Institutionalizing Client Assessment: The Activists for Social Alternatives—India

This SEEP Progress Note is based on the experience of ASA (Activists for Social Alternatives) in institutionalizing a client assessment and monitoring system in southern India. The organization’s experience demonstrates that client assessment efforts – including listening to clients and staff for feedback, assessing program impact, discovering whether the organization is reaching its target group, and taking action to expand scale and improve institutional sustainability – are worthwhile. Other microfinance institutions (MFIs) can learn from the tools adopted by ASA and from the considerations taken into account when designing a client assessment and monitoring system.

Among the tools developed or adapted for use by ASA are:

  • An excel-based database of all members’ entry-level information to use as a baseline for a future client assessment.
  • Satisfaction Express – a method of providing members the opportunity to offer regular feedback about ASA’s products, services, policies and procedures via a suggestion box and audiotape recorders located at centre.
  • A modified version of the SEEP/AIMS client satisfaction focus group discussion (FGD) to obtain more structured feedback about members’ satisfaction on pre-selected topics. ASA conducts FGDs with current and former members once every six months.
  • Mobile information agents at the ASA information kiosks or VISPS seek feedback from potential and current members.
  • Convening an advisory board of approximately ten non-members in each community covered by one branch, once every six months, to ask why they do not join and whether any unmet demand for financial or development services exists in their communities.
  • The core management team meets with branch staff once a month to get feedback and improve the system.
  • A modified version of the SEEP/AIMS impact and exit surveys are used to get information on poverty and socioeconomic status and satisfaction from both current and former members.
  • The Internal Learning System (ILS) which is a participatory methodology that assesses program impact by getting clients to keep simple pictorial diaries.

This note concludes with a list of the institutional and methodological considerations that have to be taken into account when designing client feedback systems.

  • Resource type
  • Author Gaamaa Hishigsuren
  • Organisation
  • Year of Publication2004
  • Region
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Number of pages6 pp.
  • EditionProgress Note

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