Truelift’s progress and what the future holds

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A message from the Truelift Steering Committee was posted on the Center for Financial Inclusion blog on January 21st, “Truelift’s Progress and Future in Pursuit of Transparency and Accountability in Poverty Alleviation Efforts.” The message opens with the pronouncement that defines what Truelift is all about: “Institutions built upon a promise of poverty alleviation must be motivated and supported to make good on that promise.”

Formerly known by the name of The Seal of Excellence for for Poverty Outreach and Transformation in Microfinance, Truelift officially launched in 2011. It emerged through the coordinated action of leaders in the global microfinance community who were catalyzed the Microcredit Summit Campaign early in 2010. We have been and will continued to be strong supporters of Truelift.

Now, however, Truelift’s resources have diminished to the point where they must depend on volunteer staff and committee members to maintain access to the Truelift information, tool, and services. The Microcredit Summit Campaign is committed to helping maintain what Truelift has already built, and together, we seeking new funding to regain momentum.

In the meantime, practitioners and others can continue to access the Truelift information and tool through our website and to receive responses to questions/queries about use of the tool and interpretation of results. Self-assessments as well as external assessments by rating agencies remain viable options.

We invite you to read the entire message from the Steering Committee and learn more about Truelift’s progress and future in pursuit of transparency and accountability in poverty alleviation efforts.

www.truelift.org

A Commitment to the Future

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The work that took place is a moment in history when the industry has rededicated itself to the mission of using microfinance to help end poverty.EspañolFrançais Continue reading

Countdown to End of #PaP2013

The Closing Plenary session for the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit begins in just 30 minutes. You don’t want to miss this session–and you don’t have to! Visit http://partnershipsagainstpoverty.org/livestream to watch the session LIVE.

WATCH NOW!

The Closing Plenary will have two main focal points: Truelift Milestone Institution Recognition and announcing the Global Commitments from attending organizations.

Truelift debuted at the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit in Valladolid, Spain as a global initiative to renew focus on the pro-poor objective of microfinance, i.e., a Trustmark that signifies a commitment to positive and enduring change for people living in poverty, in microfinance and beyond.

Truelift recognizes and advocates for pro-poor principles in microfinance, provides a framework, learning environment and recognition, aligns profitability with social inclusion, draws attention to good models, and collaborates with industry efforts including Smart Campaign and Social Performance Task Force.

Among the first 7 “milestone” MFIs that Truelift will be recognizing, the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) is the first Filipino MFI. They are receiving this award for showing the highest poverty outreach of all MFIs in the Grameen Foundation poverty calculation research (from 30%-64%) based on the PPI data. The Board at NWTF has also established an SPM Committee to work more on positive change in client’s lives and provide direction based on the poverty movement data received, including an increase in the activities of the Client Service Department for non-financial services. Gilbert Maramba, research and development manager for Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. in the Philippines will be representing.

2013Summit-banner_nologosGlobal Commitments to end poverty will also be announced at the closing plenary. According to the Global Findex study, more than half of the people in the world do not currently have formal financial accounts, especially the poor, women, people living in rural areas, and those with limited education.

To increase meaningful financial inclusion, two key avenues must be pursued. The first is to promote broader use of reliable and accurate poverty measurement tools so that practitioners can more clearly identify their level of poverty down-reach and better target their services to intended client groups. The second is to facilitate practices that lead to movement out of poverty through learning, product and service development, creating cross sector partnerships, targeted investor and donor funding, and building ways to better serve poor clients and meet their needs for the journey out of poverty.

Large multinational institutions, small practitioners just setting out, advocates and members of civil society, funders, investors, academics and the financial service providers themselves will be making commitments for achieving the 100 Million Goal:  helping 100 million families lift themselves out of severe poverty.

Strategic Partnership To Deliver Social Performance Assessments

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Moody’s and the Microfinance Centre (MFC) made an exciting announcement recently about a new strategic partnership to help microfinance institutions track and compare social performance with the Moody’s Analytics Social Performance Assessment (SPA), bringing attention to the important question of whether we are truly having a positive effect on the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. Moreover, the SPA will help social investors to identify and support those MFIs that do.

Join us in the Philippines this October 9-11 for the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit where representatives from Microfinance Opportunities, Moody’s Financial, and Alexandria Business Association – Small and Micro Enterprise will discuss how practitioners are using technology to better facilitate serving the poor and whether it can truly strengthen an institution’s social mission in the workshop “Mobile Banking: Perspectives on Challenges and Ways Forward.” Is it, in fact, a feasible means to serve the very poor? Join this panel to learn about solutions that will help make digital platforms more powerful resources for moving out of poverty.

Register today for the 2013 Summit! www.partnershipsagainstpoverty.org

Photo credit:  Equitas


Microfinance Centre to deliver Moody’s Analytics Social Performance Assessments

Warsaw, September 9, 2013 – Moody’s and the Microfinance Centre (MFC) have launched a new strategic partnership in Europe and Central Asia to deliver the Moody’s Analytics Social Performance Assessment (SPA) of microfinance institutions and operations.

This new partnership is part of Moody’s commitment to provide globally comparable assessments with local market expertise for microfinance programs. It also builds on the MFC’s vision for a sustainable and mission-focused industry. Moody’s Social Performance Group and the MFC are aligned in their commitment to ensure microfinance institutions assist the poor and underserved.

“Moody’s brings over 100 years experience in ratings and assessments while the Microfinance Centre was the first global player to work on social performance issues,” said Jody Rasch, Senior Vice President, Social Performance Group at Moody’s Analytics. “The Microfinance Centre brings a local practitioner’s perspective to the table and we are very excited to work with an organization with such a great track-record.”

“The Microfinance Centre continues to advance responsible finance and in particular social performance throughout Europe and Central Asia,” said Katarzyna Pawlak, Deputy Director of MFC. “Moody’s Analytics Social Performance Assessments will help those organizations track and compare performance, which will help bring needed attention of social investors to this sector.”

The SPA is based on a global methodology developed by Moody’s Analytics through extensive market research and participation from over 100 microfinance institutions, investors, and service providers including the Social Performance Task Force, the MIX, the SMART Campaign and others. The SPA uses a scale ranging from SP1, the highest grade, to SP5, the lowest.

About the Microfinance Centre
MFC is a regional microfinance resource center and network which brings together 103 organizations (including 78 MFIs) in 27 countries of Europe and Asia, who aid over 800,000 low-income clients. Its mission is to contribute to poverty reduction and the development of human potential by promoting a socially-oriented and sustainable microfinance sector that provides adequate financial and non-financial services to a large numbers of low income families and micro-entrepreneurs.

About Moody Analytics’ Social Performance Assessments
Moody Analytics’ SPA is an independent analysis of the operations of a microfinance institution that helps stakeholders better understand how effective it is at translating its social mission into practice.

Moody’s Analytics SPA has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for contributing to the development of the microfinance industry through the creation of a comprehensive, global standard to measure social performance. Further information is available here.

About MFC’s Responsible Finance work
Since 1999, MFC has worked with practitioners and support organizations on impact assessments, social performance management, client protection, and social responsibility towards clients, shareholders, community and environment. Over 100 MFIs have benefited from MFC’s trainings, workshops, guidelines, advice and institutional assessments, and significantly more from awareness raising events. Learn more here.

About Moody’s Analytics
Moody’s Analytics helps capital markets and credit risk management professionals worldwide respond to an evolving marketplace with confidence. The company offers unique tools and best practices for measuring and managing risk through expertise and experience in credit analysis, economic research and financial risk management. By providing leading-edge software, advisory services, and research, including the proprietary analysis of Moody’s Investors Service, Moody’s Analytics integrates and customizes its offerings to address specific business challenges.

For more information please contact:
ABBAS QASIM
VP, Communication Moody’s Analytics
212.553.0041
abbas.qasim@moodys.com

LILIYA PESKOVA
Project Coordinator & Relationship Manager, Central Asia
Microfinance Centre
48.22.622.34.65 ext. 212
liliya@mfc.org.pl

Outreach to the poorest: by Lisa Kuhn Fraioli

Are MFI staff biased against the physical manifestations of severe poverty? Lisa Kuhn Fraioli, in this Truelift blog post, describes an exercise she took MFI staff through in order to illuminate how “the poorest members of society can become invisible to us.”

“Many of the people who were chosen based on their profiles were not chosen based on their pictures, revealing an apparent disconnect between the intent to serve poorer clients and the ability to identify them visually.” Read more!

Truelift

In the article below, Lisa Kuhn Fraioli recounts some experiences in the field and her reflections on pro-poor outreach:

Sometimes seeing is the first obstacle
to better outreach to the poorest.

In my work with microfinance organizations around the world, I have noticed that efforts to serve more poor people can stumble on the very first step: seeing them. 

One experience in particular stands out from my experience with a very well-meaning MFI whose staff claimed that there were not poorer clients or women to whom they could lend. In order to shed some light, I went out and interviewed people whom I thought were potential clients who were poorer than those currently served and took their pictures.  I also interviewed and photographed some people at a slightly higher economic level that I thought resembled the people they were currently serving.

photosAt a staff meeting, I posted pictures around the room and…

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Call for Tools! Tracking progress of poor people

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One of the 2 goals of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, as endorsed by delegates at our 2006 Global Microcredit Summit in Halifax, is for the global microfinance community, through appropriate products and services and establishing effective partnerships, to help 100 million families lift themselves out of severe poverty. In order to measure progress toward that goal, practitioners must track the progress of their clients and other stakeholders have a role to support that process.

If Truelift’s call for tools applies to you–your organization is tracking the progress of people living in poverty–please visit the post on Truelift to learn more.

Truelift

Do you track progress of people living in poverty?
Know someone who does?
We need your input!

Choose one of the TWO ways below to submit your tool for Tracking Progress of People Living in Poverty – email or the form below. Once you have submitted we will follow-up with you as soon possible. To learn more about tracking progress of poor people, click here.

tools

1) Send us an email telling us a little about:

  • You and your organization
  • What tool are you using to track progress of people living in poverty?
  • What is your tracking process?
  • What outcomes have you seen evidence of?
  • What have you learned from this process?

Send to info[at]truelift.org

OR

2) Complete the form below telling us a little about the ways you track progress of people living in poverty:

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Video Recording of “Matching Products & Preferences” Webinar

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Here is the promised video recording of the Bankers without Borders webinar from Friday, June 21. Continue reading

What about Non-Financial Services? (reblogged from Truelift)

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Clearly, the Microcredit Summit Campaign advocates for providing non-financial services such as health education and such along side credit, savings, and insurance. We think it is a key ingredient in meeting the needs and preference of clients. With our Financing Healthier Lives project, our partner MFIs are providing those very educational interventions that help women change behaviors at home, thus eliminating diarrhea and improving the health of their family.

You can read about our work here:  

Truelift

Lively discussion
During the Technical Committee (TC) meetings leading up to the final methodology for Truelift Assessment and the Pro-Poor Principles, there was a great deal of discussion about non-financial services and whether or not they are essential to pro-poor microfinance. Initially, the TC explored a full dimension of the methodology dedicated to assessing non-financial services when undergoing Truelift Assessment. As these discussions evolved, some broader questions rose to the fore, including the pro-poor intent and strategy behind services provided, and the degree of commitment to pro-poor services in terms of quality, coverage, and duration.

Appropriate non-financial services
The result of the Technical Committee (TC) deliberations ultimately yielded Pro-Poor Principle #2: Services that Meet the Needs of People Living in Poverty. “Services” is perhaps an oversimplification as we include here products, delivery channels, and any other modifications that an MFI has implemented in favor of its poor clients. The indicators in…

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Register today for the “Matching Products and Preferences” Webinar (June 21)

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Join Bankers without Borders for a panel discussion featuring Jesse Marsden from the Microcredit Summit Campaign, Guy Stuart from Microfinance Opportunities, and John D. Bergeron from Truelift as they discuss matching products to client preferences Continue reading

Webinar – What is Truelift?

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How did the Seal of Excellence become Truelift? Join uson June 13 for a webinar to learn about the new focus, name and logo.

Truelift

Truelift_RGB


13 June 2013 (Thursday)
10:00am EDT
Email: info[@]truelift.org  to RSVP

 

Ask yourself why you got involved in microfinance in the first place?
If you’re like us, you got involved in microfinance in order to make a real difference for people living in poverty.

We are pleased to invite you to join us in a renewed commitment to positive and enduring change in the lives of poor people and to celebrate the culmination of three years of work and industry collaboration. Join us and learn about our new focus, name and logo!

Truelift is a global initiative to renew focus on the pro-poor objective of microfinance. Truelift is a trust mark – in microfinance and beyond – to signify commitment to positive and enduring change for people living in poverty.

Truelift provides a strategic framework for pro-poor microfinance, including standards and indicators. Truelift also promotes a learning environment for improved…

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Data quality and the Pro-Poor Principles

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HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Data quality — Moving forward, the beta test findings have highlighted the importance of developing guidelines for quality issues with data on poor clients.
  • Data disaggregation — need for pro-poor microfinance promote activities like disaggregating data on poor clients as part of the continued improvement of pro-poor practices across the globe
  • Where did these findings lead us — one of the 4 sub-categories under each of the 3 Pro-Poor Principles is “Measurement and Data Quality”

Truelift

Pro-Poor Principles series
On 15 May 2013 we announced our Pro-Poor Principles in a blog post, found here. In this continuing series of blog posts, we will elaborate on the path that brought us to these Pro-Poor Principles of microfinance. The principles will inform both the learning environment in our community of practice, as well as our methodology for determining organizations that will be recognized by the Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence. We appreciate any thoughts you have on the Pro-Poor Principles and how best to apply them to practice. If you would like more information, please contact MeasureLearnChange[at]gmail.com.

The Beta Tests and Data quality
In partnership with technical experts in microfinance, we recently concluded a beta testing phase for the Seal of Excellence. The 7 microfinance institutions evaluated in the beta tests represent a variety of regions, as well as organization sizes and legal forms. You can view some…

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Defining “Poverty”: Pro-Poor Principles series

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“As a simple global benchmark, [the Seal will] reference a poverty line that approximates the bottom ~40% of the population. In many countries, the national poverty line is about the same as the bottom ~40%, as can be see in the graph below. This definition intentionally reflects a level that is practical, achievable and relevant to ensuring deep financial inclusion. Broadly, it represents outreach to the bottom half of the financially excluded. At the same time, in order to recognize MFIs that have achieved deeper outreach to the very poor, the Seal of Excellence indicators identify the percentage of clients from the bottom ~20% as well.”

Read more!

Truelift

Pro-Poor Principles series
On 15 May 2013 we announced our Pro-Poor Principles in a blog post, found here. In this continuing series of blog posts, we will elaborate on the path that brought us to these Pro-Poor Principles of microfinance. The principles will inform both the learning environment in our community of practice, as well as our methodology for determining organizations that will be recognized by the Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence. We appreciate any thoughts you have on the Pro-Poor Principles and how best to apply them to practice. If you would like more information, please contact MeasureLearnChange[at]gmail.com.

Defining “Poverty”

A simple plan
There have been many varied measures of poverty established over the past two decades in our global efforts to alleviate poverty. Hundreds of National Poverty Lines have been established by individual country governments, and institutions such as the World Bank have used figures ranging anywhere from…

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Announcing: the Pro-Poor Principles

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As the culmination of three years of work, the Pro-Poor Principles form the foundation for good practice in reaching and serving poor clients.

  1. Principle 1: Purposeful Outreach to People Living in Poverty
  2. Principle 2: Services that Meet the Needs of People Living in Poverty
  3. Principle 3: Tracking Progress of People Living in Poverty

Read more!

Truelift

Pro-Poor Principles series
We are proud to announce the Pro-Poor Principles! As the culmination of three years of work, the Pro-Poor Principles form the foundation for good practice in reaching and serving poor clients. They also serve as the core of our assessment framework that will help to identify those organizations doing the most to reach people living in poverty, to meet their needs, and to track progress over time.

The journey to the principles included alpha and beta testing, using a lengthy set of indicators which were reduced and refined. Many meetings and months of deliberation were conducted by our Technical Committee of industry experts. Performance against these standards will help to define the level of recognition that a microfinance institution can receive from the Seal of Excellence Secretariat.

In this continuing series of blog posts, we will elaborate on the path that brought us to these Pro-Poor…

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Youth Loan Fund Q&A – 2 May 2013 (PovCoP)

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Truelift

Missed our meeting this month?

Watch the video below, featuring Justin Sykes from Silatech speaking about their partnership with Al-Amal Microfinance Bank on the Youth Loan Fund in Yemen.  Anton Simanowitz, Social Performance specialist, interviews Silatech in the video below.  For more information on the Youth Loan Fund, take a look at this blog post.

Youth Loan Fund Q&A from Seal of Excellence on Vimeo.

Reflections from Al-Amal

Due to connectivity problems in Yemen, Al-Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB) CEO Mr. Mohammed Al-Lai was not able to join the conversation in the video.  See below for Al-Amal CEO Mr. Mohammed Al-Lai’s insights (received via email) on the partnership experience with Silatech for the Youth Loan Fund.


Can you explain a bit about who was not reached by the Youth Loan Fund and why?

Mr. Al-Lai
The youth Population who were not served in AMB are :
1. The unskilled…

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