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Author: Marina Dimova - Womens World Banking
Although nearly 250 million women in developing countries finally have some form of access to financial services, 742 million women – three times that many! – still have no access at all. To put this staggering number into perspective, if these women made up a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. Furthermore, there are an additional 246 million women with inactive bank accounts, underscoring the fact that access to financial services does not always equate to usage. These last 742 million women are the most difficult to reach for several reasons: they are typically located in rural areas with no connectivity or access to mobile phones and constitute the least educated and poorest demographic in their respective regions.

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Author: Inez Murray - Financial Alliance for Women
Although a lot of progress has been made, women are still disproportionately excluded from the formal financial system and make up more than half of the world’s unbanked population. There is also a significant opportunity to serve those women that are banked, more deeply. The female economy is a bigger than the GDP of China and India combined, but the financial services industry is still only beginning to unlock its full value. Financial institutions can positively impact their bottom lines and build a loyal customer base by serving the women’s market well.

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Author: Annie Wang - John Alex
In May 2021, the Delta wave of cases and deaths caused widespread devastation in India. Some estimates projected a staggering peak of nearly 40,000 deaths per day. While front page news focused on the shortage of oxygen supply and hospital beds, the challenge of immunizing such a populous country was undeniable: less than 3% of India’s population had received a two-dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines and misinformation around vaccinations was rampant. Opportunity International Australia (Opportunity) works alongside MFIs like Equitas Small Finance Bank (Equitas), socially focused financial service providers with enormous capacity for large-scale and rapid community mobilisation. There’s a tremendous opportunity to leverage the core assets and competencies of MFIs – grassroots social mobilisation, last mile distribution network and existing trusted relationships in communities – to support the critical nation-wide immunization efforts on the road to post-COVID-19 recovery in India and other emerging markets. Opportunity, Equitas Development Initiatives Trust (the charitable trust created alongside the commercial Equitas entity) and local state government stakeholders together developed an innovative public-private partnership (PPP) model to address vaccine access in last-mile and vulnerable communities.

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Author: Sally Yacoub
As International Women’s Day comes around once more, the stubbornness of the gender financial inclusion gap lingers in my mind. Despite progress in women’s financial inclusion, the gender gap in account ownership has remained persistent - at 9% since 2011. I cannot help but think about Albert Einstein’s quote that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. As a collective global community, we need to do things differently; think differently and intervene differently. Thinking through the barriers to women’s financial inclusion, the persistence of the gender financial inclusion gap is not surprising. Financial services are introduced in contexts and ecosystems that have their own dynamics - which grants privileges for some and presents obstacles for others. Those barriers are often intricately interwoven. When it comes to financial inclusion, women face a broad range of barriers. Despite obvious differences in individual circumstances and needs, many women - particularly low-income women in developing contexts – share common features.

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Author: Isabelle Katthagen and Elisabeth Niendorf - ADG
In September 2021, e-MFP published the results of a survey that mapped ‘Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector’ and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This was followed by a series of blogs presenting thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area and introduce practical tools that might guide practitioners in putting new HR practices into practice. This is the fifth and final blog in the series. Along with the previous blog that presents a framework to support managers in their HRD role, this blog outlines how MFIs can lift-up their HR function to a new level and thereby actively contribute to their organization’s success.

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Author: Cheryl Frankiewicz
In September of this year, e-MFP published the results of a survey that mapped 'Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector' and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This blog is the fourth in a series of thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area. As noted in the first and third blogs of this series, managers play a critical role in HR development. They establish expectations, identify needs, facilitate learning, nurture individual potential, and coordinate teamwork. They are expected to model preferred behaviors, motivate performance, and ensure discipline.

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Author: Cheryl Frankiewicz
In September of this year, e-MFP published the results of a survey that mapped 'Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector' and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This is the second part of the third blog in a series of thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area. The case study MFIs are using a variety of methods to better understand and influence employee engagement. Among these are climate and satisfaction surveys, focus groups, polls, complaint and suggestion systems, Q&A sessions with the CEO, informal conversations, and personal observation. The mechanisms used to gather the feedback don’t seem to matter as much as the flow of communication itself. Get feedback, and get it often.

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Author: Cheryl Frankiewicz
In September of this year, e-MFP published the results of a survey that mapped Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This is the first part of the third blog in a series of thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area. All but one of the case study institutions in this series conduct interviews with employees when they leave the organization. The insights gathered during these interviews have helped the MFIs understand what can be improved, but they haven’t shed much light on what MFIs are doing right. Why do people engage and stay engaged? In the words of Salome Kvakhadze, Head of Talent Development and Management at Crystal in Georgia, “We need to find out what motivates them BEFORE they leave. We want to be more proactive.”

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Author: Cheryl Frankiewicz
In September of this year, the European Microfinance Platform published the results of a survey that mapped Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This blog is the second in a series of thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area. Not long ago, when an MFI was asked how it evaluates the cost-effectiveness of its HR investments, there was a pretty good chance that it would reply by describing its process for assessing participant satisfaction with its training courses. Much has changed in the last few years. There is greater awareness of the multiple channels through which capacity can be built. There is increasing desire to compare the costs and benefits of different options. And there’s more understanding of the range of investments that can support effective talent management – from recruitment tools to retention systems. There is so much more measurement that could be done, but what do MFIs find worthwhile? What are they actually measuring – and how are they measuring it?

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Author: Cheryl Frankiewicz
In September of this year, e-MFP published the results of a survey that mapped Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices in the Microfinance Sector and highlighted opportunities for acting on those results. This blog is the first in a series of thematic case studies which explore the actions that some survey participants have taken to address each area. The profiled institutions were selected based on the quality of their HR practices and their willingness to share experiences. We are extremely grateful for their time and effort to contribute to this important research. The first opportunity for action identified in the e-MFP HR Action Group paper was the importance of alignment between human resource development (HRD) and business strategy. What does this mean? That the HR department should not be just thought of as a support and administrative department but an important player in defining and implementing the institution’s business strategy.

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