Tools & Resources Implementing Client Protection in Microfinance: State of the Practice, 2011

Implementing Client Protection in Microfinance: State of the Practice, 2011

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This report explains how the Smart Campaign and actors throughout the microfinance industry are working to move from initial awareness raising about client protection to capacity building, implementation, and finally certification. It also provides a first look at how the microfinance industry is doing on the Client Protection Principles.

"Implementing Client Protection in Microfinance: State of the Practice, 2011" is a mid-term report by the Smart Campaign, commissioned by its Steering Committee.  The report has two main purposes.  The first is to explain how the Smart Campaign and actors throughout the microfinance industry are working to move from initial awareness raising about client protection to capacity building, implementation, and finally certification. The second purpose is to provide a first look at how the microfinance industry is doing on the Client Protection Principles (CPPs). That look is based on 479 third-party assessments of client protection practices at more than 300 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in five global regions. The assessments were conducted by leading microfinance-focused investors, microfinance rating agencies, and, most recently, by the Smart Campaign itself. 

The report draws on three main types of data:

The first type is a set of specific examples of client protection practices of MFIs around the world.  These mini case studies, interspersed in boxes throughout the paper, are sourced mainly from Smart Campaign assessments, particularly examples where organizations decided to make changes based on findings during the assessment process. 

The second type involves two streams of self-reported data submitted by MFIs.

  • MIX Social Performance Reports (350 in the latest year available on the MIX, 2009). The client protection portion of the MIX social performance report is a shortened form of the Smart Campaign’s "Getting Started Questionnaire."
  • The Smart Campaign’s “Getting Started Questionnaire” (98 submitted to the Smart Campaign in 2011).  This 42-question checklist helps MFIs assess their own practices as a way to identify areas they may wish to improve.

The third type is third-party assessment data, the CPP Benchmarks 0.1.  This dataset was put together specifically for this paper, and comprises third-party on-site evaluations drawn from multiple sources.

The Smart campaign anticipates a follow-up to this report in the next one to two years.  We encourage feedback and collaboration from the industry in future reviews.  Please share your comments, experiences, challenges, etc. around implementing the CPPs by sending us an email at:
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