Truelift has recognized the pro-poor performance of another financial service provider, ADRA Perú – Microfinance Portfolio (PMF). This brings to 32 the number of financial service providers recognized at the four Milestones along the Truelift Pro-Poor Pathway. What unites all the recognized institutions is their commitment to serving the needs of people living in poverty. Their degree of adherence to the three Pro-Poor Principles shows how far they have progressed along the pathway toward fully pro-poor management of their institutions.
ADRA Perú – Microfinance Portfolio (PMF) started in 1996 with initial subsidy by USAID. The PMF remains a program of ADRA Perú, a non-profit institution founded in 1965 that belongs to the ADRA International network, an organization dedicated to social and development projects that benefit people living in poverty, extreme poverty and high social risk.
In alignment with general ADRA Perú strategy, the PMF serves people living in poverty: women and men with businesses that live in marginal rural and/or urban areas and people in the agricultural sector, among others. PMF offers to members of village banks a comprehensive package of services, including five credit products, financial education, training/workshops for spiritual and psychological strengthening, discounts on health services, and life insurance (voluntary). At the end of 2017, PMF was serving 17,121 clients residing in seven departments of Perú.
Based on the results of a Truelift-licensed assessment conducted in March 2018 by MicroFinanza Rating (MFR), PMF is recognized as having reached the Achiever Milestone. Just a few pro-poor improvements would take PMF over the threshold to the Leader Milestone.
Several certification initiatives have arisen independently in response to lack of transparency and accountability regarding the social purpose of microfinance. The Smart Campaign attempts to identify providers that “do no harm” to clients by complying with the Client Protection Principles (CPP); even providers with no social objectives are included. For those with social objectives, the Social Performance Task Force has developed the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (USSPM) without being specific about the social objectives of the provider. Social rating agencies offer assessments that can certify compliance with the CPP and the USSPM. But such compliance certification does not address how well the provider is achieving its chosen social objective. There are many social objectives to choose from, and some providers pursue more than one at a time. Truelift responds to the most common objective, poverty alleviation. A Truelift assessment is a logical extension to a social rating of compliance with the CPP and the USSPM by a provider focusing on poverty alleviation. Recently, these various global initiatives have been brought together by CERISE on the social performance assessment platform SPI4. Truelift is the poverty “module” of SPI4 along with modules for other specific social objectives. These modules can be used for institutional self-assessment or by rating agencies for external assessment of an institution.
In concept and structure, the Truelift Pro-Poor Principles and the assessment process are relevant and applicable to any poverty-focused (“pro-poor”) social business or service agency, whether private or public. For additional information, please contact the co-chairs of Truelift’s Steering Committee, Chris Dunford at christopher.j.dunford at gmail.com (English and French) or Carmen Velasco at carmenvelascolmk at gmail.com (Spanish and English).