Meeting the needs of the one billion women globally who lack access to financial products and services by investing in inclusive finance institutions seeking to reach them.
Leading the way as a women-focused and women-managed inclusive finance equity fund in the market today.
Honest representation in all aspects of our work.
What Women’s World Banking Asset Management does not stand for:
Unauthorized use of our name to promote false fundraising opportunities.
Fraudulent impersonation of any member of our team.
Misleading statements about Women’s World Banking,Women’s World Banking Asset Management,Women’s World Banking Capital Partners, its partners or the one billion women globally who can be empowered by better access to financial products and services.
Anyone who attempts to use our name for scamming or illegal activity will be reported to local authorities.
Information about Women’s World Banking’s staff, executives, board members and its activities is available on our website at www.womensworldbanking.org. We can also be contacted through our website for any inquiries or information. Please join us in our mission to drive economic opportunity for the largest emerging market there is – women.
Women’s World Banking is an architect of a world where women thrive, businesses flourish, and economies grow. We look forward to continuing on our mission and welcome true partners in making our plans a reality.
Women’s World Banking is working towards a day where all women have access to the financial products and resources they need to achieve security and prosperity.
Meet the newest members of the Women’s World Banking team Click To Tweet
But with more than one billion women around the world who remain outside the formal financial system, Women’s World Banking needs big ideas and the talent to deliver on innovative solutions that will drive not just access to formal financial services, but active usage of them as well.
This year, Women’s World Banking is proud to introduce the latest class in its growing Global Team, investing in new teams and new capabilities to achieve its ambitious target of reaching 24 million women with financial services in five years.
Meet our newest faces:
Hana Benkirane joined Women’s World Banking as a PR and Communications Manager in the Marketing and Communications Team. In this role, Hana is responsible for leading the organization’s public relations efforts in order to reach target audiences and support our work as the thought leader on women’s financial inclusion. She designs integrated communications campaigns to develop relationships with key media contacts and influencers in order to support Women’s World Banking’s overall brand and thought leadership efforts. Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, Hana worked for Allen & Overy, Sullivan & Cromwell and BzzAgent. She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Management from Bentley University and a Master of Scienc in International Economics from Utrecht University.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? I am truly passionate about the Women’s World Banking mission and was very impressed with the caliber of smart, driven people that are all working together to make a difference.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? I am excited to create unique, thought leadership campaigns that showcase our work and the impact of our partnerships and research on the lives of women all around the world.
What is a surprising fact about you? I have moved 17 times!
Angie Goenaga joined Women’s World Banking as Private Equity Investment Analyst with Women’s World Banking Asset Management. In this role, she conducts financial analysis on portfolio companies and prospective investments and sector and market research and provide general support to the investment team. She previously worked as an investment banker for Dinamo, a boutique investment bank in the Andean region, where she executed several transactions focused on development projects and agriculture. She also worked for Titularizadora Colombiana, the largest securitization company in Colombia, as a market development and investment analyst. Angie has an MS Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a B.E. Industrial Engineering at Universidad de los Andes
She received a Merit Scholarship SPS from Columbia University in Spring 2018. She was also the president of the Latin America Sustainability Management student club at Columbia University.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? I was excited about the possibility of empowering women in the developing world.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? It gives the opportunity to bring my experience in financial services and use it for inclusion. I’m passionate about pivoting companies towards success in a way that is inclusive for everyone.
What is a surprising fact about you? I did a dual degree in Arts, when I was in college with focus on exhibition design.
Mansi Gupta joined Women’s World Banking as a Design Specialist with the Design and Innovation team. In this role, Mansi works closely with the Research & Strategic Advisory teams to help drive our solutions development with a design and behavioral lens. She previously worked at Final Mile, based out of Mumbai, as a social impact designer leading research and insights in healthcare and sanitation. She also built the design team at a footwear factory in India, and worked as an account manager for Google’s Enterprise team. She holds a BA in Economics & Computer Science from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA in Products of Design from the School of Visual Arts.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? I wanted to work at Women’s World Banking because it’s where three of my interests came together: women’s empowerment, design and behavior change.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? I’m excited to join Women’s World Banking as it tries to decipher what design can mean for the organization and its mission at large.
What is a surprising fact about you? I once taught computer science to home-schooled children using robots!
Freeha Ihsan joined Women’s World Banking as a Fellow in the Project Management Office. She supports project implementation for our market solutions work, coordinating with different teams for optimal utilization of resources to drive better results for financial inclusion of women. She previously worked as a Program Officer at World Learning Inc., in Pakistan, a USAID-funded project for women empowerment via technical training and entrepreneurship. She holds a BA in Public Administration from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan and a Master’s Degree of Science in Management from University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? Before joining here, I worked for women economic empowerment in Pakistan. The halt in the process of women economic empowerment was that women don’t have access to finance along with unavailability of women focused financial products in market even they have skills to start their business. I wanted to work at Women’s World Banking for the mission of providing more women access to finance and financial tools specifically designed for women.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? I am excited to work with diverse teams as part of the process of providing women-centered solutions for financial inclusion.
What is a surprising fact about you? I have done Paragliding.
Mehrdad (Mehi) Mirpourian
Mehrdad (Mehi) Mirpourian joined Women’s World Banking as a Senior Data Analyst with the Research team. In this role, Mehi deploys advanced analytics to build predictive modeling, customer and market segmentation, and provide better insight into the data to support different projects and teams within Women’s World Banking. Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, he was a Statistician (Fraud Data Scientist) with the New York City Department of Finance. Mehi holds the following degrees: MS in Statistics (Baruch College), MS in Management (Polytechnic University of Milan), BS in Industrial Engineering (K.N.Toosi University of Technology), Non Degree Graduate Studies in Mathematics and Computer Science (ongoing program – Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU). He is a member of the Social Innovation Group of Polytechnic University of Milan and the Iranian Society of Industrial Engineers.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? From the time I finished high school, I knew that I have the passion to work for nonprofit organizations and seeking to work in environments which make this world a better place to live. On the other hand, I had the passion to know more about physics and mathematics. Working in Women’s World Banking gives me this wonderful opportunity to use statistics in Women’s empowerment and financial inclusion. I find the mission of Women’s World Banking highly in line with my passion. This is a great organization with professional enthusiastic people.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? Happy, professional, dedicated people
What is a surprising fact about you? I enjoy doing sports, listening music, acting and watching theater and movies, and being in nature. I used to do mountain climbing for 7 years and I met my wife in an Alpine club and now we both prefer to go to a safe hiking instead of mountain climbing.
Ker Thao joined Women’s World Banking as a Design Specialist with the Design and Innovation team. In this role, Ker uses a spectrum of design techniques and methodologies to develop high effective innovative financial inclusion solutions for women, in order to establish Women’s World Banking as a thought leader and industry expert. He has a BFA, Graphic Design from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and an MFA in Transdisciplinary Design from Parsons School of Design.
Why did you want to work at Women’s World Banking? I have always been passionate about using design as a way to look at the world’s complex issues, to challenge the status quo and to create social impact for underserved and underrepresented communities. Being a part of an organization with a women-centered mission is really motivating.
What excites you about working at Women’s World Banking? What really excites me about working at Women’s World Banking are my colleagues who are just as passionate, if not more, about creating change for so many women in the world. It is rare to see an organization with so many driven individuals.
What is a surprising fact about you? I was a cheerleader for two years in high school and it was the highlight of my experience.
June 25, 2018
By Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO
This article was first posted on LinkedIn.
Last fall, I was honored to join leading researchers and practitioners at a symposium at the University of Michigan to discuss one of the greatest drivers in financial services for the next decade: behavioral finance.
Making finance work for women means designing around behavioral barriers Click To Tweet
Behavioral finance is the study of the impact of behavioral biases and tendencies on financial decisions, and in turn how those decisions affect financial markets. For an organization like ours, dedicated to making financial services work for women, this field of research adds an important new tool in helping the industry see women (and low-income women in particular) as a viable market segment.
At this symposium, I shared Women’s World Banking’s approach to using behavioral finance to help financial service providers augment their products and services to reach unbanked and underbanked women.
What works for one group may not work for another
Male and female consumers engage with financial institutions, products, and other resources differently. Yet, financial institutions rarely consider these differences in serving them. As a result, they do not adequately design products tailored to women, or do not properly train client-facing staff to serve women with these products, thus making financial services inaccessible or off-putting to women.
The problem isn’t just the product
Women throughout the world consistently report similar barriers to inclusion. One factor is physical distance. In many countries, women typically spend more of their day closer to home than men do and place a higher premium on convenience. Financial service providers need to seek new ways to connect with women and bring banking services to them.
But physical distance isn’t the only barrier women face—many women experience an “emotional distance” when interacting with financial institutions as well. Women frequently report that their local institutions do not sufficiently represent their interests, making them less likely to engage with these institutions.
Designing programs around behavioral barriers
Women’s World Banking’s partnership with the Pakistani mobile network operator Jazz provides a good model for bridging this distance. Its mobile money product, JazzCash, is a bank account that can be operated through a mobile phone to send and receive money or to make deposits or withdrawals. JazzCash is designed to break down the barrier of physical distance by allowing women to conduct typical banking services with their mobile phone.
Nevertheless, women’s usage rates remained low with the program. Jazz asked Women’s World Banking to help them determine why. We looked at the company’s customer onboarding process and found that the principal way JazzCash acquired new customers was through an agent network. Most of those agents were men, and signup required the customer to provide the agent with personal information, including a phone number—something Pakistani women were uncomfortable doing, thus exacerbating the sense of emotional distance.
The JazzCash experience vividly illustrates how minor tweaks in what behavioral scientists call “choice architecture” can have big differences in the ways individuals interact with financial institutions and the success of a financial product.
There’s an exciting market opportunity for financial service providers that take a women-centered approach when designing and marketing products for women. Behavioral finance can point the way to success with often simple, common sense modifications to “business as usual.”
Behavioral Finance Symposium September 14-15, 2017. Ann Arbor, Michigan co-hosted by the University of Michigan Center on Finance, Law, and Policy and ideas42
By Shilpi Shastri, Specialist, Strategic Advisory (Insurance)
June 18, 2018
Health microinsurance has often been considered a complex product that is probably not worth investing in, rather than a solution that provides meaningful benefits to the consumers and strategic advantage to the insurers and distributors. Driving value and promoting usage, the theory goes, would be unsustainable. The success and sustainability of Hemayet Lead, a hospital cash and life microinsurance product in Egypt blows that assumption out of the water.
What should you track to know if microinsurance is delivering on its promise to clients? Click To Tweet
Women’s World Banking conducted research in 2014 with network member Lead Foundation’s clients who are mostly low-income women entrepreneurs. We found a need for an insurance solution that would function as an income replacement tool during hospitalization emergencies.
With seed support from Agence France de Developpement, Women’s World Banking and Lead developed Hemayet Lead (meaning “protection by Lead”), a hospital cash product with a life insurance component linked to a client’s loan term. Additional funding from Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) and Visa, Inc. allowed us to scale the product to the rest of Lead’s branches as well as enhance the delivery quality.
A Client-centric Definition of Microinsurance Success
At the outset of the project, Women’s World Banking and Lead agreed to measure the success of the program according to product usage or claims frequency, i.e. are the customers are using the insurance or not? Both parties felt that this indicator kept the focus on providing the most value to the consumer while ensuring long term sustainability of the product.
We designed Hemayet Lead’s pricing based on actuarial calculations of the population’s health profile and trends. If the actual claims frequency is lower than the target, it raises a flag for the service providers to investigate and remove bottlenecks.
What causes low claims frequency? Clients might forget they have insurance (lack of awareness); they might not find the benefit amount to be worthwhile; the claims process is too cumbersome; they don’t trust that they will get any money from insurance or they may feel embarrassed or hesitant in asking for money even if it’s rightfully theirs.
Identifying product usage as our measure of success begged the question: how might be know what’s driving usage? Our experience in Egypt led us to our hypothesis, that if clients are not aware of the insurance in the first place, they will not use it.
If She Doesn’t Know about the Insurance, Does it Even Exist?
Hemayet Lead was piloted in 3 branches starting December 2015. The mid-term assessment, conducted 3 months into the pilot, showed that the claims frequency varied across the three branches and loan types (group vs. individual loan clients).
Women’s World Banking conducted interviews with clients and branch staff to get a grasp of the problem. These conversations, as well as observations of product delivery revealed that loan officer communication to clients was inconsistent and that clients’ understanding of product features varied greatly.
It was during this early evaluation that Lead and Women’s World Banking first hypothesized that lack of awareness causes low claims frequency. We conducted a phone survey to verify this hypothesis and assess gaps in client awareness and how it related to product usage.
The survey found that a tenth of the clients had no idea they had insurance, and that of those who were aware, many could not name more than 3 features of the product or how to file a claim. But there was also good news.
The interviews revealed that the product was, when used, performing as we wanted. Clients found the benefit meaningful, though at first, “I didn’t think it would work”. Once they received the benefit however, they were pleasantly surprised, which reinforced their trust in Lead. One client noted, “I trust Lead more now because they give me the impression that they care for us.”
These findings underscored the need of simplifying communication and creating reminders as clients tend to forget about the insurance over time. Women’s World Banking and Lead adjusted the marketing approach to focus around 3 most important features of the product (per night benefit amount, hospital discharge certificate requirement and life insurance benefit amount). We also doubled down on visibility items (posters etc.) in the branches as a reminder to the clients about insurance.
Women’s World Banking and Lead continued to optimize operations and client communication throughout the pilot based on monitoring client awareness. The result? Today, 100 percent of Lead’s 200,000 clients across all 18 branches have insurance which they find meaningful. Lead has also been able to position itself as a thought leader in the industry. They are the first financial institution in the country with a commercially sustainable, self-funded micro health and life insurance scheme.
Driving Value for Clients is Good for Business
Hemayet Lead achieved breakeven in just two years of operations by focusing on increasing client value through improved service quality and efficiency. The surplus generated from the business profits is being passed on to the clients. Lead improved pricing and increased the benefit amount for hospitalization to 300 EGP (from 250 EGP) at no additional cost.
This is a win for all – Lead and its clients, insurers, Women’s World Banking and our donors.
June 4, 2018
By Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation
Emma Morales’ business instinct is something even Warren Buffet would admire. As the 2002 Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year winner at the regional level, Emma embodies what it means to be a business woman.
Ever wonder how a small idea turns into a big business? Here’s how Emma Morales did it Click To Tweet
With only a high school diploma and the work experience of harvesting in rice paddies in Manapla, Negros Occidental, Emma started her growing portfolio of business with a sundries store near her home. Seeing opportunity to expand in the food business, she started a karinderia (eatery), then another, employing six workers in total. Through this venture she learned many skills: planning, management, finance, marketing, simple bookkeeping, negotiations and supplier/customer relations.
Success notwithstanding, Emma has always made it a point to share her blessings, be it by employing her neighbors to raise pigs in her farm or by supporting local infrastructure projects, from the construction of street lights in her neighborhood or the repair of bridges and construction of canals near the public market. She even lets the community use her multi-cab to bring patients to the nearby Provincial Hospital for free in the case of emergencies!
“Refer a friend and get $10 off your next order!” I would bet that most readers of this blog have received a message like this at some point, encouraging customers to invite friends to use a certain product or service. I would also bet that a much smaller number of readers actually acted on that message.
Using #behavioralscience to drive women’s financial inclusion in Pakistan with @JazzCash and… Click To Tweet
What prevents more people from sending referrals? Women’s World Banking, in collaboration with behavioral design firm ideas42, set out to answer this question in the context of women’s financial inclusion in Pakistan. Specifically, we wanted to find out how we might get more women to sign up for JazzCash mobile accounts through referrals.
The opportunity: Onboard more women to mobile accounts through referrals
We became interested in this particular design challenge when our analysis of the JazzCash database found that referrals were already a relatively effective channel for onboarding women users. New JazzCash customers sign up for an account in three ways: by themselves directly on their phones, referrals from current JazzCash users, or at a JazzCash agent location. The data showed that while a greater percentage of active male customers are onboarded at agents compared to referrals, the opposite is true for women.
Our team set out to use behavioral science to enable referrals to reach even more new women customers.
The overarching objective of our partnership with Jazz, Pakistan’s leading mobile network operator, is to increase women’s uptake of the JazzCash mobile account. While JazzCash has achieved a commendable 25% growth in its women customer base in the past year, as of April 2018, still only 18% of all JazzCash accounts were held by women. The 2017 Global Findex underscores the need for solutions to advance women’s financial inclusion in Pakistan, where only 7% of women have an account at a formal financial institution and the gender gap in account ownership has increased in recent years to 28 percentage points.
Our approach: behavioral design & A/B testing
Women’s World Banking partnered with ideas42 to design and test behaviorally-informed text messages to encourage current JazzCash users to send more referrals to women. The first step in this process was to use behavioral mapping techniques to identify the key behavioral barriers limiting the onboarding of new women customers through referrals. These barriers include: the option to invite a friend may not be salient to users; a lack of social proof about sending invitations; no feeling of reciprocity or obligation to send referrals; and forgetting to send the invitation after intending to.
We then developed various text messages to address these barriers, and tested their effectiveness using A/B testing methodology. For those not familiar with this approach, A/B testing involves rapidly testing different variations of an intervention, also called “treatments,” in parallel on various treatment groups of similar profile, in order to compare the effectiveness of Intervention A against that of Intervention B (and C, D, etc.). Our test comprised six different messages sent to six different treatment groups of approximately 35,000 users each, which were compared against a control group that received no messages.
1. Behaviorally-informed messages are effective in getting more users to send referrals. All six messages had a statistically significant impact on the percent of users sending invitations, compared to the control group, achieving up to a 60% increase. Interestingly, the effect of the messages was greater among women, for all messages except Salience.
2. Women respond more to gender-centric language. Some of our messages used women-centric language, such as specifically mentioning women friends, mothers, sisters, etc., while other messages did not. The test results indicate that when we use women-centric language, women users respond by sending significantly more referrals to women. The behavior of men users does not change significantly whether the message contains gender-neutral or women-centric language.
Why do these results matter?
Sending out promotional messages is a low-cost intervention that digital financial service providers can implement relatively easily. For providers that already send promotional messages, tweaking the language of those messages to encourage inclusion of more women comes at zero additional cost. The insight on the power of women-centric language in particular has the ability to help DFS providers such as JazzCash to bridge the gender gap in their customer base by reaching more new women users.
Bringing more women into the formal financial system is not only a market growth opportunity for DFS providers, but also a requirement for successfully meeting the targets Pakistan’s government and State Bank have defined in the country’s 2020 National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The persistent low rate of women’s financial inclusion in Pakistan will hold back progress on these goals if it is not addressed.
We are working with JazzCash to apply insights from this A/B testing project to their business-as-usual promotional messages, in order to scale the results and help accelerate growth of their female customer base. We also have a follow-up test in the works, to build on our initial learnings and understand how combinations of women-centric language, incentive, social norm, and reciprocity messaging might be even more effective at reaching new women customers. Watch this space!
Have you tried using behaviorally informed messages or women-centric language to onboard more women? Let us know! Comment below or tweet at us (@womensworldbnkg and @megflhrty) to tell us about your experience and what you learned.
This project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Unbanked women make up an untapped market of nearly one billion. Research has shown that women are natural savers but because they lack access to savings and financial tools, they are pressured to provide their income to family members rather than saving or investing it themselves.
Making digital savings work for women: lessons from #SheCountsChat Click To Tweet
Recognizing this gap in the market, like-minded organizations ExxonMobil, the Center for Global Development, TechnoServe, Vodacom and Mercy Corps launched an innovative pilot program to provide mobile saving accounts and business training to more than 5,000 entrepreneurs in Indonesia and Tanzania. The learnings in this program resulted in the launch of SheCounts earlier this year, a global platform powered by Women’s World Banking, the Center for Global Development and ExxonMobil to harness the power of the public and private sector to put new financial tools in the hands of women around the world.
In order to bring the opportunity of serving more low-income with digital savings to a broader audience, Women’s World Banking hosted a Twitter chat on Wednesday, May 16: We All Win When She Saves #SheCountsChat. We heard from three organizations about how they’re helping women build a better future through digital savings while creating a more sustainable business.
A1: Financial services increase a woman's ability to make decisions in the best interests of herself, her children. Access to quality & affordable financial services are also imperative conditions towards fostering greater women’s economic empowerment #SDG5#SheCountsChat#gender
A2.3: However, though #women prefer to save, their access to #financial services lags behind men's: the global gender gap in account ownership is 7% points. In developing countries it’s 9% points. #SheCountsChat
Research and Product Design Must be Women-Centered
Q4...Women remain a largely untapped market because financial products are not designed to meet their needs. It is therefore vital to listen to women and take their specific concerns to design digital savings. #SheCountsChat
A8: By working together closely in understanding the female market segment, developing internal capacity & supporting culture change to effectively serve women clients #SheCountsChathttps://t.co/3wMU7Phh0N
A7.1: #Digital savings is a relatively new product for #women. In order to figure out “what works,” #financial service providers must rigorously collect data on their clients and sex-disaggregate them. #SheCountsChat
A7..2 Mining and tracking appropriate data empowers financial service providers with the information they need to know how well they’re serving women, to make a business case for serving women, to make strategic decisions and to monitor performance over time.#SheCountsChat
She Counts welcomes institutions that demonstrate criteria of a well-designed saving solution that enables women to overcome barriers in accessing and using savings products, such as doorstep banking, agent training, and marketing geared towards women’s pain points. Members are also required to provide gender-disaggregated data to track reach and women’s financial behavior.
She Counts works with financial services providers to put savings and financial tools in the hands of women, enabling them to save securely, invest in their business and transform their lives. More on SheCounts.com.
By Gayle Gatchalian, Specialist, Knowledge and Communications
May 10, 2018
Few people stop to wonder, until they become parents themselves, how moms manage to do everything that they do. Usually up before anyone else in home and the last to go to sleep, Mom will get breakfast ready, get the kids to school, clean the house, plan, budget and shop for the home and have dinner ready when everyone gets home.
Sounds like a full day for a regular person right?
Well that’s just half the story. Mom does all of the above… and runs her small business or goes to her job at the office, factory or other place of employment.
We at Women’s World Banking know that women are short on time and long on responsibilities. That’s why work with financial service providers around the world to develop financial tools that not only meet her complex needs, but ensure that they are accessible, meaningful and easy for her to use.
A better way to save
We know from our research that low-income women are inherent savers. They are expected to (and do!) manage the household’s finances, juggling day to day needs while making sure that school fees are paid and health emergencies are covered. Too often however, they are forced to save in unreliable ways: at home in a drawer, by buying excess stock for their businesses or in neighborhood savings clubs because banks do not have savings products that work for them.
We’ve worked on a number of products to give women a chance to save safely in a formal way. With Diamond Bank in Nigeria, we developed the BETA Savings which can be opened in less than five minutes and has no minimum balance and no monthly fees. Agents called BETA Friends visit a customer’s business to open accounts and handle transactions, including deposit and withdrawal, using a mobile phone application.
With NBS Bank in Malawi, we developed Pafupi Savings—the first-of-its-kind account in the country—which allows small deposits, charges no monthly fees, and it operates through agents in conveniently located rural shops. We’ve made the account even more accessible to rural women where bank branches or ATMs could be as far as three hours away. By linking up with a local microfinance organization, Pafupi gives members a secure, convenient option for individual formal banking alongside their group savings which they never had before.
The desire to save for her kids is also a great motivator to get Mom to open, and better yet, save even more for her child’s future. One of the youth savings accounts we developed with Diamond Bank was a parent-monitored account for youth aged 13-17: CoolTeens. When our team visited to conduct an evaluation last year, they found that account balances of mothers are consistently higher than fathers and that the highest balances are for mothers saving for their daughters… a whole 2x higher when we compare with fathers saving for their sons!
Caring for her health
One of Mom’s top priorities is making sure everyone is healthy, sometimes at her own expense. We’ve observed that globally, women put the well-being of their children and their work first. When they feel unwell, they tend to ignore the symptoms, rely on home remedies or use over-the-counter drugs to control the symptoms.
Can We Make Health Microinsurance Work for Women for $2 a Month? - YouTube
Women only seek healthcare with the pain is unbearable or for pregnancy and childbirth. Unfortunately, most insurance schemes actually exclude pregnancy and childbirth from the conditions they cover. That’s why all our microinsurance solutions for women cover their maternal health. We piloted this approach in Jordan and have since expanded the Caregiver concept to Egypt, Morocco, Uganda and India.
No longer will Mom have to dip into her savings, sell assets, decapitalize her business, borrow from friends, family or informal money lenders when she is sick. She can take care of her health without risking falling deeper into poverty.
When we give moms the financial tools and resources they need to manage her financial life, she can build a better future for herself and her family.
Happy Mother’s Day, from all of us at Women’s World Banking!
¿Cómo funciona realmente la innovación centrada en los clientes? El pasado mes de noviembre tuve el privilegio de ser testigo de ello yo misma, durante una visita de exposición de cuatro días a la Fundación delamujer en Colombia, miembro de la Red de Women’s World Banking, ,. Acompañé a la alta gerencia de Lead Foundation (Lead), también miembro de nuestra Red, junto con nuestro Director de Microseguros, Gilles Renouil.
La visita facilitó el intercambio de las mejores prácticas y lecciones aprendidas por Fundación delamujer a Lead Foundation, en las etapas de diseño e implementación de productos de crédito rural y microseguros. Recientemente Lead lanzó un programa piloto de crédito rural.
Los participantes en el intercambio con los analistas de crédito de Fundación delamujer.
En el transcurso de la visita, se puso de manifiesto que Fundación delamujer es una institución increíblemente innovadora, con una advertencia importante: no es innovadora simplemente en aras de la innovación. La institución se guía por el objetivo de atender las necesidades de sus clientes – tan sólo introduce cambios donde estos cumplan su objetivo de mejorar los productos y servicios. Al mismo tiempo, cualquier cambio afecta a su cliente interno – el personal – y la institución considera cómo estos afectarán su día a día. Se aseguran de que toda la capacitación y recursos adecuados estén a punto para lograr que los cambios permanezcan allí donde demuestren que funcionan bien para los clientes.
Conocimos el planteamiento de Fundación delamujer respecto a la innovación centrada en los clientes, que se basa en dos inversiones claves: la digitalización de las operaciones y la gestión del conocimiento.
Invertir en la digitalización de las operaciones
Fundación delamujer está presente en el 92% de Colombia, incluyendo poblaciones rurales dispersas por el campo. La digitalización de las operaciones ofreció una manera de reducir los tiempos de respuesta en el procesamiento de las solicitudes de crédito, al tiempo que se incrementaba significativamente la productividad de su personal.
La institución introdujo una aplicación móvil con una sincronización en tiempo real con su sistema de información gerencial. Con esta aplicación, los analistas de crédito pueden introducir la información de un cliente o clienta potencial directamente en el campo y recibir retroalimentación inmediata sobre su historial crediticio con la institución, información sobre la calificación del crédito y cualquier deuda pendiente en el sistema. Además de agilizar la selección en cuanto a la idoneidad de los solicitantes, la aplicación ayuda a los analistas a manejar las expectativas de los clientes potenciales y a evitar la pérdida de tiempo valioso que podría dedicarse a trabajar con otros clientes que tengan una actividad generadora de ingresos.
Los participantes en el intercambio asisten a una reunión de analistas de crédito de Fundación delamujer.
La aplicación se puso a prueba durante un periodo de cuatro meses con un planteamiento de gestión de cambio de arriba a abajo: lanzándola primero entre los directores regionales y produciéndose luego un efecto cascada hasta llegar al personal de las sucursales. El proceso ha logrado un gran éxito: el tiempo total de adopción de la tecnología por parte de un Analista de Crédito es de tan solo 15 días. Por último, la aplicación permite a la institución mantener un registro completo de todas las interacciones del Analista de Crédito con un cliente, lo que es fundamental para asegurar un servicio eficiente al cliente.
Para Lead Foundation, esta exposición fue muy oportuna puesto que la institución se encuentra en pleno desarrollo de sus operaciones y podría dar prioridad a la integración de las prácticas óptimas que se observaron.
El Gerente de Capacitación e Investigación de Lead, George Shihata, destacó el valor de esta inversión: “integrar la digitalización en el proceso de la evaluación financiera y la aprobación del préstamo es una ventaja principal [para] la institución”, una que mejora la experiencia del cliente y del personal eliminando las ineficiencias potenciales del proceso de selección, tanto para el personal como para los clientes potenciales.
Invertir en la gestión del conocimiento
Las empresas rurales son muy distintas de las empresas en los mercados urbanos.Un componente fundamental de los préstamos dirigidos al segmento rural es una profunda comprensión de la manera en la cual funcionan las actividades rurales. El análisis de la competencia realizado por Fundación delamujer antes de rediseñar sus productos rurales, reveló que otras instituciones en el mercado estaban tomando en su gran mayoría un producto de crédito urbano e introduciéndolo en el sector rural sin ningún cambio. ¿El resultado? Una gran parte de la población rural seguía estando desatendida o bien recibía escasos servicios.
Con vistas a atender adecuadamente las necesidades no satisfechas del segmento, Fundación delamujer se centró en asegurarse de que sus Analistas de Crédito cuentan con la información que precisan para realizar un análisis financiero adecuado de las actividades rurales a través de la capacitación y de herramientas de aprendizaje adicionales.
Los participantes en el intercambio asisten a una presentación formal en la sede de Fundación delamujer.
La capacitación inicial se centra en detallar las actividades regionales específicas y la forma en la que dichas actividades funcionan en cada región (por ej. cómo cultivar café puede ser diferente en la región de Santander versus Antioquía). Un aspecto esencial de la capacitación, es el aprendizaje continuo liderado a nivel de las sucursales, a través del cual el personal de cada sucursal reúne fichas técnicas sobre las actividades rurales: ejemplos de ciclos, costos de producción y cifras de ventas generales basados en un estudio de diez a quince clientes con la misma actividad. Estas fichas se suben a una intranet y están disponibles para todo el personal de las sucursales, creándose una biblioteca viva de conocimiento acerca de las actividades de crédito rural. Esta biblioteca permite al personal de la Fundación delamujer de ser expertos y comprender verdaderamente la manera en la cual los clientes administran sus negocios.
En la medida que Lead Foundation continúa su proyecto piloto de un producto de crédito rural hasta principios de 2018, el equipo está entusiasmado en cuanto a la posibilidad de compilar una biblioteca similar para incrementar la experiencia de su propio personal en este nuevo segmento de mercado. La herramienta de aprendizaje ayudará a los Analistas de Crédito a comprender mejor las actividades de sus clientes y a realizar evaluaciones financieras de manera más efectiva.
Permanecer atentos, mantenerse ágiles
La importancia de evaluar e proponer cambios durante la introducción de nuevas herramientas o procesos surgió repetidas veces durante la visita. Cada una de las inversiones antes mencionadas no fueron iniciativas de una sola vez para renovar un aspecto operacional en Fundación delamujer. Son parte de un proceso evolutivo hacia la innovación, donde la institución pone a prueba, evalúa y realiza los cambios que sean necesarios.
Al digitalizar las operaciones, la institución puso a prueba materiales de capacitación, que son actualizados continuamente en función de las brechas en el conocimiento y la retroalimentación de los participantes.
Con la gestión del conocimiento, Fundación delamujer entendió que aquellos que están más involucrados en las actividades rurales (los clientes) son los que mejor las comprenden. Fundación delamujer insiste en entender cómo sus clientes están administrando sus negocios, qué factores (precios de introducción, precios de venta, etc.) influyen en los resultados de sus actividades y evalúa esto regularmente para entender cómo esto podría cambiar con el tiempo.
El componente fundamental en cada una de las innovaciones realizadas por la institución es el enfoque en la innovación centrada en los clientes. Puede hacerse mucho para incrementar la inclusión financiera de las mujeres, no solo centrándose en el diseño de los productos, sino también mediante la continua comprensión de las actividades productivas de las mujeres y la optimización de las operaciones para llegar a ellas.
Acerca de las instituciones
Fundación delamujer es una de las tres instituciones miembros de la Red de Women’s World Banking que participaron en el proyecto de “Desarrollo de Productos de Crédito Rural con un Enfoque de Género”, lanzado en 2012. El proyecto tenía por objetivo facilitar el acceso a productos de crédito para las poblaciones rurales y hacer visible la contribución económica de las mujeres de áreas rurales a sus unidades familiares. Hacia el final del proyecto, Fundación delamujer desembolsó más de 60.000 préstamos por un promedio de USD 1.000, incluyendo 30.000 préstamos para nuevos clientes. El proyecto fue financiado por el Banco Interamericano d Desarrollo (BID), la Cooperación Irlandesa, Hivos y Credit Suisse, y concluyó en Diceimbre del 2014.
Como parte de su oferta de productos financieros, Fundación delamujer también ofrece productos de microseguros voluntarios, que cubren a más del 90% de los 350.000 clientes activos de la institución.
Lead Foundation es una organización no gubernamental con sede en Egipto que brinda a todos los clientes la oportunidad de avanzar al asociarse con cada cliente, brindando un enfoque profesional para comprender el negocio del cliente y ofreciendo servicios microfinancieros adecuados con una comunicación transparente y sencilla.
Presta servicio a más de 193.000 clientes. Con el apoyo de MetLife Foundation, Women’s World Banking ha colaborado con Lead Foundation para fortalecer y expandir sus productos de crédito individual, incluyendo una expansión rural lanzada en julio de 2017. Con el apoyo de Swiss Capacity Building Facility y Visa, Inc., Women’s World Banking colabora también con Lead Foundation en el desarrollo y la expansión de un producto de microseguro.
April 23, 2018
By Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO
Crossposted on LinkedIn.
For those of us in the financial inclusion world, the release of the Global Findex is like the Olympics, the Oscars, and the World Cup all rolled into one. The data are compiled every three years, providing us with critical information that will guide business decisions, government policies and strategic choices until the next release. To give you a sense of the anticipation surrounding yesterday’s release of the 2017 data: the World Bank website crashed due to excessive demand for access to the database.
What does the latest @GlobalFindex mean for women’s financial inclusion. Our first impressions: Click To Tweet
The Findex is such a rich resource that all of us at Women’s World Banking will be poring over it for weeks to come, but I wanted to share some initial thoughts on what we’re seeing:
What I’m excited about:
More women have an account.
The number of women who have a bank account has gone up 7% in 2014 to 65 percent. Some countries have made particularly strong progress, most notably India (increasing from 35% in 2011 to 80% in 2017). India has also made extraordinary progress on reducing the gender gap from nearly 20% in 2014 to 6% in 2017. Much of this improvement can be contributed to the government’s substantial investment in financial inclusion, including the revolutionary biometric identification system Aadhar. Other markets making significant progress in bringing women into the formal financial system include Ghana and Tajikistan. Add to that list, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mongolia and Argentina where more women than men now have an account.
Government payments lead the way.
The countries making the most progress toward financial inclusion are those that have invested in digitizing welfare payments and other financial transactions. The cost of providing financial services to many low-income people remains too high if digital payments are not an option. This report from the Better than Cash Alliance highlights the important links between digitizing government payments and financial inclusion.
Unfortunately, I found several issues of concern that need to be explored further:
The gender gap stubbornly persists.
Over the eight years that the Global Findex has been compiled, the gender gap in account ownership has not budged at all, remaining at 9% in developing economies. Despite the increase in overall number of accounts, we have not managed to address the systemic barriers women face in accessing financial products and services and driving towards gender parity.
Will technology leave women further behind?
With women ten percent less likely to own a mobile phone and 6 percent less likely to own a phone and have access to Internet (i.e., a proxy for Smartphone ownership), the benefits of the proliferation of digital financial services may not actually reach many low-income women. In Bangladesh, for instance, there is a 29% gender gap in account ownership and men are twice as likely as women to have both a mobile phone and access to the Internet. There is also a 5 percent gender gap amongst those respondents who have made or received a digital payment in the last year. Interestingly, even in the Philippines, where women are more likely to have an account than men, the share of account owners using digital payments is 9 percentage points higher among men than women.
Some markets are moving backwards.
The number of women in both Mexico and Nigeria with an account has decreased from the 2014 Findex, with the gender gap increasing as well. Women’s World Banking is in the process of conducting in-depth market intelligence in those two markets to gain a better understanding of the issues that are causing this downward trajectory.
Should we take a “women-centered design” approach to financial inclusion?
Twenty percent of account owners have made no deposit or withdrawal in the last year. Inactive accounts are a problem globally, but the number is particularly high in South Asia; in fact, India has the largest number of inactive accounts – at 48 percent. Women’s World Banking has recently started three projects in India where we will employ women-centered design techniques to avoid dormancies and increase the usage of financial products by women. We’ll be listening closely to women articulate their needs and then designing products and services to meet them. And, of course, sharing all that we learn!
The Global Findex gives us a rich set of data to measure our progress and identify where we need to re-double our efforts. At Women’s World Banking, this data will inform our work in the priority markets we’ve identified in our latest strategic plan – markets where, according to Findex, nearly 50% of the 1.7bn unbanked people live. Now that we’ve got the data, it’s time to get to work!