Managing Social Performance to Achieve our Mission
Social Performance. In microfinance, you hear this term quite a bit these days. From the SMART Campaign, the Social Performance Task Force, Truelift [truelift.org] and social rating agencies like Planet Rating. There’s a reason why social performance is so important to these groups – and Adelante is no exception.
Why does social performance matter? Adelante has a social mission to improve the standard of living of the poorest of the poor women and their families in rural Honduras, primarily through microfinance and education.
While the operational self-sustainability that we have achieved is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story. By integrating social performance data and policies into the framework of our organization and daily operations, we are able to monitor and adapt our program in order to effectively reach this social mission.
Adelante Credit Officer Carla helps guide a client through a task during a lesson on calculating business expenses.
What do we collect? Adelante has been carrying out the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) developed by the Grameen Foundation since 2011. Last year, we began using this survey with all entering clients to collect baseline data of the conditions in which women are living before they receive their first micro-loan. This year, we are conducting a follow-up with a representative sample of these new clients to see where they stand compared to last year, which we will do again in 2015.
Now, through our participation with the Social Performance Task Force via REDMICROH Adelante has developed a set of social performance indicators beyond the data collected through the PPI. This initiative allows us to measure the quality of various aspects of our operations including the Education Program and the Home Improvement Loan.
How do we use the data? Oftentimes when I’ve brought donors out into the field, I’ve had to rely on anecdotal evidence or very general statistics to explain how Adelante’s program works. Once the 2013 data is ready, Adelante will be able to more effectively communicate to our partners and supporters the way clients’ lives change as they work with us and invest in their businesses.
Most importantly however, is what we learn from the results and how we use these findings. As I presented our current social performance plan to the branch office supervisors earlier this year, I could see their eyes light up as they began to understand how they would be able to use the information to strengthen their own team. They were eager to know what we were doing well in so far, and in what areas they could motivate their teams to improve.
As we strengthen our social performance management efforts, Adelante is working toward the larger goal of more effectively fulfilling our mission.