The Smart Campaign: What We Were Asked at Microfinance USA

> Posted by Adriana Magdas, Communications and Events Associate

I recently had the opportunity to discuss the Smart Campaign with representatives of MFIs, support organizations, foundations, investors, and universities. The venue for these conversations was the Microfinance USA conference, which ran May 23-24 in New York City.
The conference, which served as a place for the Center to introduce the Smart Campaign to the microfinance community in the US, was organized by Opportunity Fund, ACCION USA, and Kiva.  The nation’s top practitioners, investors, and researchers took advantage of the event to discuss the future of US microfinance and to rally MFIs, investors, donors, and support organizations around the common goal of incorporating client protection across the industry.
As a conference guest on behalf of the Smart Campaign, I was interested to hear leaders from Opportunity Fund, Kiva , and ACCION International call on US microlenders to join them as Campaign endorsers and stress the importance of creating quality products that are fair and transparent.
The participants I spoke with were committed to helping the microfinance industry remain socially oriented and financially sound, and seemed to agree that strengthening client protection practices throughout the industry is a necessary step in that process.
In my conversations about the Smart Campaign, the following questions arose most often. I’ve taken the liberty of adding links that point to the best answers on the Campaign’s site:

  1. How does the Smart Campaign engage MFIs?
  2. How can clients best be educated to use financial services appropriately?
  3. What tools do MFIs have at their disposal to incorporate client protection in their practices?
  4. Are you developing a certification process for MFIs that implement the Client Protection Principles?

The standard Smart Campaign FAQ can also be helpful. More answers to these questions, together with a range of tools MFIs can use to incorporate the Client Protection Principles in their practices, can be found by visiting the Smart Campaign’s website at www.smartcampaign.org.
To date, the Smart Campaign has been endorsed by over 1,900 MFIs, support organizations, networks, associations, investors, donors, and individuals. We call on you to join them in the global effort to help the microfinance industry remain socially focused, financially sound, and client-oriented by endorsing  the Smart Campaign today.

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