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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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Author: e-MFP
e-MFP is a member-led platform, and we always want to hear what our members are doing in different fields, to increase linkages and knowledge sharing both across the platform and with other stakeholders. Over 2021, e-MFP reached out to its members to see who was doing what in the area of this year’s European Microfinance Award theme – 'Inclusive Finance and Health Care'. We asked them five questions, and we’re very grateful to the following members for their contributions.

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Author: Bobbi Gray and Amelia Kuklewicz - Grameen Foundation
We met Teresa in El Salvador in the winter of 2019. She was a participant in a focus group discussion in which we sought to understand the relationship between women’s involvement in microfinance and the impact of income shocks on their families. She was emotional, sharing her anguish over her husband’s illness and how she took the risk of taking out a loan to manage his medical care. Along with the other women in her group, when they discussed income, they had a well-worn phrase to hand - “Coyol quebrado, coyol comido” – which alludes to a particular fruit with a hard shell, that when broken, is eaten right away and nothing is saved. This is their cash flow and expenses; earned income is always fully accounted for and used immediately, leaving no room for emergencies. In English, this might be called ‘hand-to-mouth’. In 2019, with a grant from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Grameen Foundation and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative joined forces for the Reducing Incidence of Child labor and Harmful conditions of work in Economic Strengthening initiatives (RICHES) project, with the goal to develop a toolkit for women’s economic empowerment actors such as financial services providers (FSPs) to integrate child labor and business safety into FSP products, services and programming.

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Author: Rob Kaanen - Scale2Save
The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest crisis that is putting pressure on financial service providers (FSPs) globally. Lockdowns and regulatory moratoriums on loan repayments, together with a lower business activity are putting serious constraints on FSP’s liquidity positions. Early in the Covid pandemic, there was widespread concern that liquidity constraints could wipe out many of the financial institutions that serve low-income customers and small- and medium sized enterprises. Two recent reports issued by CFI/e-MFP and CGAP point to the vital importance of managing liquidity in the midst of a crisis. After all, the quickest path to failure of an FSP is running out of cash. Available liquidity should be used to retain the confidence and trust of both customers and creditors while continuing to operate and paying staff. Once stability is achieved, an FSP can start its recovery, but this cannot be achieved without retaining the confidence of customers, investors, staff, and the regulator. Scale2Save is a partnership between WSBI and the Mastercard Foundation to establish the viability of small-scale savings in six African countries. To analyse the impact of the Covid crisis on the liquidity profile of our partner FSPs, we compared the pre-crisis liquidity position at end of year 2019 with that at end of 2020 when a cautious and gradual recovery of the Covid pandemic had set in

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Author: Shams Azad and Rubait-E-Jannat
Bangladesh has recorded notable achievements in the healthcare sector in the last few decades. Reforms and a drive to develop an extensive healthcare infrastructure have led to reduced child and maternal mortality rates, increased immunisation, and progress in combating infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. All of these achievements are remarkable among south Asian nations. But still, an all-inclusive health care system is a far-reaching goal. An estimated 67% of total healthcare expenditure is met from households’ out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses, one of the highest in the South-East Asia region. Out of this OOP expenditure, 69.4% goes on medicines, exacerbated by the absence of a national health insurance system. So low-income households experience different and serious vulnerabilities during health emergencies.

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Author: Gilles Renouil - Women’s World Banking
As leaders face the enormous challenge of reviving post-pandemic economies, financial inclusion plays a key role. But how do we ensure that incentives, tools and programs specifically designed for low income populations become commercially viable in their own right, and remain financially sustainable over the long term? In last month’s blog “Five to thrive Embedding health care in financial services”, Lisa Morgan and Craig Churchill from the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted that while the need is greater than ever, it’s not easy to design and deliver financial services that can help to finance health care for vulnerable groups. We at Women’s World Banking look back at 15 years of design and implementation of innovative health insurance programs for low-income populations and confirm that yes, it is not easy. Yet, Caregiver, our flagship insurance solution, provides a meaningful, affordable and sustainable life insurance and hospital cash solution to middle- and low income women (entrepreneurs) in developing countries, proving that with discipline and commitment it can be done.

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Author: Craig Churchill - Lisa Morgan
We laud e-MFP and the other European Microfinance Award organisers for highlighting, via this year’s Award, the potential impact that financial inclusion can have on health care. This is indeed a critical issue. For low-income households and microentrepreneurs, ill health can be financially catastrophic – eroding savings, depleting working capital, causing loan repayment defaults and exacerbating indebtedness. Health related financial risks are a primary driver of impoverishment. The WHO estimates that about 150 million people around the world suffer financial catastrophe each year from out-of-pocket expenditure on health services, while 100 million people fall below the poverty line.

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