Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?
Global Partnerships affirms that financial services are an important tool for poor microentrepreneurs who struggle daily to operate businesses and households with scarce resources, we believe that microfinance institutions (MFIs) and cooperatives can play an even greater role in addressing global poverty. What is required is innovation – pioneering new business models that MFIs and cooperatives can use to broaden their service offerings and deepen their impact. The innovation is the delivery channel as microfinance institutions and cooperatives around the world reach populations at the base of the pyramid, that are too often inaccessible by the public health system. MFIs can serve as a powerful and fully sustainable channel to address these challenges, by leveraging an existing infrastructure to reach people living in poverty, often in remote areas. The benefits include the following: 1) particularly in cases where credit is delivered via a group-based methodology, the services delivery mechanism already in place enables regular (bi-weekly or monthly in most cases) “touch” with tens of thousands of poor women; 2) the best MFI credit officers already have a relationship with clients based on trust that is only reinforced by taking on intimate health-related concerns; 3) geographically, a client’s branch office is often just as close as the nearest health facility; and 4) the fact that MFIs are financial services providers enables them to design creative savings and payment mechanisms to help client overcome the access barriers related to liquidity.
Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?
GP's model is distinct in several ways: 1) we build on the strengths of MFIs and cooperatives to disseminate health information, screen for disease at existing distribution points, identify existing services, create alliances with local providers, and create financial services that align health care expenditures with the cash flow realities of poor households; 2) we provide a rigorous focus on business models that can be market-sustained and scaled; 3) we invest different types of capital, including low cost loans and start-up grants, tailored to meet the needs of our partners and the requirements of business plans; and 4) we leverage learning from across our regional portfolio about what's working in other parts of the world.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
Global Partnerships (GP) applies a comprehensive screening and due diligence process to all MFI and cooperative candidates. Part of these processes is a proprietary social performance rating that credits those organizations with robust and relevant non-financial services programs, as well as those that deliver those packages sustainably, at scale, with higher ratings. As a result of these pre-existing relationships with MFI and cooperative partners in the region, GP staff have identified a potential pipeline of partners who have a vision for distinguishing themselves in the market with non-financial services, and in some cases, some experience with delivering education or limited health services, either directly or indirectly through alliances.
How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?
We are constantly testing, monitoring and evaluating the assumptions of our business models. To ensure that we are continually innovating and adapting we have put key processes in place to ensure we are able adapt as necessary. To this end we have quarterly reporting requirements that measure key indicators of success, monthly calls with our partners, and on-site technical assistance once a quarter,