Identifying and managing vulnerability
SEF works towards the elimination of poverty and unemployment by providing microfinance services to poor and very poor people
In South Africa, the Small Enterprise Foundation's (SEF) commitment to its social objectives has led it to develop a new management process that is also a practical tool to help identify the most vulnerable clients, and give them the support they need. It also means that staff are more efficient. Targeting support to the most vulnerable clients means they are more likely to succeed, which has a knock-on effect of reducing client exit and arrears, as well as time-consuming problems that cause conflict in centre meetings.
Vulnerable clients are identified through existing data provided by the management information system (MIS). They tend to be clients who have weak businesses, poor savings or poor attendance, or who have been in arrears. SEF has used these indicators reliably for many years to identify potential problems among clients, and to better target staff support.
The tool is still being developed but could provide a win-win solution for social and financial performance management. It helps field staff to focus their attention on the clients most in need of support, reducing the amount of time spent with most clients. This should lead to an overall reduction in workload, as well as allowing performance standards to be properly enforced. The end result should be improved outcomes for the most vulnerable clients.
Learn more about strengthening information systems to track your MFI's social objectives. Visit the Imp-Act SPM Resource Centre