ILO, Social Finance programme

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Organisation general information
Organisation name: 
International Labour Organisation Social Finance programme
Founding year: 
Total number of staff: 
2 700
Resources dedicated to microfinance: 
Percentage of microfinance activities: 
Between 0 and 20%
Type of organisation: 
Non profit
International multi lateral organisation, United Nations specialised agency
Organisation's contact person
Contact person: 
Mr. Craig Churchill
4 route des Morillons
CH 1211
+41 (22) 799 6242
+41 (22) 799 6896
Organisation summary

The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

The ILO's Social Finance Programme supports efforts to extend financial services to excluded persons by addressing two main goals:

1. The promotion of better employment
2. A reduction in the vulnerability of the working poor

Type of intervention: 
  • Subsidies / donations in money
  • Subsidies in staff time (e.g. technical assistance/capacity building, evaluation)
  • Subsidies in staff time (e.g. research / information dissemination)
  • Subsidies in staff time (e.g. policy advice / development / lobby)
Countries of intervention: 
North America
South America
Areas of intervention: 
  • Macro level: Supervision, Client protection, Capacity building (focused on all MFIs)
  • Intermediate level: Community-based finance solutions, Rural finance, Value chain development, Post-conflict/disaster microfinance, Business development services, Social impact/performance, Environmental microfinance, Urban finance, Gender, Youth, Health, HIV/AIDS, Ultra poor programs
  • Micro level: Financial product development and innovation, Energy products, or other products related to environmental issues, Performance (financial and social), Strategic planning, Risk management
  • Other themes: Academic research, Impact and performances studies, Sector mapping
Main competences: 

The ILO has been instrumental in promoting the idea that financial services can achieve social objectives, and perhaps one of the most effective means is for financial services to be supplemented or complemented with non-financial services to increase their impact.

We have also been a strong advocate for the microfinance community to consider not just the productivity role of financial services, but also the protective role to help the working poor to manage risks more effectively. This is why we have been focusing considerably energy and resources in better understanding how insurance services can be extended to the low-income market, and analysing the extent to which the working poor can benefit from insurance.

The ILO's "Making Microfinance Work" training is highly acclaimed programme to build the capacity of middle managers and support the development of product diversification.

Please indicate any innovations in your microfinance program planned for the coming year: 

We will continue our work to disseminate the results of innovation projects such as the microfinance for decent work action research, social audit methodology for impact investment in agriculture,  and on impact insurance, through our Impact Insurance Facility.

We are also looking forward to strengthening the outreach of our training programmes in financial education, impact insurance, capacity building of microfinance providers and funders.