The purpose of Dia’s Social Performance Management (SPM) Initiative as a social investor is to demonstrate through its investments, that Dia is on the path to achieving the social mission of “providing opportunities for people in poverty to transform their lives”.
SPM is the discipline of understanding how an organization realizes its social Mission. SPM is a value-adding activity that benefits MFIs by providing clarity in mission and objectives amongst staff and management of MFIs for putting their mission into practice. This requires MFIs to focus of their results in terms of outreach, appropriateness of their products and services and about the positive changes in the lives of their clients. This can be achieved by integrating social lens in their strategies and operations. SPM helps MFIs to focus on their core constituencies of client and staff well being while achieving financial sustainability. As it is said “We measure what we value and whatever we value gets measured.” In order to ensure that social focus in MFIs is retained, the social performance need be measured, reported and then improved.
Dia Vikas implements its SPM program through EDA Rural Systems.
Dia Vikas’ mission, as part of the Opportunity International Network, is to provide opportunities for people in poverty to transform their lives. We believe in the power of people. The people we work with are best placed to know what they need to transform their lives and their families. But as a global microfinance network with a social mission, we need to know whether we are truly achieving our mission and how well we are doing so.
Through Social Performance Management (SPM) with technical support from EDA Rural Systems we are able to collect information across a range of social indicators. These indicators come from the various regions and partners we operate with, with the aim of providing all stakeholders – from our microfinance partners through to our supporters – with sufficient social performance information to drive decision making. Our intention is that with an ongoing supply of social data, these decisions will lead to better outcomes for our clients and their families.
As with any other information system, our aim is to systematise and embed the collection of social data into our everyday activities. This is not an easy task. It involves significant capacity building, healthy debate and hard work as we identify the information we need, how we need to collect it, and then most importantly, how we use it to guide better social performance.
Our vision is that through social performance management we can facilitate best practice microfinance that leads to continuously improving outcomes and transformation for the people we serve.
The Role of Technology
A big hurdle for effective collection of social data is the heavy reliance on time-consuming and error-prone paper based processes. Dia Vikas sees mobile technology playing a key role in enabling more efficient non-burdensome collection of social data. For example our partner Samhita is working to embed this e2e in their daily operations through an innovative mobile application. Funded by Opportunity International, Samhita issued 322 low cost tablets to its field staff, entirely replacing paper capture of client data for its 87,207 clients. Such electronic data capture allows Samhita to efficiently collect, store and analyse client information and provide useful and regular insights to its management and Board. The reduction in time to collect, analyze and use data compared to previous paper systems has been profound. For example, Samhita can now analyze the average income level of new clients (using the PPI) by branch on a weekly or daily basis, enabling management to respond to trends for outreach in real time and address performance issues at individual branches.