The e-MFP Human Resources Action Group gathers together financial inclusion professionals with experience in human resources and activities related to human resources development (HRD) for financial service providers (FSPs) in developing countries. Its members include ILO, ADG, SPTF, ADA, MFC, Triple Jump and Incofin. 

The objective of the HR AG is to promote Human Resources as an integral part of good business practices in FSPs. These commonly have a large customer base – and many employees. The institutions' success and financial performance depends to a large extent on their human resources – their qualifications, their motivation and level of satisfaction. The HR AG contributes in landscaping current HR functions and sharing experience on human resources practises carried out in a strategic and sustainable way to create maximum impact on financial and social performance. 

The activities of the HR AG include a comprehensive survey of financial services providers worldwide whichmaps current Human Resources practices, case studies and webinars highlighting the experience of selected FSPs in the implementation of different HRD practices, and the preparation of inputs to the revision of relevant dimensions of the universal standards of social and environmental performance management (USSEPM), existing due diligence guidelines, and other financial inclusion and HRD-related standards.

Survey on current HRD practices in FSPs

The survey is an important tool to update the state of HR practices in the sector by assessing how far institutions use HRD as a strategic instrument for managing social and financial performance and filtering out good practices as well as gaps in HR practices. It was designed to allow participant institutions to understand their current state of HR practice and gain insight into alternative approaches that contribute to social and financial performance. You can watch a video about the initiative here

In the design, implementation and data analysis of the survey, the HR AG was supported by consultant Cheryl Frankiewicz who prepared the report ‘Human Resource Development in the microfinance sector’ (see resources below). The report summarises the survey results providing an opportunity for MFIs to assess and reflect on their current HR practices and benchmark their practices with those of the sector.

Exploring and disseminating the survey results 

Following the publication of the report, the HR AG invested in disseminating the results and recommendations of the report, discussing these recommendations with FSPs and other stakeholders, and giving voice to those in the field who shared their experiences and good HR practices being implemented.

During 2021,  consultant Cheryl Frankiewicz worked with seven FSPs, namely ASKI (Philippines), Bank Arvand Tajikistan, Buusaa Gonofaa (Ethiopia), Crystal (Georgia), FINCA Guatemala, Mutuelle pour le Développement à la Base (MDB) Benin, and Vision Fund Guatemala, to develop thematic case studies based on the recommendations of the survey. These case studies have been shared through a series of 5 blogs available in the resources below.

In 2022, in collaboration with ILO’s Social Finance and the support of consultant Cara Forster, the HR AG organised  a series of four webinars to promote the results of the report and exchange with practitioners on specific topics. On 6 September, ADG led a webinar on ‘Aligning HR practices with business strategy’ with the participation of Baobab Madagascar and Crystal (Georgia); on 22 September, ILO’s webinar focused on ‘Supporting managers in their HR role’, with the voices from the field being brought by Al Majmoua (Lebanon), ASKI (Philippines) and FUBODE IFD (Bolivia); and on 25 October and 26 October, SPTF led two webinars on ‘How to Promote Gender Equality among Management and Staff in MFIs’, one in English and the second in Spanish which counted with the participation of CoreWoman and The Friendship Bridge (Guatemala). The key learnings of these webinars were summarised and are available together with the recordings of the sessions in the resources below.

The HR AG is grateful to the 195 FSPs from 56 countries which have kindly participated in the survey and to the FSPs that were willing to share their experiences through the thematic cases and webinars.


2022 webinar series:

# 4  ‘Cómo Promover la Igualdad de Género en la Gerencia y el Personal de las IMFs' en ESPAÑOL, 26 October 2022
        Recording, Presentación, Presentación FB
        Brief 4 (Español)

# 3 'How to Promote Gender Equality among Management and Staff in MFIs' in ENGLISH, 25 October 2022
       Recording, Presentation, Presentation FB
       Brief 3

#2 'Supporting managers in their HRD role' , 22 September 2022
      Recordings ENGLISH /ESPAÑOL
      Brief 2

#1 'How to align the HR function and business strategy for organisational success', 6 September 2022
      Recording, Presentation, Handout
      Brief 1

2021 Blog series

# 5 From talent management to strategic HR, 2 February 2022

# 4 "We want our leaders to create other leaders": Supporting managers in their HRD role, 20 December 2021

# 3.2 "We know why they leave, but we don't know why they stay": What MFIs have learned about engaging employees, part 2, 12 November 2021

# 3.1 "We know why they leave, but we don't know why they stay": What MFIs have learned about engaging employees, part 1, 5 November 2021

# 2 Is HRD worth it? How seven MFIs are measuring the cost-effectiveness of their HR investments, 28 October 2021

# 1 More than just a 'seat at the table': How seven MFIs are aligning human resource development and business strategy, 22 October 2021

EMW Sessions

EMW 2021 panel session: Responsible Human Resource Development, 19 November 2021

Report on HRD Practices

'Human Resource Development Practices in the Microfinance Sector', August 2021

Action Group Heads

Patricia Richter, ILO

Patricia Richter is Senior Technical Officer Social Finance at ILO. A development finance professional with over fifteen years of experience, her expertise covers the areas of social performance, impact measurement, rural finance, and risk management with a regional focus on Africa and Asia & Pacific. She has authored a number of publications on social and environmental management systems  with a focus on development finance institutions as well as on innovative finance . She also serves on the Technical Review Committee of the Social Performance Task Force,  a position she has held since 2015. Patricia holds a PhD in economics and an M.A. in intercultural management and business administration. 

Abbad El-Rayyes, ADG

Mr. El-Rayyes has extensive experience in the development of financial sectors in Southeastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa. He holds a master’s degree in International Studies from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva and supervises international projects implemented by the Academy of German Cooperatives (ADG) in the fields of SME finance and human resource development/management, designing and implementing trainings for those projects. He provided consultancy to design HR policies and HR procedures of microfinance institutions, particularly focussing on recruitment and on-boarding processes as well as performance management practices.

Dr. Elisabeth Niendorf, ADG

Dr. Elisabeth Niendorf has extensive experience in international technical cooperation projects. As a Project Manager for ADG International at the Academy of German Cooperatives (ADG), she designs, develops and implements capacity building programs and manages financial sector projects focussing on human resource development/management and training. Her research interest focuses on topics such as social entrepreneurship including the development and scaling up of innovative sustainable social business models, leadership challenges in hybrid organisations and the role of microfinance in SME promotion and poverty reduction. Ms. Niendorf has lived and worked abroad for more than three years in countries such as Angola, Argentina, Egypt, India and Poland.


Joana Afonso

Photo credit: Michal Parzuchowski on