My First Steps with the Smart Campaign

> Posted by Aditya Mohan
In an effort to assist investors, networks and rating agencies in assessing the implementation of the Client Protection Principles (CPPs) at associate microfinance institutions, the Smart Campaign recently conducted a Smart Assessor Training in New Delhi. The training was conducted as part of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – Smart Campaign Partnership in India and was led by Hema Bansal and Amit Gupta from the India Smart Campaign Team.
I only very recently joined the Smart Campaign team in India, and personally, to attend this training in my very second week with the Campaign was a godsend, as it provided me with a wonderfully nuanced introduction to the CPPs and Smart Assessment procedures. I got to learn about the end-to-end process of conducting an assessment – from establishing contact with an organization to interviewing staff to scoring an institution on client protection principles and report writing. Without this training, it would have been much harder to come up to speed only through observation of a live example. The attention to detail at the training was amazing, and a reflection of the standards maintained by the Campaign. As conducting assessments is now one of my key responsibilities, I am confident of being able to hit the ground running with my very first assessment.
The course in New Delhi was designed to help participants apply the knowledge, skills and techniques needed to conduct a Smart Assessment. By the end of the course each participant had carried out a shortened and simplified assessment of a sample MFI.
All of us on the Smart Campaign team were overwhelmed with the level of interest the training generated. The training had 21 participants representing different investment funds and networks such as Grassroots Capital, IFC, Caspian Advisors, IFMR Capital, SIDBI and Incofin, Sa-Dhan, Ananya and Intellecash. Consulting organizations, rating agencies, and non-profits also participated in this training, including M-CRIL, EDA, MicroSave, IFMR Foundation and the Accion China office.
The diversity of backgrounds combined with a dialogue based training format elicited enthusiastic and active participation. Thus the group could collectively benefit from the individual experiences of each participant. As one of the participants, Veena Yamini, from MicroSave, said of the training: “It was really good. I haven’t attended such an interactive training in a long time!” Another participant, Pravir Jha, from M-CRIL said, “I really liked the way the training was presented to us and all our doubts were addressed”.
In training these microfinance practitioners in client protection, the Smart Campaign, envisions developing a pool of independent ‘Smart Assessors’ whose expertise can be utilized by various stakeholders to conduct Client Protection Assessments in the future. The training in New Delhi was only the first step towards certifying participants as Smart Assessors, and simultaneously was a great first step for me as I start my work with the Smart Campaign.
Have you read?
The Smart Campaign Publishes Example ‘Codes of Ethics’ from MFIs around the World
A First Look at How 300 MFIs Measure Up on Client Protection
IFC to Finance the Smart Campaign’s Microfinance Client Protection Initiatives in India