clients and make informed, nuanced decisions about how to serve clients during and after the crisis.

The survey is available free of cost in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, with additional languages coming soon. SPTF has partnered with FINCA International to provide a free, electronic tool for capturing and analyzing the interview data.

FSPs can apply for co-financing to assist with the cost of implementation.

(Continued from top) Strengthen Your Resilience During Difficult Timesby Oricel Caminero

How do we build resilience?  Recent research shows that many different factors contribute to resilience: our beliefs, information we have access to, our mental processes and our behaviors. These have been grouped into six domains: 

  1. Vision: This is the most important domain. It is related to our sense of purpose, as well as the clarity and congruence of our goals. 
  2. Composure: This is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, staying calm and in control. This is especially important as extreme emotions impair our analytical and creative thinking capacity. 
  3. Reasoning: Relates to problem solving and innovative thinking, as well as planning and anticipating both opportunities and threats. 
  4. Health: This is a foundational domain. Proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular exercise enable our brain to function effectively. 
  5. Tenacity: This means being persistent, realistically optimistic and to “just keep swimming.” Winston Churchill famously said: “If you are going through hell, keep going! That’s not a good place to stop.” 
  6. Collaboration: “If you want to go somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb) Humans are social beings. We all have a need to belong, to support, and be supported. Every extraordinary human achievement is the result of teamwork and collaboration. 

So, the first step if we are to strengthen our resilience is to look at these six domains and ask ourselves: How am I doing? Is this area working well for me? Is this an opportunity for improvement? 

As we look at the list, one or more of these elements may come as a natural strength. This is great. We must acknowledge and celebrate it. However, we must also identify improvement areas and develop a plan to address them. 

Here is a constructive list of questions to reflect on: 

  • Are my goals clear?  Are they congruent? Is there any contradiction between my goals? 
  • How is my emotional intelligence?  Am I reacting most of the time? How are my stress levels? 
  • Am I using my analytical and critical thinking skills? Am I planning/anticipating?
  • How is my health?  Is there something I need to address? 
  • How is my communication with my team? Do we get together often (virtually or in person)? Are we aligned? 
  • What changes do I need to implement to improve one or more of these elements? 

Oricel Caminero is a Certified Resilience Coach, as well as Consultant and Trainer in the inclusive finance sector.  She led a two-part webinar series on this topic, in English. Find both of the recorded sessions in the Webinars & Trainings section of our COVID page.


SPTF Social Investor Working Group

Investors: Join the next SIWG call on July 15 to continue coordinating responses to COVID

Based on demand from our Social Investor Working Group members, we have been hosting regular virtual meetings regarding the investor response to the COVID crisis. Our next call will take place Wednesday, July 15 from 10:30 a.m. EDT to 11:30 a.m. EDT.  Joining information for the call, which is open to investors only, can be found here. On the call, we will discuss: 

  • Updates regarding the pledge and the MOU. Uptake to both initiatives has grown steadily during the past few months, and there are now 14 signatories to the MOU and 30 signatories to the pledge. The groups met earlier this month to discuss next steps, including tracking implementation across signatories and publishing a common article on pledge and MOU implementation in the coming months. 
  • Updates from the first meeting of the responsible covenants sub-group. Several SIWG have noted the need to harmonize COVID-related covenants. In response, the SIWG created a sub-group to review our current definition of responsible covenants and adapt them as necessary to the COVID context. The sub-group met for the first time on July 8 and will present an update to the SIWG on the July 15 call. If you're interested in joining the sub-group, email SIWG co-chair Anna Kanze for more information. 

Catch up on our previous calls by reading the briefs and listening to the recordings on the SIWG webpage. If you have any other questions, please email Katie Hoffmann

The Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation publishes 2020 Impact Report 

In collaboration with CERISE, Grameen Credit Agricole published their first-ever impact report earlier this month. In it, they examine the social, environmental, and financial performance of their portfolio companies and discuss the Foundation's contributions, challenges, and goals for the future.

Though the Foundation has supported portfolio companies for 12 years, this report is a first for the group. Says Eric Campos, Foundation Managing Director: "This is a first exercise which will be followed by an operational deployment
of impact tools and a field study to verify the solidity of the Foundation’s impact model."

Social investors interested in learning more are encouraged to join the SPTF Social Impact Working Group and to explore the SPI4-Alinus, a social data tool for investors. 

SPTF Members: Responsibility in Action

Financial support from our sustaining members ensures our ongoing operations. We are proud of the ways that our members are responding to COVID-19. 

* Equitas has been busy setting the gold standard for treating employees responsibly (per Dimension 5 of the Universal Standards).  Check out the incredible list of benefits Equitas is providing to help see their employees safely through the COVID-19 crisis.

* European Investment Bank (EIB) has stepped up in a big way to help the 85% of Spanish small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are struggling to survive the economic crisis.  EIB has joined forces with BBVA to provide a total of €1.423 billion in financing to SMEs.

* On July 13th (in four days!), the European Microfinance Platform Platform (e-MFP) is hosting a webinar to present the findings of its Covid-19 Financial Inclusions Compass survey, which they conducted in three languages to get a true global cross-section of the challenges, responses, and priorities of the financial inclusion sector.

* FINCA recently completed a staggering 3,500 client interviews (using the new Client Interview Tool!), asking about the impact of COVID-19 on life in Uganda, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Kosovo.  Check out a short summary of the results here or attend the July 16th webinar for a more in-depth breakdown.

* Good Return is rolling out its innovative new "My Money Tracker" phone app, specifically designed for Cambodian microbusiness owners.  The app enables digital financial transactions and tracking and provides financial education at scale to those who need it the most -- all of which could not be more timely.


      The Responsible Inclusive Finance Facilities:
                      Co-Financing Still Available 

SPTF's co-financing facilities are adapting to the crisis

SPTF's three responsible inclusive finance facilities are open and accepting applications for regular projects during the crisis. We are also adapting the facilities' policies to offer extra help to financial service providers during these trying times: 

  • We have simplified the application forms to help FSPs apply more quickly.
  • In addition to our usual topics, we are accepting applications for projects focused on helping FSPs weather the crisis, such as projects that build institutional resilience or develop digital channels to better connect with clients and staff. 

  • To accommodate time-sensitive projects related to the crisis, the facilities are reviewing applications with increased frequency.

If you're interested in applying for co-financing from one of SPTF's regional responsible inclusive finance facilities, see the respective regions below: 

The facilities are co-financing non-traditional projects in response to the crisis
Over the past three months, our projects represent innovative strategies to help clients in their hour of greatest need, support FSP staff, and aid management in building more resilient institutions, better equipped to whether this crisis and the next. 

MEC FADEC NJAMBUR, a financial service provider in Senegal, received co-financing from the SPTF for two purposes:
1) To equip its staff with protective equipment to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and
2) to provide food aid to MEC FADEC's most vulnerable clients and their families.  

MEC FADEC leadership asked its loan agents for input on which families had the greatest need and ultimately selected about 400 households to receive a package of goods containing rice, pasta, oil, and soap. MEC FADEC staff set up many delivery sites throughout the region so that the clients had easy access to the goods. MEC FADEC staff observed that client groups voluntarily shared their foodstuffs with everyone in the group, including households that had not been selected to receive aid, thus extending the number of people who benefited from the project.  MEC FADEC reports that staff were proud to participate in this project, and that through this work, MEC FADEC was able not only to help households in need, but also to raise awareness about the coronavirus and strengthen the relationship between MEC FADEC and its clients.

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