SMDP Tanzania 2013 Programme Description and Course Listing

Contact the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program

(603) 862-0764
Fax: (603) 862-3878

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire
Huddleston Hall
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Durham, NH 03824

Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program

SMDP Tanzania 2013 Programme Description and Course Listing

We are offering three learning tracks during the two weeks of the SMDP Tanzania 2013 each tracks consists of two courses:

TRACK I: Savings Groups Program Design and Management Information Systems

Week One November 11-15 - Savings Groups: Programme Design and Implementation Management

Week Two November 18-22 - Savings Groups: Management Information Systems

TRACK II: Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development and Finance

Week One November 11-15 Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development (PPEVCD)

Week Two November 18-22 Practical Skills for Agricultural Value Chain Financing

TRACK III: Savings Groups Post-Project: Evolution, Sustainability, Enrichment - one week only

November 18-22: Five full-day sessions

The courses are designed to be taken as a full two week track and to obtain the maximum learning possible we suggest you enroll for both weeks of each track. However, if you wish you may register for only one course or may register for courses from different tracks each week.

TRACK I: Savings Groups Programme Design and Management Information Systems

This two week track is designed to give development practitioners the skills and tools needed to design, implement and monitor the performance of savings groups. While the core Savings Groups methodology that we examine will be the Village Savings and Lending (VSLA) model other models used by leading facilitation agencies will be explored. The course facilitator Hugh Allen is responsible for the development of the VSLA methodology used by CARE and several other NGOS which have organized more than 3 million savings groups members over the past several years. Mr. Allen is a master trainer and students will be highly engaged in group work, field visits and the creation of their own MIS database (in the week two course). Course evaluations from previous SMDP workshops rate Hugh Allen as one of the most effective SMDP facilitators. Participants will receive a large array of electronic resources to supplement the classroom and field learning.

Course One: November 11-15
Savings Groups: Programme Design and Implementation Management

Five full-day sessions, including a field visit to VSLA groups on Tuesday
Facilitators: Hugh Allen, VSL Associates and Andrew Mnjama, Independent microfinance consultant

It is becoming generally accepted that conventional microfinance approaches are unable to reach the majority of the rural poor (particularly in Africa) with a suite of appropriate financial services. This is owing to cost and the relatively limited debt capacity of the poorest. In addition, there is an increasing awareness of the primary importance of savings services, which most MFIs do not provide.

In the last ten years, this gap is increasingly filled by community-managed microfinance groups (known generically as savings groups), in which members mobilise and manage their own savings, investing this money in a loan fund from which they can borrow in amounts as small as $1. This approach is proving to be low cost, highly sustainable, and profitable for the member-owners, and achieving significant scale. It is also promoted by most of the major international development agencies.

Course Objectives:

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Present the theoretical background to community-managed microfinance
  • Visit a savings group and witness a savings and credit meeting
  • Be exposed to the methodological approaches and training tools employed by the major implementing organisations
  • Receive an introduction to the most widely-used management information system
  • Offer approaches to evaluation and the results of impact studies
  • Be introduced to the most successful approaches to programme design

Course Two: November 18-22
Savings Groups: Management Information Systems

Five full-day sessions, including a field visit to VSLA groups on Tuesday
Facilitators: Hugh Allen, VSL Associates and Andrew Mnjama, Independent microfinance consultant

The VSL Associates Excel-based MIS is the most widely used in the industry and has been through 4 generations of development. But based as it is on an Excel worksheet it has a number of practical limitations and in the last year VSL Associates, with support from the Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation, has developed a completely new internet-based MIS, embedded in the SAVIX website, using similar bandwidth as Hotmail.

The new MIS has the following characteristics:

  • It is web-server based, meaning that data can be entered at any internet enabled computer in any location and will accept simultaneous data entry from multiple locations and users. It will also accept data from mobile devices through the use of an application programming interface (API).
  • New upgrades to the MIS are automatic and no longer require importation of old data
  • Data and software are unaffected by viruses
  • It allows projects to post directly to the SAVIX, without being part of a facilitating agency network (one of the major limitations of the Excel-based version)
  • Error correction takes place in real time and illogical data cannot be entered into the system, while questionable data is automatically flagged for review
  • The system is built on a relational database, meaning that sophisticated analysis is now possible at the project level
  • At the users discretion, the data is automatically posted to the SAVIX, thus relieving programmes of the need to create data files and upload to the SAVIX
  • It allows project metrics to be compared to national, sub-regional. regional and worldwide norms, derived from the SAVIX website
  • It allows MIS administrators to create networks of projects in which aggregation of results or project comparisons can be conducted

As such, the SAVIX MIS is expected to supersede version 4 of the MIS by 2015.

The course is comprised of the following elements:

  • Architecture of the MIS
  • MIS setup and the creation of multiple projects in a single MIS
  • Creation of MIS user-defined fields
  • Creation of organisational structure
  • Data entry
  • Report preparation and printing
  • Report analysis and application to management
  • Administrative tools

The course is a companion to the first week’s course, but is designed principally for practitioners who are already implementing a community-managed microfinance programme or who intend to do so.

Participants must come with a reasonably capable laptop, with wireless internet capability and with the registry recently defragmented. Please do NOT bring along an older computer that has a slow processor or one that has not recently been maintained, since this may slow down the process of configuration and data entry. The system runs equally well on a PC or a Mac. Please be aware that Tanzania uses a standard British square-pin plug, so be sure to bring an appropriate adaptor.

TRACK II: Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development and Finance Track

This two week track will offer practitioners practical tools for the development of agricultural and other value chains and analytical skills for the research, design and delivery of low risk, high return financing products and strategies to address agriculture. The first course starts online two weeks before arrival in Arusha and continues in the classroom for week one. The second course will take place the following week in the classroom. Both in-class courses will take a field visit featuring several market players in the local coffee value chain to explore the application of market research to program design and agricultural finance from the practical market opportunity perspective. These courses should be taken together and participants in the two week track will earn a SMDP Certificate in ProPoor Value Chain Development and Agriculture Finance. However, you can register for one or the other course at the discretion of course organizers.

Course One: November 11 - 15
Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development (PPEVCD)

Five full-day sessions, including a field visit
Facilitator: Ann Gordon, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)

Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development (PPEVCD) offers both formal and informal learning opportunities for those interested in comprehensively developing and/or enhancing their skills in the field of market development or facilitation. Unique features of this course include an introduction to the linkages between value chains and financial services, as well as, looking at the common elements and useful tools in both value chain development and making markets work for the poor (M4P). The course is suitable for managers, financiers, donors and practitioners who are involved in value chain facilitation, business development services, M4P projects or market development programs that target poor producers and entrepreneurs. It is taught by experienced practitioners with expertise in both designing and implementing value chain projects, as well as in teaching and facilitating workshops in Africa, and around the globe.

The track includes an on-line component and a week of in-class sessions. It starts with the prerequisite, Foundations for Value Chain Development and Project Design online course (eCourse). This e-learning component is self-paced but designed to take anywhere from 7 to 20 hours and covers the key principles of market-based development. It is followed by a one week in-class training course, which builds on the basics of value chain/market facilitation and includes a variety of participatory learning methods such as field visits and case studies. Overall, the course covers the following objectives:

  • Review and apply fundamentals such as value chain analysis, market research and other elements of enterprise and market development in project design;
  • Introduce the linkages between value chain market players and financial services, as well as, other business support services;
  • Practice using market facilitation tools and techniques; and
  • Recognize the constraints and opportunities for value chain enterprises and market players.

Day One (Full Day)

  • Introductions, course objectives, expectations and class activity overview
  • Review basic principles of pro poor value chain/market development (including topics from the eCourse) and making markets work for the poor (M4P)
  • Apply subsector and value chain mapping, analysis and selection techniques
  • Overview of the inter-relationship and process - Market Assessment to Implementation

Day Two (Full Day)

  • Provide a practical grounding in information gathering approaches and tools, and their specific application to market development / value chain program design – Focus on individual tools application – Interviews,
  • Overview of strengths and constraints analysis step in pro-poor value chain program design
  • Prepare for field visits on Day Three

Day Three (Full Day)

  • Field Visits – practice using market research tools and information gathering techniques for value chain and M4P assessments and initiatives
  • Assembling and synthesizing the market research data from field visits into value chain maps

Day Four (Full Day)

  • Review Constraints, Solution and Intervention Development Processes.
  • Comprehend the linkages between value chains and financial services, partnership development and principles in value chain finance
  • Begin processing field visit information and apply market research data to other value chain analysis tools you have learned to development of value chain maps and some basic M4P frameworks

Day Five (Full Day)

  • Further processing field visit information and apply market research data to the value chain analysis tools to develop strengths and constraints analysis; identification and selection of sustainable solutions
  • Review of key topic areas and course expectations

Course Two: November 18-22
Practical Skills for Agricultural Value Chain Financing

Five full-day sessions, including a field visit
Facilitator: Richard Pelrine, INSPIRED International

Topics will build on the information learned through the Pro-Poor Enterprise and Value Chain Development Course. This course is designed to empower development specialists and rural finance practitioners to bring key practical, analytical skills to the research, design and delivery of low risk, high return financing strategies and products to address value chain opportunities. The tools and skills developed through the course have practical applications for identifying key interventions for M4P projects and practitioners. The course emphasizes the development of simple and logical tools and skills to better understand the key opportunities and risks in financing in order that a financier can meet both their institutional needs and the needs of their borrowers.

The course uses a number of methods to develop the participants’ skills and deepen the participants’ understanding. These include: mastering a limited but critical number of quantitative tools; understanding risks in lending to agriculture and how they can best be controlled; designing actual research tools to better understand the target market; supervised group work for conducting field research into an actual agricultural value chain; and supervised group work to actually develop one or more financial products addressing value chain financing opportunities while controlling lender cost and risk.

Day One (Full Day)

  • Course objectives and expectations, class activity overview
  • Theory and tools for developing a practical strategy and products for financing value chains; this includes:
    • An overview of strategic product development;
    • Tools for measuring benefits and costs to the lender and the client;
    • Tools for properly costing all financial and operational costs for offering a loan product; and
    • Analytical tools for choosing the best bankable enterprises from the perspectives of profit, risk, market size, growth potential, ease of financing, etc.

Day Two (Full Day)

  • Practical field work, including:
    • Tools for collecting key data for defining lending opportunities;
    • Supervised local data collection from input suppliers, producers, transporters, processors, wholesalers, etc.;
    • Consolidating data into spreadsheets; and
    • Using Microsoft Excel to analyze the data to identify opportunities and risks at each value chain segment, verify that the value chain is functioning and capable of growth, as well as, estimate the size of the market potential for finance.

Day Three (Full Day)

  • Developing a functional understanding of the features, strengths and weaknesses of various loan products and strategic approaches to lending and recovery, including:
    • Working capital loans;
    • Term financing and leasing;
    • Savings and Credit hybrid products and strategies; and
    • Structured Trade Financing (nowadays often called ‘Value Chain Financing’).

Day Four (Full Day)

  • Learning the analytical and synthetic skills to develop an actual product, including:
    • Understanding how to match the tenure of new assets to existing liabilities and/or how to refinance assets;
    • Understanding the human and physical resource requirements for financing agriculture and accounting for their costs in the product pricing;
    • Understanding risk management strategies for financing agriculture and accounting for their costs in the product pricing;
    • Understanding the unique policies and procedures needed for financing agriculture and accounting for their costs in the product pricing;
    • Understanding basic rules for balancing the lending portfolio to neutralize risk; and
    • Understanding basic rules for institution-wide cash flow planning.

Day Five (Full Day)

  • Group work consolidating the knowledge gained from the topics above by developing an actual prototype product using the field data collected and consolidated on day three as the basis for this exercise.
  • Discussion of how understanding the market can underpin policy decisions and choices of development interventions to better enable markets to work for poorer value chain actors.

TRACK III: Savings Groups Post-Project: Evolution, Sustainability, Enrichment

November 18-22

Five full-day sessions
Facilitators: Paul Rippey, and Courtney O'Connell, World Relief

The Savings Groups sector has experienced amazing growth and diversity in programming over the past several years. In addition to the refinement of operational methodologies many NGOs are using savings groups to bring other important development services to their members in domains including health, education, agriculture and energy.

Mature savings groups that have been in operation for a year or more often begin asking, “What’s next”? They want to use the strong social bonds and financial resources they have developed to improve their lives, and when groups reach this stage, it is time for facilitating agencies to move towards a different role in their relationship with mature groups.

In the first part of this two part workshop we will explore what’s next for savings groups and what facilitating agencies can offer to the groups they have organized, beyond training in savings group methodology, and we will look at lessons learned to assure that facilitating agencies are building strong groups, not dependent ones; that risk of innovation is appropriately managed; and that both groups and their NGO partners can take advantage of recent breakthrough technologies

In the second part we will look at what we know so far about long-term sustainability of SGs. With the help of guest speakers we will explore some of the exciting Post-Project SG models and have an opportunity to develop your own Post-Project approach.

Part One:

Through lecture, exercises, readings, videos, and analysis of the participants’ projects, participants will:

  • Review the evidence about the sustainability of SGs after one year of training and mentoring, including: Results from the RCTs, field research in Kenya, and the VSL Associates Panel Study.
  • Examine the factors that are thought to determine the sustainability of SGs post-project: Long-term technical support through village agents? Simplicity and transparency of group management approach? Amount or quality of training? Environmental and social characteristics of the region and of the members? Messaging and management?
  • Raise our awareness of some of the pitfalls that agencies might fall into as they try to add value to existing groups.
  • Look at mechanisms that have been put in place to assure the continued presence of technical support to SGs. We will look at the evidence about what motivates trainers – results from field research by CRS, FSD Kenya and Savings Revolution.
  • Address how adding other activities to savings groups can enhance the value to members, and how this can be done in such a way as to strengthen the sustainability of the SGs. We will examine the best ways to add other activities in terms of cost, value added, and risk management.
  • Analyze the increasing role that technology is playing in SG management, and how this is likely to affect the cost of training and following up of savings groups. We will review results from field tests with new technologies (CARE’s Orange/Equity experiment, and FSD Kenya’s eRecording Android phone app).

Part Two:

Through lecture, exercises, readings, videos, and analysis of the participants’ projects and the projects of expert visitors, participants will refine, strengthen and test the concepts of part one.

  • Review analytical tools introduced in the first week’s course, including delivery models (linked, parallel and unified), complementarity, the choice and risk continua, and the assessment of post-project moral responsibility, to enable them to identify the questions to ask about Post-Project SG design.
  • Practice those tools by conducting a desk review of cases of Post-Project SG evolution presented by the facilitator, or drawn from the participants’ own projects.
  • Practice use of the tools in the field through visits to higher-cycle savings groups.

Participants will also have the opportunity to hear representatives of four separate projects innovating in the areas of technical linkages, distribution networks, post-project support, and technology, who will come to Arusha to present what they have put in place in their own programs. Participants will have the opportunity to question the presenters on the details of their projects, the objectives, and the results.

Participants will determine the best post-project approach, and the organization judged to have the best approach will be awarded a prize.

The demonstration projects are (click to view):

Savings for Life - Rwanda

Presenter: Courtney O'Connell

World Relief’s mission is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable and envisions communities transformed economically, socially, and spiritually. Towards that end, World Relief partners with local churches and engages in mindset transformation trainings with pastors who are seen as key community leaders. After this training, pastors walk away with the understanding that while there are significant problems and challenges in the community, local churches, alongside community members, can be active to meet their own needs. The Savings for Life (SFL) program, as an extension of church ministries, is one of the key ways community members are empowered to make positive changes. Church members are also engaged as volunteer Village Agents helping to spread SFL throughout the community.

Savings for Life™ programs use the Village Savings and Loan Association methodology focused on promoting community-based savings and credit groups. The Village Savings and Loan Association methodology builds from an indigenous model that communities have used for centuries in order to manage their finances.

Savings for Life™ works by educating trainers to mobilize and train groups of community members in how to build and manage their own savings fund. As the savings fund accumulates, group members access small loans from the fund to finance business or consumption needs. Loans have fixed terms and are repaid with a service fee, which is retained within the group in order to grow the group’s savings fund and provide a return on their savings. Groups are self-managed and set their own policies for their operations.

World Relief builds on the Village Savings and Loan Association methodology and strengthens it by taking time during group meetings to lead participants in an exploration of the Bible’s view of the world and how it confronts cultural norms and values that shape local traditions and practices. It works to develop an underlying spiritual integrity as a base for the success of Savings for Life™.

PSP Networks - Western Kenya

Presenter: Simon Karoki, Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) started working with Caritas Eldoret as partner to implement SILC in 2010. The Project stated with 30 Field Agents in first year and later recruited and trained 35 in the nest year 2011. All the PSPs in the first and second cohorts have now been certified and earn a fee for service from the community. Due to great demand of their SG services, the PSPs have been able to recruit career helpers (apprentices) who are in process of being certified as PSPs. Some have already been certified and are paid by the community members for services provided.

The certified PSPs have formed 3 localized PSP Networks which has now been registered as local CBOs in their respective area of operation. The Networks are associations of certified PSPs which assist them in mobilization of new members, certification of apprentice to PSP, enforcing the PSP code of conduct, enhancing visibility in area of operation and resolving any emerging conflicts in SGs. The conflicts may be between members, between members and a group, and PSP versus apprentice. The Networks are recognized by the government and participate in local development.

The role of apprentice is to assist the PSP mobilize and train more groups, be known in remote areas where the apprentice works and lives and deepen the outreach of the PSP Networks.

wPower: Women's Entrepreneurship in Renewables - Tanzania

Presenter: Francis Songela, wPower

In September 2012, CARE received $1 million from the U.S. Department of State to implement a 3-year wPOWER program as part of the global wPOWER initiative launched by the outgoing U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.

The project builds on CARE’s 1 million existing Village Saving and Loans Associations (VLSAs) members, and their VA independent trainers in a value chain that will distribute clean-energy products from the capital cities of Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to some of the most remote villages in those countries. CARE’s VSLAs), their village agent (VA) network and communities surrounding VSLAs are located in the remotest parts of these countries and they therefore present an untapped potential for innovative last-mile, bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) distribution solutions.

CARE in partnership with clean energy suppliers works with the existing Village Agents and women entrepreneurs who act as sales agents. The Village Agents control the supply and distribution of products to VSLA members and other community members and they are paid directly from sales getting a margin on every unit sold. The VAs retail to the doorstep of consumers, this reinforces and helps the Village Agents to increase their market share.

wPOWER uses training and provision of access to products and microfinance to empower the typically female, VAs, to become involved in growing clean energy markets by establishing of their own micro-clean energy enterprises.

The wPower project seeks to achieve several objectives surrounding the role of women in the clean energy sector:

  • Increasing women’s access to small-scale clean energy markets,
  • Encouraging women’s successful ownership and management of small scale last mile clean energy sales and distribution enterprises
  • Increased public awareness of the role of women in clean energy markets
  • Learning, documentation and dissemination of information about economic and environmental benefits of integrating women into clean energy value chains

The project aims to train approximately 3,222 Village Agents and women entrepreneurs across Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to become clean energy entrepreneurs and facilitate their entry into the sector. These women entrepreneurs are expected to sell approximately 186,190 solar lamps and 26,688 clean cook stoves across Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Tracking Savings Groups Data With the e-Recording application – Kenya

Presenter: Kuria Wanjau, FSD Kenya

FSD Kenya has been working since 2008 with local partners, mainly CARE International in Kenya, to create Savings Groups (SGs). FSD Kenya envisions offering the SG option across the country as a means of increasing financial inclusion. The Savings Groups initiatives undertaken with FSD support from 2008 to date have been quite successful. The initiatives had reached over 12,700 groups serving 335,500 members as at June 2013.

The e-Recording application is an android based platform for savings groups (SGs) that enables them to maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records of their transactions. The application is designed to capture and enforce aspects of the constitution that relate to the financial transactions. It is then used to record all regular book keeping records associated with regular meetings. The application captures data relating to meeting attendance, savings contributions and withdrawals, social fund contributions, pay-outs and pay-backs, loans issued and repayment, fines, expenses, other income and cash and bank confirmations. The app also has a share out module that SGs can use to know how much they would get if they were to share out at any point during the cycle. The app is used during actual share out.

The e-Recording pilot started in April 2013 and concluded in August 2013. It was carried out in three phases and entailed visiting six groups at different times during the pilot. The issues captured from the field visits were documented with subsequent follow-up meetings held to discuss and agree on how to address them before making changes to the app and a new update with the changes released.

The app stores the information both locally and securely in the cloud. The app has the potential to replace the passbooks, ledgers, reporting forms, audit forms, data entry clerks, local MISs, and the consultants who spend time checking up on all of these areas.