Grameen Foundation Announces Initiative to Boost Microfinance Effectiveness in Africa

The Grameen Foundation has announced the launch of a two-year initiative designed to help African microfinance institutions (MFIs) better target poor clients in Mali and Senegal.

To be facilitated by the PPI Users Collaborative in Africa (PUCA), the initiative will unite five charter partners — Oikocredit, Catholic Relief Services, Terrafina Microfinance, Planet Rating, and Grameen — with national microfinance networks APIM/Mali and APSFD Senegal. PPI, the Progress out of Poverty Index, is a globally recognized poverty assessment tool that enables MFIs to understand their effectiveness in targeting poor clients and tracking their progress.

As part of the initiative, PUCA will work with three MFIs — Caurie Microfinance and U-IMCEC in Senegal and Kafo Jiginew in Mali — to implement PPI assessments and analyze the resulting data. In addition, PUCA will publish case studies documenting the MFIs' experiences in order to help other MFIs and lending networks replicate the initiative's model and will work with external groups interested in conducting independent research and data analysis.

"The 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," said Norman Buckham, Grameen Foundation regional CEO for Africa. "It 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."