By Amaka Agwuegbo
The Grameen Foundation has anounced an innovative, two-year initiative that is designed to help African microfinance institutions (MFIs) better target poor clients and track how they are moving out of poverty.
The initiative, the first of its kind in Africa, is being facilitated by the PPI Users Collaborative in Africa (PUCA), a new, multi-stakeholder group that unites five charter partners – Oikocredit, Catholic Relief Services, Terrafina Microfinance, Planet Rating and Grameen Foundation – with the national microfinance networks APIM/Mali andÂ APSFD Senegal.
The Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) is a globally recognized poverty assessment tool that enables MFIs to understand their effectiveness in targeting poor clients and tracking their progress.
The initiative will work with three MFIs – Caurie Microfinance and U-IMCEC of Senegal and Kafo Jiginew of Mali – to implement the PPI and analyze its findings.
During the course of the initiative, PUCA will promote the adoption of the PPI by other MFIs across Africa and in other countries where PUCA partners are active.
â€œThe PUCA initiative is laying the foundation for the microfinance sector in Senegal and Mali to collect and use poverty assessment data in the most effective way,â€ said Norman Buckham, Grameen Foundationâ€™s regional CEO for Africa.
â€œIt also enables us to demonstrate the importance of integrating social performance into the day-to-day operations of poverty-focused institutions in Africa and, equally important, to provide them with a blueprint for doing so.â€
All three MFIs have already received training and are preparing to pilot the PPI within their organizations. As part of the project, PUCA will publish case studies documenting the MFIsâ€™ experiences which can help guide the work of other MFIs as well as networks seeking to replicate this collaborative model of poverty assessment training.
In addition, PUCA will also work with external groups interested in conducting independent research and analysis of data.
This hands-on involvement will also enable the members of PUCA to work more effectively with a broad range of poverty-focused institutions in adopting and using PPI.