Social Performance Management
It might sound a bit technical, but it’s quite simple really: Social Performance Management is the way we make sure we’re achieving our aim of helping the poorest women in rural Africa transform their lives by lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.
There are a few areas we focus on:
- Poverty outreach & poverty change – By measuring how poor the women we work with are, and whether this changes over the time we support them, we can see whether we are doing what we aim to be doing. We measure this using the “Progress out of Poverty Index” (PPI). Again, it sounds pretty confusing, but it’s actually a very simple questionnaire that our Loan Officers ask our clients on a regular basis. The result is a score that tells us the likelihood that the respondent’s household is living below the national poverty line. With this data, we can review the services we provide and make sure we are having the biggest impact possible.
- Client protection – We have a Rights & Responsibilities document which MicroLoan staff and clients commit to before loans are disbursed. It covers the responsibilities of the client e.g. supporting other women in the group, following MicroLoan Foundation’s procesdures. And it also covers the responsibilities of MicroLoan staff e.g. to treat clients with respect, to never accept payment or gifts for their services etc. We also have a Code of Ethics that all staff in the UK and Africa must sign which lays out our commitment to treating clients fairly and with respect at all times. It covers a lot of bases, including:
- Appropriate collection practices – e.g. not seizing assets from the client if they can’t repay their loan
- Respecting donors – MicroLoan would not exist without the generosity of our donors, so all staff must commit to ensuring MicroLoan funds are spent in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible
- Zero tolerance to bribery and corruption
- Client needs – Our SPM helps us understand whether we are meeting the needs of the women we support. For example, research we carried out a few years ago demonstrated that we could reach even poorer women by providing smaller loans, specifically targeted at women who had never done any business before and might be put off by the savings requirement of our standard loans. So, we developed our “Chiyambi” loans to do exactly that. And they’ve been very well received.
- Client training – Our SPM has helped us understand the importance of the training we provide, so over the past couple of years we have re-developed our training to make it more frequent and detailed. We have also made it more participatory (e.g. using role plays) so it is accessible to all clients, including those who have limited or no reading and writing skills. Training is now given both before a loan is disbursed, and every two weeks after a loan is given, to ensure the continued success of our client’s businesses.
If you have any questions about our SPM, please contact our Social Performance Manager, Daniella Hawkins, who will be very happy to answer any questions you might have.
For more information on SPM, and how other organisations implement it, please visit: