Social performance management (SPM) has become an increasingly important topic in the microfinance sector – concerned donors, funders, and individuals alike have been paying close attention to how microfinance institutions (MFIs) balance their financial and social goals. In order to get clients’ perspectives, our team at Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI) conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with members across the 5 CEVI branches in the province of Bohol.

We developed interview guides/modules based on the CERISE SPI tool – creating questions and group exercises related to the following topics: products and services, policies, over-indebtedness, staff relations, feedback and communication, client benefits, community development and child well-being. Over a span of four days, our team was able to collect data and feedback from client groups to gain a better understanding of how CEVI is perceived by those it aims to serve.

The clients actively participated in the discussions and sometimes their children listened in on the thought-provoking conversations! The participants were thankful to be part of the FGDs because it reinforced that CEVI values their opinions.

The clients were asked to think about how the microloans impacted their food security and housing situations through fun, interactive activities that involved candies.

Filipinos love meriendas (snacks) so we made sure we had some snacks and refreshments available.

I made some friends by the end as well!

At the end, we acknowledged all of our participants with a certificate and a small token of our appreciation for their involvement with the FGDs.

Through the focus groups, the CEVI team collected data and feedback that enabled them to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement in terms of social performance management. CEVI plans to conduct these FGDs on an annual basis so it can continue to enhance the quality of the products and services it provides, as well improve how it carries out its social mission in the communities it serves. This valuable exercise will continue to allow CEVI to keep their clients’ perspectives and experiences in mind.

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Kaajal Laungani has completed her Kiva Fellowship at Community Economic Ventures, Inc (CEVI) in the Philippines. She had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful island of Bohol and soaking up the great Filipino culture.


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