Improving Sector Transparency: A Case Study on the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association

> Posted by Sevda E. Huseynova, Regional Network Coordinator, Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association
The Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) recently partnered with Microfinance Centre (MFC) to develop a case study highlighting AMFA’s strategic work and progress in social performance management (SPM).
As an organization, AMFA’s mission is to strengthen the capacity of MFIs and to promote effective collective action in advancing the interests of the microfinance community and its clients. SPM fits into AMFA’s larger working strategy to help the MFIs in their country incorporate the latest developments on social performance into their activities. Participating in international discussions and roundtables like The Smart Campaign, the Social Performance Taskforce are part of these efforts.
AMFA’s strategy to improve social performance and sector transparency has included the development of Impact Assessments, Quality Audit Tools, technical assistance for post-audit reporting, Client Protection trainings, Client Protection assessments, and country-level financial and social reports.
During the process of implementing SPM, one of AMFA’s biggest challenges was in raising awareness among member MFIs who didn’t consider social performance a high priority. To address this, AMFA used email correspondence, face-to-face conversations, and monthly newsletters to motivate and increase the visibility of CEOs from socially-focused member MFIs. This effort has lead to a wider uptake of SPM by the MFIs in their network and will strengthen the microfinance industry in Azerbaijan going forward.
AMFA’s continued success will be the result of how their members implement SPM into their activities. However, if AMFA had to do this all again, additional strategies would prove effective. In hindsight, here are some suggestions for networks who want to take on SPM:

  • Get in touch with a regional network and seek opportunities for cooperation, fundraising, and advice;
  • Visit and learn from an association more experienced in SPM and invite board members to participate on visits;
  • Identify potential “SPM pioneers” among member MFIs;
  • Analyze the performance capacity of junior staff and select two for SPM training; and
  • Cooperate with external experts, like MFC, to kick-off capacity building of members and staff.

To learn more about the challenges and successes AMFA encountered while implementing SPM strategies, read the full case study here: