Women’s World Banking Supports the Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification Program

January 28, 2013

working groupIn January, Women’s World Banking joined its partners in the Microfinance CEO Working Group to announce its support for the Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification Program – a groundbreaking new effort that seeks to ensure that microfinance institutions keep clients at the center of their work. With the other members of the Microfinance CEO Working Group, we released a joint statement identifying the program as a “clear step” toward a fully responsible microfinance sector.

The Client Protection Certification Program launched at the beginning of the year after more than two years of development, pilot testing, and input from the industry. Under the certification program, institutions undergo rigorous evaluation by licensed, specialized microfinance rating agencies. Once achieved, certification will allow microfinance institutions – for the very first time – to publicly demonstrate their adherence to adequate standards of client protection.

WWB network member Ujjivan is one of the institutions certified by this program, having met the 30 adequate standards care in the treatment of their clients.

About the Microfinance CEO Working Group
All of us in the microfinance sector share in the responsibility to protect the vulnerable clients we serve, and we applaud the Smart Campaign for bringing client protection to the foreground of the industry’s consciousness in only a few short years. To date, the Campaign has received endorsements from more than 3,300 individuals and institutions, has compiled hundreds of self-assessments, and has worked assiduously with industry stakeholders to operationalize the Client Protection Principles. Certification represents a logical and important next step for the Campaign and is a milestone for which Women’s World Banking and our microfinance institutions will strive.

The Microfinance CEO Working Group is a collaborative effort by the CEOs of eight leading microfinance organizations: Accion, FINCA International, Freedom from Hunger, Grameen Foundation USA, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, VisionFund International and Women’s World Banking. The Working Group seeks to support the microfinance industry in bringing a broad range of financial and related services to those who have traditionally been excluded. The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion serves as the secretariat for the Working Group. For any questions regarding the group, and the involvement of the Microfinance CEO Working Group, please contact Meghan Greene (Manager, Microfinance CEO Working Group) at mgreene@accion.org.