Ujjivan Joins as First Partner in SMPIP

November 5, 2009 Posted by Press Release

India’s Ujjivan Announced as First MFI Partner for Unitus’s Social Performance Management Implementation Project

Partnership provides expertise, resources necessary to integrate SPM tools into Ujjivan operations

BANGALORE & SEATTLE, 5 November 2009 — In its continuing efforts to improve the effectiveness of life-changing microfinance services, Unitus Labs. is proud to announce that India’s Ujjivan has been selected as the first microfinance institution (MFI) to participate in the recently launched, innovative Social Performance Management Implementation Project (SPM IP).

“In partnering with Unitus on this project, Ujjivan is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to understanding how its microfinance services improve the lives of its clients and to increasing the effectiveness of those services,” said Mr. Richard Wardell, Unitus VP of Global Programs.

Social performance management (SPM) is an institutionalized process that involves setting clear social objectives (e.g., improved quality of housing, healthcare), monitoring and assessing progress toward achieving these goals, and using this information to improve the performance and impact of MFIs.

“Initial projects we had done in monitoring and evaluating the impact of microfinance on the lives of our clients revealed some very interesting—and sometimes surprising—outcomes,” commented Mr. Samit Ghosh of Ujjivan. “We’re excited to take this opportunity to continue that survey work and to use the findings to tailor our services so as to better serve our clients.”

Expected to be India’s most comprehensive multi-MFI SPM project to date, the SPM Implementation Project has two phases. In the first phase, Unitus will work with 10 MFI partners, including Ujjivan, to conduct analysis of existing social performance data, collect client-level data using the Grameen Foundation Progress out of Poverty Index™ (PPI™), and conduct an internal social audit using the CERISE Social Performance Indicator (SPI). Based on phase one findings, partners may choose to participate in the project’s second phase, SPM Optimization, and will fully adopt and integrate SPM into their regular operations.

Ujjivan and Unitus expect to complete the first phase early in 2010, with recommendations for the second phase coming later in the year.

“By keeping its mission in sharp focus and demonstrating a commitment to integrating these new systems, Ujjivan will be even more effective in empowering the working poor to help themselves out of poverty,” Wardell remarked.

About Ujjivan
Established in 2005, Ujjivan’s goal is to provide a holistic range of services to poor working women in urban and semi-urban areas to enable them to be free of poverty within five years. To date, Ujjivan has disbursed more than Rs. 5,860 million to more than 500,000 customers in 12 states across India, and plans to expand nationally to serve 2 million customers in 500 branches by its sixth year of operation. From its regional offices in Bangalore, Kolkatta, Delhi, and Pune, Ujjivan has ambitious growth plans to cover 1 million customers over the next 15 months.

About Unitus

Unitus, Inc. fights global poverty by accelerating the growth of microfinance—small loans and other financial tools for self-empowerment—where it is needed most. Unitus partners with young, high-potential microfinance institutions, helping them build capacity, attract capital, and unite with the greater partner network to achieve rapid, sustainable growth.

In just seven years, Unitus has helped its partners serve more than 9 million families throughout India and Southeast Asia, East Africa, Mexico, and South America. 
Unitus received Fast Company’s Social Capitalist award in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Unitus is a 501(c)3 with offices in Seattle, Washington, Bangalore, India, and Nairobi, Kenya.

About the Grameen Foundation PPI™ and the CERISE SPI
The Grameen Foundation Progress out of Poverty Index™ (PPI™) is a country-specific quantitative and standardized survey administered to MFI clients to assess client poverty level and monitor changes in client social and economic well-being. The PPI was commissioned by Grameen Foundation, in collaboration with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the Ford Foundation, and Microfinance Risk Management, L.L.C., to enable MFIs to better understand their clients’ needs and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and products.

The CERISE Social Performance Indicator is a 45-question quantitative and standardized survey to assess MFI systems in key areas including outreach to the poor and excluded, ability to adapt products and services based on client need, capacity to improve economic and social benefits to clients, and level of social responsibility.  Each was chosen by Unitus for use in the SPM IP from a collection of competing measurement tools for its ability to provide a holistic picture of an MFI’s social performance.

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