Paper

Building Strong Networks: An Institutional Strengthening Guide for Microfinance Networks

A technical guide for strengthening regional and country-level microfinance networks.
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This technical guide, published by the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) network aims to strengthen regional and country-level microfinance networks.

The guide:

  • Aims to be useful for networks at all stages of development;
  • Reviews the current state of network practice in six areas of network effectiveness - governance, operations, financial viability, human resources, external relations and service delivery;
  • Outlines common challenges faced by networks;
  • Offers practical strategies to improve performance;
  • Utilizes the experience of actual networks to illustrate the text.
  • Uses the inputs of two SEEP documents:
    • The Network Capacity Assessment Guide (which includes the Network Capacity Assessment Tool, or NCAT),
    • The SEEP Technical Note - Achieving Financial Sustainability.

It provides the following information about microfinance networks:

  • They are regional- and country-level associations of microfinance and micro-enterprise institutions;
  • Their members have diverse clienteles and methodologies;
  • They operate independently of one another;
  • They come together to improve microfinance best practices, share information and coordinate efforts to promote an enabling policy and funding environment for microfinance.

The guide has three sections:

  • Section I addresses the basics of network governance, operations, human resources, financial viability and external relations;
  • Section II focuses on the principal services that networks provide;
  • Sections I and II also offer a comprehensive set of strategies for strengthening networks;
  • Section III reorganizes these strategies by the four stages of network development: nascent, emerging and expanding stages of development.