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Dear all,
 
Twenty-two partners of the MicroLead/MicroLead Expansion (MLE) programme gathered in Kigali, Rwanda in February 2014 for their first knowledge-sharing event, six months after the official launch of the Expansion programme. Over the course of three days, MLE partners participated in interactive sessions on branchless banking, product development and youth savings. In this first MLE newsletter, we would like to share with you the key takeaways of two MLE partners: World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in Liberia and Uganda Agency for Development (UGAFODE), which actively contributed to the programme by sharing their learning and experience. You will also find in this first issue news of our activities in Myanmar as well as key performance indicators of the programme.
 
Enjoy the reading,
 
 
MicroLead Team
Pamela, Ivana, Hermann, Paul and Karima
Knowledge sharing - Key takeaways according to WOCCU Liberia
Knowledge sharing as defined in Wikipedia is ‘an activity through which knowledge (i.e., information, skills, or expertise) is exchanged among people or organizations.’ The objective of the first MicroLead Expansion (MLE) workshop was exactly that. The programme was set up to stimulate exchange among experts and MLE partners with different levels of expertise and richness of experience culled from challenging markets. Patrick Muriuki from World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in Liberia was one of the participants. Here he shares three of his takeaways. Read more
Knowledge sharing -  Mobile-banking takeaways by UGAFODE
During its first workshop, MicroLead Expansion (MLE) partners gathered to share their experience with mobilizing savings. Mobile banking was high on the agenda of all participants as it is the delivery channel many MLE partners would like to develop to increase savings mobilization and outreach to remote rural areas. Pius Mukiibi, Projects Manager at Uganda Agency for Development (UGAFODE), was one of the participants. Here he shares his impressions of the workshop, particularly on the topic of mobile banking. Read more
Webinars continue knowledge sharing
Throughout 2014, MLE will pursue its knowledge-sharing goals by organizing a series of webinars. The first webinar took place in February and addressed the topic of human-centred product development. The webinar was the first opportunity for two MLE partners, UGAFODE in Uganda and its technical service provider Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), to share their experience with client-centred product development. Throughout 2014, MLE will pursue its knowledge-sharing goals by organizing a series of webinars. 
The first webinar took place in February and addressed the topic of human-centred product development. The webinar was the first opportunity for two MLE partners, UGAFODE in Uganda and its technical service provider Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), to share their experience with client-centred product development. The session brought together Cheryl Franckiewicz, a consultant and trainer, Sashi Selvendran from MEDA and Rathi Mani-Kandt from 17 Triggers, an independent marketing firm. After an introduction to the key concepts of client-centred development, the session moved to the presentation of the UGAFODE/MEDA case, describing the process and collaboration between 17 Triggers, MEDA and UGAFODE. Recordings of the session can be accessed through the following links (part one and part two). Three additional webinars are planned for the following quarters, one on social and environmental management systems (SEMS), a second on the creation of savings products and a third on mobile-banking solutions. Please join us 25 June for the SEMS webinar. (see below)
Request for applications in Benin, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Togo
On 15 April 2014, MLE issued a request for applications for underserved markets in Benin, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Togo. Through the request, the programme seeks to partner with financial service providers/technical service providers that share its commitment to expanding savings-led financial services to underserved markets particularly in rural areas and for women. The aim is to support financial institutions that are poised to increase financial access by adopting innovative financial products and business models and new technology in order to increase financial inclusion while contributing to the learning process that is core to MLE. Read more. 
MicroLead Expansion and Making Access Possible in Myanmar
The UN Capital Development Fund and the UN Development Programme jointly launched the results of the Making Access Possible (MAP) Myanmar Diagnostic - a comprehensive study of Myanmar’s financial services sector and an analysis of its potential to enhance financial inclusion as the country’s economic reforms take hold. Conducted last year the study included a survey of 5,100 nationally representative households and collected qualitative data from focus groups sessions, home visits and key informant interviews. A synthesis note summarizing the results of MAP Myanmar is now available online .
 
The national roadmap on financial inclusion that will be the result of this MAP diagnosis and process will support MLE grantees and other financial service providers to target underserved areas of the country with innovative products. MLE has awarded funding to three greenfield projects in Myanmar with the aim of reaching over 100,000 rural depositors in the country by 2016. An additional component of MLE in Myanmar is to gain in-depth knowledge of the financial lives of the poor. This will be gained via research that entails clients learning to keep their own ‘financial diaries.’  The ‘diaries’ will be consolidated to improve the overall understanding of clients’ financial service needs, which will in turn inform the development of improved products and services.Read more
MicroLead in Figures
Recommended reading and webinar information
Mobile banking
By following the links below, you will find interesting information with regard to the development of mobile financial services. Among the topics covered, you will find information and resources on agent networks, customer adoption and organizational structure that will support your own reflection and progress in mobile banking.

Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion (Source: Microfinance Gateway)
 
Agent Networks (Source: GSMA, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association)
 
Agents for Savings (Source: Gateway Financial Innovations for Savings)
 
Innovative Product Development and Marketing—Diamond Bank Storms the Market: A BETA Way to Save (Source: Women’s World Banking)
 
Customer Adoption (Source: GSMA)
 
Organizational Structure (Source: GSMA)
 
Partnerships in Mobile Financial Services: Factors for Success (Source: International Finance Corporation)
 
Alternative Delivery Channels—Channel Innovation for Financial Inclusion (Source: Grameen Foundation)
Product development
During the MicroLead/MLE workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, participants attended a session on client-centred product development. Here is the link to the publication that served as the main source for the session: ‘Making Microfinance Work: Managing Product Diversification.’
 
Youth financial services
UNCDF's global thematic initiative on financial access for youth, YouthStart, released a series of publications to support financial service providers, policymakers and development partners in their efforts to improve youth financial inclusion. The most recent publication assesses the effort needed to achieve profitability of youth services and recommends how financial service providers can improve on the pathway towards profitability of youth services. Here is the link: ‘Building the business case for youth services: Insights of the YouthStart programme.’
 
Webinar - Social and environmental management systems
To learn more about social and environmental management systems (known as SEMS or ESMS), we invite you to browse the following website: FIRST for Sustainability. This site was launched by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the adoption of such systems by all interested stakeholders. In this linked section, you will find interesting content with regard to the environmental and social risks that financial institutions are exposed to through their clients. MLE and IFC will host a joint webinar on the topic on 25 June at 7:00 New York/ 14:00 Addis Ababa/ 18:00 Bangkok time.

To learn more about our webinar on SEMS, please subscribe to our mailing list by clicking here
 
MicroLead, one of UNCDF’s largest global thematic initiatives, is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Lift Myanmar and UNCDF
 
The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations, including UNCDF, or their Member States.
Copyright © 2014 UNCDF, All rights reserved.


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