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Theme 3: A training programme addressing attitudes of staff delivering financial services to the rural poor in India: design and evaluation

Negative attitudes of bank staff towards the poor are reported to be an important, but under-researched, component of financial exclusion. A Department For International Development funded research project in India (2001/2002) examining the attitudes of rural bank managers towards their roles as providers of financial services to the poor is outlined. While the majority held negative views, those who had received more training had more positive attitudes. However, many felt the training they had received was inappropriate for rural postings. A follow-on applied research project (2002/2003) funded by the Enterprise Innovation Fund (EDIF-DFID) addressed this issue by surveying clients’ and staff’s needs and designing and facilitating an innovative training programme directed at encouraging more positive attitudes of bank staff towards poor clients, and towards their roles in rural poverty alleviation. The development of the modular training programme, with its foci on staff trainees as individuals, and on their roles in their organization and in relation to poverty alleviation, is described. The training implementation and the results of its evaluation, conducted before, during, and after the training process, are reported. Issues of impact and the mainstreaming of the training initiative are noted.

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