Grameen Jameel

2014 GJ Awards

Announcing the 2014 Grameen-Jameel Award Winners

Grameen-Jameel (GJ) was pleased to introduce the GJ Microfinance awards program which recognizes Arab microfinance institutions that demonstrate excellence in the following categories:

1) Innovation
2) Leadership
3) Sustainable Growth

Award winners were announced at the Sanabel Tenth Annual Conference in September 2014.

Grameen-Jameel Innovation Award

Innovation Award was given to National Finance Bank

Award Criteria:

This award is given to the MFI that demonstrates innovation in product development in two of the following areas:

  1. Target Group – Innovation in targeting a segment that has been excluded or underserved by microfinance example youth and agriculture.
  2. Product Design – Innovation in Product design may include the introduction of a new product that had never previously been offered in the region or modification of an existing product that expands the flexibility of the product and enhances the accessibility of microfinance to the unserved poor example youth, rural, microinsurance etc.
  3. Technology – Innovation in the introduction of new technology that facilitates improved access to underserved regions or results in a rapid increase in efficiency and reduction in operating expenses.

The key element to be considered for this award will be how the MFI has advanced poverty alleviation through the practice of microfinance in the region through new thinking, design and action. Quantifiable demonstrations of impact resulting from the innovative activity will also aid the candidacy of the applicant.

Grameen-Jameel Leadership Award

Leadership Award was given to Al Amana Microfinance

This award is given to the MFI that demonstrates leadership in the MF sector across the region, or globally. A focus will be made this year on Leadership in Social Performance Management. Leadership of the MFI will be measured in at least four of the following areas:

  1. Have a strategic vision in place with regard to social performance management, which is imbedded in the institution’s business plan
  2. The MFI is a leader in client protection and transparent pricing, – can be evidenced by sharing information online on its operational and social performances (own website, mix market, MF Transparency) commitment to Smart Campaign principles, set up of a dedicated client hotline, setup of conflict resolution processes.
  3. Leadership and commitment in reaching the poor and poorest in the MFIs area of operation for example youth, farmers, new entrepreneurs, or by serving remote/isolated areas.
  4. Leadership effectiveness and MFI performance to meet institutional goals in terms of social performance – can be evidenced by social ratings, mix market rating, etc.
  5. Successfully leading an institution through change, reinventing itself and constantly improving to meet client’s needs – For example, the institution making changes to their operations to adapt to change (Internal or External) by introducing new products, new technology or enhanced processes.
  6. The role the MFI plays amongst its peers, setting the example for others
  7. Staff development including innovative leadership programs, internal training practices, or incentive schemes

A leading MFI is considered an MFI which has been in operation for at least 10 years, is adhering to sound practices, has strong social performance management, is considered a role model by other MFIs, is efficient and has proven to be a leader. This award recognizes excellence, particularly as a result of improvement, as well as influence over the practices of other MFIs in the region.

Grameen-Jameel Sustainable Growth Award

Sustainable Growth Award was given to Alexandria Business Association

This award is given to the MFI that achieves sustainable growth; defined through the following:

  1. Client outreach: increase in active number of clients at institution level (Growth rate), utilizing social performance management tools to ensure MFI is specifically targeting the poor.
  2. Market share (penetration rate)
  3. Maintaining healthy financial and operational performance (FSS, OSS)
  4. Maintaining good portfolio quality (PAR> 30 days including write offs) and client retention.

Judges will look for a historical trend of growth as well as exceptional growth within the previous year while maintaining or improving financial sustainability and portfolio quality. Although client and portfolio growth will be critical data points for consideration, information on market share, geographic expansion and penetration should also be incorporated into the application, particularly if geographic expansion includes entry into previously unserved areas with high concentrations of poor people.