The First 30 Days: A Practical Guide to Managing Natural Disasters for Microfinance Institutions

Managing the period of crisis following a major disaster
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This guide aims to provide MFI leaders with an approach to manage a period of crisis following a natural disaster. It is based on the experience of four MFIs in El Salvador that faced the devastating effects of two major earthquakes occurring in close succession.

The guide outlines plans for one month after being affected by a natural disaster. It states that:

  • First week is crucial, and the MFI must concentrate on operating as normally as possible, keeping its branches open and maintaining same hours of service;
  • MFI should focus on remembering key objectives, verifying scope of the disaster, taking stock of assets, taking care of security, employees, physical property, clients and data;
  • MFI should review key disaster policies, prepare a monitoring system and develop a communication strategy;
  • Weeks two to four should be focused on monitoring, analyzing and following up with clients;
  • MFI should try to return to normalcy within the first thirty days.

The guide lists tips for minimum disaster preparedness such as creating daily back-ups of data and working back-up of current software as well as ensuring client data is updated frequently.

About this Publication

By Magill, J.