Working Group Topics for 2008 Consumer Protection Consumer Protection is a phrase used to describe any activity that helps MFI customers understand and assert their rights. Examples of consumer protection initiatives include ethical statements, codes of conduct or financial education. SEEP will be facilitating a working group on this topic to further explore the many roles networks can play around the world in promoting consumer protection. Financial Services For 2008, the FSWG will publish the internal audit kit and the NGOs Exit Progress Note. Their plans for 2008 include revising board training on monitoring financial performance to add to the internal audit and exploring a toolkit for housing finance. Market Facilitation: Moving from Market Assessment & Design to Action NEW The SEEP Network and the Livelihoods Network look to expand practitioner-led learning on market facilitation practices and tools and facilitate broader interactions among the global community of donors and practitioners. A wide body of guidance and tools on market research and program design is available, but far fewer resources exist on implementation. The two global networks will identify how to assist in working effectively through markets, build relationships, to use subsides strategically, promote copy cats and determine the pros and cons of different approaches to market facilitation. Economic Recovery in Crisis-Affected Environments The guidelines are being developed through a collaborative process, soliciting input and brief case study examples from a wide range of SEEP members and other organizations. SEEP is coordinating the development of these guidelines with the Sphere Project, with the aim to have the guidelines incorporated as a ‘companion module’ to the next revision of the Sphere Handbook. The guidelines will be ready for a first review in summer 2008, and will be launched for field testing and further intensive review at SEEP’s Annual Conference in October 2008. Social Performance This Social Performance Working Group is in the process of completing a map, which will summarize social performance experience, knowledge, initiatives, and approaches to date from the NGO, private, and microfinance sectors. The goal being to provide stakeholders with comprehensive information to make more informed decisions regarding, for example, program management or social investment. It will also help them to align expectations with what is feasible or desirable. Social Enterprise NEW This working group is a brand new initiative that will begin in the spring of 2008. The working group aims to summarize the benefits, synergies, and risks of poverty alleviation practices as they relate to social enterprise. Through the experiences of SEEP members, the working group will frame issues into a structure that lays the foundation for social enterprise methodology in the context of international economic development. HIV & AIDS and Microenterprise Development In spring 2008, SEEP will launch a new site which will include the on-line version of the SEEP Guide Microenterprise Development in HIV/AIDS Affected Areas. The site will promote greater participation from sector stakeholders and the working group will facilitate discussions around key topics. Poverty Outreach This year the Promising Approaches for Serving the Very Poor Case Studies Series will be published. The resulting publication will provide the microfinance and microenterprise development community with a comprehensive overview of the variety of existing approaches and good practices that are starting to emerge. The paper will summarize what appears to be a common element of programs that serve very poor people and encourage further innovations for poverty downreach through access to financial services and MED services in general. Savings Led Financial Services This working group is in the process of publishing a paper on Community-Managed Microfinance (CMMF) Ratios. The publication will be released in the spring of 2008. Urban Value Chain Development NEW This is an up and coming topic for SEEP in 2008 that is linked to the VALUE Program, a learning initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. IMPACT: Impact Assessment for Market Development NEW Developing strategies and tools for impact assessment of market development and value chain development initiatives. This working group may also consider how some other key social assessment tools can be applied in the market development or value chain development context. For example: poverty assessment, consumer protection and social performance tools.
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