The Social Performance (SP) Start-up Fund for Networks, an initiative aimed at increasing the implementation and transparency of SP processes and tools by microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently initiated a call for proposals from national microfinance associations from Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa for projects aiming to support SP activities. SP is the effective translation into practice of an MFI’s mission to improve the well-being of its clients. SP management is an approach designed to help MFIs collect and use information to adapt and improve the organizations’ products and institutional systems to support their social missions.
National-level microfinance networks can apply for up to USD 50,000 from the SP Start-up Fund for Networks for projects that will be carried out during a period of up to one year in duration. Funded activities may include: analyzing MFIs’ missions and developing social objectives; raising awareness about SP though educational and networking opportunities; and building the capacity of network staff and local consultants in the fundamentals of Social Performance Standards Reporting as developed by the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), an initiative to define social performance and address questions about measuring and managing social performance. Social Performance Standards Reporting is facilitated by Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), the US-based nonprofit data provider. The SP Start-up Fund for Networks is funded by the US-based Ford Foundation and implemented by Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States, which is based in Poland.
Submissions of draft proposals for a courtesy review must be made by July 8, 2011, and final applications are due July 29, 2011. Funding decisions are expected to be announced September 2, 2011.
By Carol Kim, Research Associate
About Social Performance Task Force (SPTF): SPTF was created in 2005 as an initiative of US-based CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), Swiss-based Argidius Foundation and US-based Ford Foundation. As of February 2011, SPTF consists of approximately 850 representatives from microfinance stakeholder groups including practitioners, donors and investors (multilateral, bilateral and private), national and regional networks, technical assistance providers, rating agencies, academics, researchers and others. It has been charged with clearly defining social performance and addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance. According to SPTF, social performance includes operating “in line with accepted social values that relate to serving larger numbers of poor and excluded people.”
About Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States: Based in Poland, the Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States is an international network of approximately 110 microfinance institutions (MFIs) that aims to promote a socially oriented and sustainable microfinance sector. Its services include knowledge management, advocacy, research, development and assistance with technical services.
Sources and Additional Resources:
Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central Eastern Europe and New Independent States: http://www.mfc.org.pl/application.html
MicroCapital.org: “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Habitat for Humanity, Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States Establish “Shelter Innovation Center” to Address Housing Needs in Europe, Central Asia”, June 10, 2011, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-habitat-for-humanity-microfinance-centre-mfc-for-central-and-eastern-europe-and-the-new-independent-states-establish-%E2%80%9Cshelter-innovation-center%E2%80%9D-to-address-housi/
MicroCapital.org: MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroSave Launches Social Performance Management (SPM) Toolkit for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), April 26, 2011, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-microsave-launches-social-performance-management-spm-toolkit-for-microfinance-institutions-mfis/
MicroCapital.org: “MICROFINANCE EVENT: 14th Annual Microfinance Centre (MFC) Conference, “Reorienting Microfinance Towards Balanced Growth”, May 18 – 20, 2011, in Prague, Czech Republic”, March 7, 2011, http://www.microcapital.org/microfinance-event-14th-annual-microfinance-centre-mfc-conference-%E2%80%9Creorienting-microfinance-towards-balanced-growth%E2%80%9D-may-18-%E2%80%93-20-2011-in-prague-czech-republic/
MicroCapital’s Universe Profile: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Social+Performance+Task+Force
MicroCapital’s Universe Profile: Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States, http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Microfinance+Centre+for+Central+and+Eastern+Europe+and+the+New+Independent+States
Browse the MicroCapital Universe and add your entry to the wiki at http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/