Working Groups

2014-2015 WORKING GROUPS


Outcomes Working Group
Facilitator: Frances Sinha, Director EDA Rural Systems (India) and SPTF Board Member.
MissionDevelop practical guidelines for credible measurement of outcomes, drawing on experience with different approaches and tools.
Members: Open to all. 

The first webinar is offered on two dates to accommodate participants in the east and west: 14 October (New York) and 21 October (Philippines).

14 October 2014 Meeting - Introductory Session:
PowerPoint Presentation
Recording
Minutes

21 October 2014 Meeting - Introductory Session:
PowerPoint Presentation
Recording
Minutes

2013-2014 WORKING GROUPS
SPTF is running five working groups in 2013-14 and providing administrative and content support to four others.  Summary descriptions of working group activities are below.  For further information or to join a group, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WORKING GROUPS RUN BY SPTF:

1. Responsible Inclusive Finance (RIF) Working Group

  • Facilitator:  Katie Hoffmann, SPTF
  • Members:  The group includes representatives from SPTF, Smart Campaign, MFTransparency, MIX, CERISE, TrueLift, the Rating Initiative, Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance (PIIF), the Microfinance CEO Working Group, the SP Fund for Networks, Grameen Foundation and the four specialized microfinance rating agencies.
  • Mission:  The RIF Working Group seeks to do the following:
    • To define a common vision of responsible inclusive finance,
    • To deepen practice in responsible finance, particularly though client protection and social performance management,
    • To clarify each initiative’s role, and
    • To identify ways the initiatives can collaborate to achieve greater impact.
  • Outcomes: The RIF Working Group has met bimonthly since its formation in 2013, and it has continually integrated other industry actors into the group. To date, the group has focused on various activities to streamline efforts in responsible inclusive finance, including:
  1. Creating Industry mappings. The group created industry mappings of global networks, funders, client outcomes and technical assistance, which have helped identify duplicative efforts and gaps in existing RIF infrastructure.
  2. Coordinating on tools. RIF initiatives have continually coordinated on the development of tools. For example, several RIF initiatives were involved in the Expert Panel of the SPI4 and provided feedback on the tool during RIF calls. With that coordination, the tool now includes the Universal Standards, the Client Protection Principles, Truelift and PPI. Additionally, users will be able to generate reports directly from SPI4 to MIX, which will reducing the reporting burden on MFIs
  3. Coordinating on standards. Many of our standards and tools have become very intertwined, which makes it easier MFIs to comply with them. For example, the Client Protection Principles are entirely integrated into the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management, and both are included in the SPI4.This has made it increasingly important to make sure initiatives coordinate when they update standards. Initiatives have committed to eventually aligning timelines for updating standards, and are discussing a timeline for when that would happen.
  4. Coordinating on messaging. The RIF Working Group has aimed to reduce confusion among MFIs about the role of each of the initiatives and how MFIs can improve practice. This has included:  
      • Defining Responsible Inclusive Finance. The group agreed that Responsible Inclusive Finance “is the provision of financial services in a way that targets excluded people, protects the interests of clients, and protects the mission and sustainability of the institution.”
      • Creating a joint framework to improve practice. To help clarify how the initiatives complement each other, the group developed a joint framework for MFIs to improve practice in responsible inclusive finance. The framework outlines the path to improve practice in five steps – Learn, Assess, Plan, Implement and Demonstrate – and details the resources and tools available to MFIs at each stage. 
      • Using joint presentations. The group has presented the joint framework at six conferences since October. Jointly presenting helps educate MFIs and other microfinance stakeholders about the resources and tools available to improve practice in responsible inclusive finance, as well as gage the current level of knowledge about each of the initiatives. Jointly presenting also represent areas an important step for coordination, as not all initiatives have to be present for their messaging to be delivered.
  5. Coordinating on capacity building. Our initiatives have fine-tuned our standards, resources and tools to help MFIs improve practice, as well as created a framework to explain how these tools fit together on the path to responsible inclusive finance. Now, we want to help as many MFIs onto and along the pathway to responsible inclusive finance. To do that, we are coordinating to jointly build the capacity of local consultants on the full spectrum of RIF initiatives. various trainings. We are also developing a one-day joint RIF Introductory Trainings, which we will deliver at upcoming conferences and workshops. 

2. Indicators Working Group for the Universal Standards for SPM

  • Facilitator:  Cara Forster, SPTF
  • Activities:  A selected group of active SPTF members with expertise in developing and working with indicators will continue the preliminary work done in 2012-13 to build indicators for the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management.  This group will include representatives of Smart, the MIX, and the Social Investor sub-working group ALINUS (see below for further information on these working groups) to incorporate and align with the work of these groups.
  • Work Products: The Indicators Working Group (IWG) was formed in October 2012 to evaluate existing indicators in the industry related to social performance and match these to the relevant Essential Practices within the USSPM.  Where no indicators were available, the IWG worked together for a year to develop appropriate indicators for those Essential Practices for which no indicators existed. The IWG pursued a very consultative process for the development and refinement of the indicators for the USSPM.  In the months leading up to the 2013 Annual Meeting in Panama, draft indicators produced within the IWG were reviewed by rating agency staff, the MIX, ALINUS, the Board and staff of SPTF, and the SPTF members during a two week public comment period in May 2013.  At the 2013 SPTF Annual Meeting, SPTF released a draft indicators document that represented the synthesis of the IWG's work, for comment and review.  During the summer of 2013 three more public comment periods were held in English, French, and Spanish.
  • Transfer of indicators to CERISE for the SPI tool: In October 2013, the complete set of indicators was transferred to CERISE to assist with the creation of a social audit tool that will contain all the indicators necessary to evaluate an MFI’s adherence to the USSPM.  Selected members of the IWG formed an expert panel to advise CERISE during their effort to mold the complete set of indicators into a formal assessment tool.  This expert panel had its first meeting in Paris, France in October 2013.  Thereafter, the expert panel met monthly with CERISE to provide assistance and guidance on the creation of the SPI4 tool.  A beta version of the SPI4 was released in February 2014 and is currently being pilot tested by financial institutions around the world.  The goals of the SPI 4 are 1) to serve as a tool that MFIs can use for self-assessment of their implementation of the USSPM, 2) to help MFIs monitor and report on their social performance and level of adherence to the USSPM, and 3) to reduce MFIs’ reporting burden by facilitating the creation of a standard set of indicators for social performance that will be used by all relevant stakeholders.

    Click here to download the SPI 4.

3. Social investors 

  • Overall facilitator: Laura Foose (SPTF).  Facilitator of the Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance (PIIF) sub-working group: Karin Malmberg (UNPRI).  Facilitator of Reasonable Covenants sub-working group: Dina Pons (Incofin IM).  Facilitators of Aligning Investor Due Diligence and Monitoring Practices with USSPM (ALINUS) sub-working group: Christophe Bochatay (Triple Jump) and Jurgen Hammer (Credit Agricole).  Facilitators of AVOID Overindebtedness sub-working group: Lisa Sherk (Blue Orchard) and Caroline Vance (Deutsche Bank).
  • Members: All social investors are invited to the working group.
  • Mission: This group will explore good practices related to investment for social as well as financial outcomes and also promote social investment.  The Social Investor Working Group holds two meetings a year – one in February and one in June in connection with the SPTF annual meeting. The purpose is to build momentum around the activities of the working group, increase the numbers of investors engaged in social investing, and share learning.

  • Materials from SPTF Social Investor meeting - June 2014, Dakar

5. Balance Financial and Social Performance 

  • Facilitator: Tony Sheldon (SPTF).
  • Members: All members of the SPTF are invited to join.  We will also extend personal invites to people with expertise in the subject matter.
  • Mission: This SPTF multi-stakeholder working group began working in 2011 and was instrumental in the development of Section 6 of the Universal Standards.  In 2013-14, this group will analyze feedback on implementation of the practices in Section 6, as well as discuss emerging lessons from the field on balancing financial and social returns. The group will also host targeted conversations and dialogue on timely issues to help advance the discourse on balanced returns.

 

WORKING GROUPS BACKSTOPPED BY SPTF

The SPTF Secretariat will participate in the remaining four working groups and support them as requested, meaning that SPTF will make its online meeting platform available to the groups and will offer administrative support such as managing group membership lists, emailing out meeting invitations, etc. However management of these groups is entirely autonomous from the SPTF, meaning groups set their own priorities and meeting agendas, and have external leadership:

1. Gender

  • Facilitator: Jaclyn Berfond, Women’s World Banking
  • Designated SPTF Working Group Participant: Cara Forster
  • Mission: This group will bring a gender lens to debates about various initiatives, ways to address challenges, and good practice within microfinance.  The group is debating whether to shift its focus in the upcoming two years to identifying practices that seem to lead to certain gender outcomes.

2. Green Performance Working Group

3. Microfinance CEO Working Group

  • Facilitator: Anne Hastings
  • Designated SPTF working group participant: Amelia Greenberg
  • Mission: The Microfinance CEO Working Group is still debating its future agenda but will definitely continue to be active. It is confirmed, however, that SPTF will be conducting a blog series with the group on Universal Standards implementation. (NB: In 2012-13, this working group conducted what it called “beta testing” of the Universal Standards with a total of 21 MFIs.  The group tested several different ways of introducing the Universal Standards to MFIs, informally assessing their current level of implementation of essential practices, and in some cases also building action plans to increase the level of implementation.)

 

4. Truelift (formerly, Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence) 

  • Facilitators: JD Bergeron and Bridget Dougherty (Seal of Excellence)
  • On Steering Committee of Truelift: Laura Foose
  • Mission: This working group will share information with and solicit input from the broader microfinance community about the ongoing activities of Truelift.

 

 

2012-13 WORKING GROUPS
SPTF ran four working groups in 2012-13 and provided administrative and content support to five others.  Summary descriptions of working group activities are below.  For further information or to join a group, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

WORKING GROUPS RUN BY SPTF:

    1. Balance Financial and Social Performance (BFSP) Working Group
      • Facilitator: Tony Sheldon, Advisor to SPTF
      • Activities: This SPTF multi-stakeholder working group began working in 2011 and was instrumental in the development of Section 6 of the Universal Standards.  In 2012-13, this group will continue to convene periodically to explore further our industry understanding of essential practices for balancing financial and social performance. The BFSP group will also coordinate its efforts with the Social Investor PIIF sub-working group on balanced returns.  All Task Force members are welcome to join.
      • Meetings:
    2. Emerging Practices Working Group
      • Facilitator:  Amelia Greenberg, SPTF.  Outreach to Latin America facilitated by Cara Forster, SPTF.
      • Activities:  This group will serve two primary functions: 1) identify and share new research relevant to social performance, and 2) assemble and document experiences of various stakeholders and working groups related to implementation of the essential practices listed in the Universal Standards document.  SPTF will use this information both to communicate learning from the field to other Task Force members and to inform the next review of the Universal Standards document.  All Task Force members are welcome to join.
         
    3. Indicators Working Group for the Universal Standards for SPM
      • Facilitator:  Cara Forster, SPTF
      • Activities:  A selected group of active SPTF members with expertise in developing and working with indicators will continue the preliminary work done in 2011-12 to build indicators for the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management.  This group will include representatives of both the MIX and the Social Investor sub-working group ALINUS (see below for further information on these working groups) to incorporate and align with the work of these groups.
      • Work Products: The Indicators Working Group (IWG) was formed in October 2012 to evaluate existing indicators in the industry related to social performance and match these to the relevant Essential Practices within the USSPM.  Where no indicators were available, the IWG worked together over eight months to develop appropriate indicators for those Essential Practices for which no indicators existed. The IWG has pursued a very consultative process for the development and refinement of the indicators for the USSPM.  In the months leading up to the 2013 Annual Meeting in Panama, draft indicators produced within the IWG were reviewed by rating agency staff, the MIX, ALINUS, the Board and staff of SPTF, and the SPTF members during a two week public comment period in May 2013.  The following indicators document is the synthesis of this participatory process and represents the best possible industry consensus to date on a comprehensive set of indicators to measure SPM.  These indicators are not final, as they will continued to be reviewed by experts and the SPTF members during the rest of 2013 in order to refine them further and reduce their number, if possible.  The goals of this work are 1) to serve as a tool for MFIs’ self-assessment of their implementation of the USSPM, and 2) to eventually reduce MFIs’ reporting burden by facilitating the creation of a standard SPM assessment tool for the industry.
    4. Responsible Inclusive Finance (RIF) Working Group
      • Facilitator:  Tony Sheldon, SPTF
      • Members:  The group includes representatives from SPTF, Smart Campaign, MFTransparency, MIX, CERISE, TrueLift, the Rating Initiative, Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance (PIIF), the Microfinance CEO Working Group, and the SP Fund for Networks.
      • Mission:  The RIF Working Group seeks to do the following:
        • to define a common vision of responsible inclusive finance,
        • to deepen practice in responsible finance, particularly though client protection and social performance management,
        • to clarify each initiative’s role, and
        • to identify ways the initiatives can collaborate to achieve greater impact.
      • Activities:  The RIF Working Group formed in January 2013 and meets on a regular basis.  During the next six to twelve months, the group will undertake various activities to streamline efforts in responsible inclusive finance:
        • The group will map the industry’s client outcomes and client-focused activities, helping to document the value of various initiatives and note any gaps in necessary infrastructure.
        • Given that the group considers MIX, network associations, and specialized raters as instrumental to advancing responsible finance, it also will work to determine what kind of funding is needed to support these partners.
        • The SPTF, MIX, CERISE, investors, and raters plan to produce a streamlined tool of financial and social performance indicators, aiming to produce a “common data collection tool.”
        • The group will develop a common language to harmonize communication regarding responsible inclusive finance and provide a more coordinated dialogue around the questions of pricing and balanced returns in microfinance.
      • Meeting Minutes:

 

WORKING GROUPS BACKSTOPPED BY SPTF:
The SPTF Secretariat will backstop the following five working groups, meaning it will allow these groups to use its technological platform, participate in the group discussions, and provide some organizational support.  These groups, however, are entirely autonomous and have leadership external to SPTF.

    1. SEEP Social Performance Working Group (SPWG) for Networks
      • Facilitator: Katherine Oglietti, SEEP, is global facilitator.  Ms. Oglietti oversees the work of five regional facilitators: Mehr Shah – Asia; Davy-Serge Azakpame – Africa; Kinga Dabrowska – EECA; Kenlor Howells – LAC; and Nancy Samy – MENA.
      • SPTF Secretariat member backstopping group: Amelia Greenberg
      • Activities: This group provides a platform for information exchange and support for networks and associations wishing to promote and implement social performance and social performance management.  One area of focus in 2012-13 for many regions will be building awareness and buy-in for the Universal Standards in each region.
      • Meeting Notes:
    2. Gender Working Group
      • Facilitator: Jaclyn Berfond, Women’s World Banking
      • SPTF Secretariat member backstopping group: Amelia Greenberg
      • Activities: This group will bring a gender lens to debates about various initiatives, ways to address challenges, and good practice within microfinance.
      • Meeting Notes:
    3. Green Microfinance Working Group
      • Facilitators: Geert Jan Schuite, TriodosFacet, and Leo Soldaat, Hivos
      • SPTF Secretariat member backstopping group: Amelia Greenberg
      • Activities: This group will promote triple bottom line microfinance and share good practice regarding responsibility to the environment.
      • Meeting Materials:
    4. Seal of Excellence for Poverty Outreach and Transformation Working Group
      • Facilitators: JD Bergeron and Bridget Dougherty, Seal of Excellence
      • SPTF Secretariat member backstopping group: Amelia Greenberg
      • Activities: This working group will share information with the broader microfinance community about ongoing developments with the Seal of Excellence initiative.
      • Brief on the Seal of Excellence
    5. Social Investors Working Group.   
      This group explores good practices related to investment for social as well as financial outcomes.  Laura Foose provides the backstopping work from SPTF.  In 2012-13, it will operate via four sub-working groups:
      1. Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance (PIIF)
      2. Reasonable Covenants
      3. Aligning Investor Due Diligence and Monitoring Practices with USSPM (ALINUS)
        • Co-facilitators: Christophe Bochatay,Triple Jump and Jurgen Hammer, Credit Agricole
        • Meeting minutes:
      4. Overindebtedness

Investor Events:

December 2012 update for investors:  Below are the most recent versions of the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management communications documents, some of which are tailored for MIVs and investors.  At the investor meeting that took place at the SPTF annual meeting in Jordan in June 2012, we were asked to produce ‘straightforward’ ‘digestible’ communications documents related to the Universal Standards that you could use within your organizations to explain the Universal Standards as well as externally with clients and investees.  Thanks to funding from the Ford Foundation, SPTF hired Hattaway Communications to assist with the following communications work in Q4 2012:

      1. Investor Interviews. To inform our messages and strategy for communications, Hattaway interviewed 12 strategically selected individuals from the investor community—four each from MIVs, institutional investors and banks. They provided valuable insights and ideas for the most effective language, materials and outreach activities.
      2. Message Manual.  The interviews informed the development of ‘motivating messages’ designed to raise interest among this stakeholder group. Hattaway produced a Message Manual with content, guidelines and tips for champions to be effective messengers within their institutions and networks. We are interested in your feedback to this manual. We are in the process of conducting interviews now with MFIs and national networks to produce manuals for those stakeholders as well, and can share those with you if you are interested.
      3. USSPM Handout. To help investors spread the word, Hattaway also produced a two-sided flyer about the USSPM that can be distributed within your organization and to your clients.  The handout is available on our website in multiple languages.  
      4. Standards Manual.  Hattaway transformed the 25-page USSPM document into a user-friendly Standards Manual that guides users through the standards and practices.  This is also available on our website in multiple languages. 
      5. PowerPoint Presentation. A PowerPoint presentation was designed to help investors present the Standards to their colleagues. Hattaway used quotes from investors to create a persuasive and visually engaging presentation, with a script that can be adapted. This ppt will be finalized soon - we are waiting for confirmation from two MIVs to attribute their names to the quotes on slides 8 and 9. 

We are interested in your feedback about any/all of these materials and hope that you find them useful in your work.

 

2011-12 WORKING GROUPS
In 2011-12, SPTF ran or backstopped several working groups.  Minutes from those working group meetings are available below for download:

 

  1. Universal Standards for SPM Working Groups
  2. Social Investors Working Group
  3. Social Performance Working Group (SPWG) for Networks
    • Please see the SPWG page on the SEEP website for further details.
  4. Good Practices in Social Performance Management
  5. Gender