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 Action Group (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 extend on their human resources – their qualifications, their motivation and level of satisfaction. The 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 planned activities of the AG include a comprehensive survey of financial services providers worldwide aiming to map out current Human Resources practices, case studies highlighting the experience of selected FSPs in the implementation of different HRD practices and their impact on the financial performance of FSPs and the preparation of inputs to the revision of relevant dimensions of the universal standards of social performance management (USSPM), 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, the HR AG has been supported by consultant Cheryl Frankiewicz who has prepared the report ‘Human Resource Development in the microfinance sector’. 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. The AG is grateful to the 195 FSPs from 56 countries which have kindly participated in the survey and shared their experiences.

Exploring and disseminating the survey results 

Following the publication of the report, the HR AG with the support of the consultant has worked on thematic case studies based on the recommendations of the survey. In these case studies, the AG thanks the participation of the following FSPs: 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. The case studies have been shared through a series of blogs available in the resources below. 

For 2022, The HR AG will further explore the recommendations of the research. The AG in collaboration with ILO Social Finance, is organising a series of four webinars throughout September and October 2022. We are going to share the results of a survey on HRD practices and discuss the following topics with microfinance practitioners: aligning HRD and business strategy (6 September), supporting managers in their HRD role (22 September) and equal opportunities for women (25 & 26 October >> REGISTER).

- Watch the webinar recording of 'How to align the HR function and business strategy for organisational success' (6 Sept, 2022)

- Watch the webinar recording of 'Supporting managers in their HRD role' in ENGLISH / en ESPAÑOL (22 Sept, 2022) - See also the webinar Presentation & Handout

- Watch the webinar recording of 'How to Promote Gender Equality among Management and Staff in MFIs' in ENGLISH (25 Oct, 2022) 

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