Washington, D.C. Today the SEEP Network announced the launch of its Suite of Tools for Microfinance Association Professionals through support from the Citi Foundation. This suite of 15 cutting-edge tools are specifically designed to help national and regional microfinance associations fuel the growth and development of the microfinance industry in their regions. These tools were developed by SEEP's Network Development Services team in collaboration with microfinance associations around the world as a part of the Citi Network Strengthening Program.
The newly developed Suite of Tools for Microfinance Association Professionals will increase the operational capacity of national and regional associations to help the microfinance industry reach greater scale, and enhance their roles as leaders in the sector.
Pam Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation, remarked, "We are very pleased that our support of the Citi Network Strengthening Program has resulted in the creation of this robust suite of knowledge building tools that are taking lessons learned by the twelve networks participating in the program, and sharing them with microfinance associations worldwide."
"These tools offer excellent resources and learning opportunities for associations. Their practical guidance will help microfinance associations enhance their strategic approach to managing their organizations, their relationships with members, and their role as a central voice for the microfinance sector in their countries or regions," commented Francisco De Hoyos Parra, Director General, ProDesarrollo, Finanzas y Microempresa, A.C.
The new suite of tools is now available on an easy to navigate website and includes six technical notes, four toolkits, and two guides. For a brief description of the tools, click here. The 15 tools are divided into four categories:Building Strong Associations: Strengthening microfinance associations through six areas of organizational effectiveness
- Ensuring Good Governance: A Guide for Microfinance Associations
- Policy Advocacy: A Toolkit for Microfinance Associations
- Member Feedback Tool. An On-line Platform for Assessing Member Needs and Satisfaction
- Managing Your Association's Brand: The Strategic Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications
- Membership Strategies for Microfinance Associations: An Extensive Review of Practices from the Field *
- Product Costing and Performance Analysis: A Toolkit for Analyzing Associations' Service Offerings
- Strategic and Business Planning: A Guide for Microfinance Associations *
- How to Promote Industry Innovation: A Technical Note for Microfinance Associations
- Investment Readiness and Microfinance Associations: Bridging the Financing Gap
- Performing a State of the Sector Analysis: A Guide for Microfinance Associations
- Promoting Credit Bureaus: The Role of Microfinance Associations
- Training Approaches. A Technical Note for Microfinance Associations*
- Building Vibrant and Inclusive Financial Sectors: Success Indicators for Microfinance Associations
- Capacity Assessment Tool for Microfinance Associations NCAT
- Network Development Exchange
Although the microfinance industry continues to grow at a significant pace, currently serving approximately 154 million poor individuals globally, there are still 3 billion individuals earning less than $2 per day throughout the world who lack access to the financial services they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Reaching scale is one of the greatest challenges for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microenterprise support organizations because they often lack the institutional capacity required to keep up with client demand for microfinance products and services.
SEEP has identified 70+ microfinance associations active in over 80 countries, representing a client base of over 60 million microentrepreneurs. Microfinance associations serve as a crucial point of entry and leverage for affecting entire microfinance industries. Associations promote financial access through the development of vibrant and inclusive engagement of microfinance practitioners, regulators and other stakeholders. They also provide a forum for industry training and for establishing best practices, as well as issues relating to transparency and client protection, leading to the expansion of the microfinance sector as part of the wider financial sector serving the poor and underbanked. Early indicators show that work from the Citi Network Strengthening Program is resulting in a 19% growth in client outreach, 51% increase in loan portfolio, and 8% increase in membership from 2007 -2008 among these Citi networks' member MFIs.
(*) indicates tool will be released in upcoming quarter
The SEEP Network
The SEEP Network is a global network of microenterprise development practitioners. Its 80+ institutional members are active in 180 countries and reach over 60 million microentrepreneurs and their families. SEEP's mission is to connect these practitioners in a global learning environment so that they may reduce poverty through the power of enterprise. For 25 years, SEEP has engaged with practitioners from all over the globe to discuss challenges and innovative approaches to microenterprise development. As a member-driven organization, our members drive our agenda while SEEP provides the neutral platform to share their experiences and engage in new learning on innovative practices.
The Citi Network Strengthening Program
The Citi Network Strengthening Program is an $11.2 million grant program launched in 2007 in collaboration with The SEEP Network and assistance from local employees of Citi and its affiliates (Citi) around the world. The mission of the Citi Network Strengthening Program, the largest global grant program to be implemented in support of the Citi Foundation's microfinance strategy, is to increase the capacity and scale of the microfinance sector by strengthening the operational, technical, and financial capacity of twelve national and regional microfinance networks, addressing the challenges which the sector is facing and promoting growth and development in the sector.
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