The Social Performance of ASHI: a Participatory Assessment

The SPI (Social Performance Indicators) initiative, now on its second phase, is testing the auditing tool developed in the first phase with selected MFIs in various parts of the world. The objectives of SPI Steering Committee in conducting this test are to check the accessibility, availability and reliability of the information provided, to define the questions precisely and to test the capacity of the tool to distinguish between different types of MFIs and different approaches to clients, in terms of social performances. One of those selected for an in-depth test of the social performance audit tool is Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI). ASHI engaged an external reviewer to administer the social performance audit. In the process, the external reviewer suggested adopting a participatory approach by involving the clients of ASHI in the external review. This report intends to describe this participatory approach to social performance assessment and to present the results of the experiment.

Mila M. Bunker, febbraio 2005

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Survey results show that perceptions of ASHI’s social performance by member-clients appear fairly stable at relatively high level, ranging from a low of 73.89 points to a high of 93.23 points, with an overall average SPI of 86.32 points for the whole organization.

An obvious conclusion from this finding is that ASHI has not abandoned its social mission in the pursuit of financial sustainability. Even as ASHI embarked on a massive overhaul of its operating system to improve its financial self-sufficiency over the years, it has maintained its focus on serving the poor and the excluded, adapted its financial products and services to their needs, and performed its social responsibility to its clients and the communities it is serving. What is even more significant is that the member-clients conveyed this conclusion through their responses. This indicates the great potential of participatory social performance assessment (PSPA) in gauging target client satisfaction on the extent to which the MFI has accomplished its social mission.