Past Projects

The initiatives teams at MMI offer pro-bono consultation to underserved microfinance institutions and work on improving the lives of underprivileged communities. Our teams work with clients in Australia, as well as travel internationally, to make an impact. Have a read about some of the projects our previous initiatives teams have undertaken.

 

South Pacific Business Development

SOUTH PACIFIC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (SPBD) was founded by Gregory Casagrande in January 2000. Dedicated to eradicating poverty by empowering underprivileged rural women, SPBD provides these women with an opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable, income generating micro-enterprises. From its origins in Samoa, SPBD has grown to a network of microfinance organisations in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Since its inception, SPBD has made almost 110,000 microloans to more than 17,000 underprivileged women. Over the next three years, SPBD has plans to reach over 40,000 loan clients and 60,000 savings clients, continuing the fight to alleviate extreme poverty.

As such, there is a need to improve its social impact assessment programme. They have found a few inherent problems in the system. Among them is a need to become more sensitive to members’ change in standards of living. Furthermore, the system must be as objective as possible, in order to allow for a more consistent collection of data. This will translate into a more reliable interpretation of data, which would properly reflect SPBD’s impact in the communities they serve. MMI is committed to assist SPBD by formulating a database for SPBD as well as testing and providing recommendations for a redesigned social impact assessment program for SPBD.

 

Project Term: March 2016 - September 2016

 

Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc.

JAIME V. ONGPIN FOUNDATION INC. (JVOFI) is a microfinance institution mainly based in Northern Luzon area of the Philippines. Its primary vision is to provide a sustainable solution to alleviate poverty through capital empowerment and a “spirit of cooperation and enterprise”. The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of targeted communities through four core programs: fund sourcing, ecological enhancement, enterprise development and internal capacity building. JVOFI seeks expansion to new regions within the Philippines.

However, they are limited by their capacity to train and promote new branch managers and officers at prospective sites. In order to do this, they realise that they need a system whereby officers can be trained successfully and promoted fairly. Currently, JVOFI’s officers’ training has not yet been formalised. They have only been using the concept of peer-to-peer training, which causes inconsistent information dissemination across the board for new officers. Additionally, JVOFI seeks an evaluation system for their staff members so that they can be promoted fairly by merits. MMI is committed in supporting JVOFI’s goal of improving its human resource capacity and capability by formalising a loan officer training program and employee evaluation system for JVOFI.

 

Project Term: March 2016 - September 2016

 

         Mentors International

MENTORS INTERNATIONAL is an MFI network from the US consisting of 7 established partnership organisations in each of the largest cities in the Philippines and in Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador and Honduras. Mentors works to provide startup support, training, operational funding and loan capital for its partner foundations. MMI has been working with Mentors International, an American microfinance institute with a $3M USD loan portfolio in Manila, Philippines (where it is known as Mentors Philippines) since June 2015.

The project is focused on two main deliverables that is to develop an innovative way to measure and prevent the socially harmful aspects of borrower over-indebtedness; and to evaluate the ways in which new technology can be integrated into the firm’s business model. Several members of our team recently travelled to Manila to conduct a pilot study, which commenced the start of our field research. There are approximately 300 surveys being compiled in Manila by Mentors International field officers, which will form the basis of our analysis.

 

Project term: June 2015 - August 2016

 

Community Finance Resource Centre

COMMUNITY FINANCE RESOURCE CENTRE (CFRC) is a technical supporting organization of the National Microfinance Network, named as M7. Members of the Network include 7 credit and savings services providers (from Northern mountainous area to the coastline of Central Vietnam), which were established and operating with the support from ActionAid since 1993 to 2003. The mandate of M7's members is provision of microfinance services to poor people and poor communities, especially women and their families, facilitating them in their economic development for improvement of their life and status. From April 2011, CFRC has been establishing its own standard microfinance branch in order to practice social microfinance and become a training center for microfinance practitioners.

As such, MMI is committed to assist CFRC in its endeavour. Specifically, to revise the credit risk scoring system and produce a more consistent and standardised method of loan appraisals. Furthermore, as CFRC is looking to diversify its product offerings in 2016, the Vietnam Initiative team will conduct background research on microfinance related products such as micro-insurance, and assess the viability (and potential impact) of micro-insurance on CFRC.

Project Term: March 2016 - September 2016