My Turn to Speak: Voices of Microfinance Clients in Benin, Pakistan, Peru and Georgia

26 Feb 2016

The Smart Campaign, a global organization working to promote a set of Client Protection Principles in the financial inclusion sector, has long recognized that client perspectives were underrepresented in consumer protection discussions. With the Client Voices project, the Campaign questioned whether assumptions made about what constitutes problematic treatment rightly reflected what clients themselves worry about.

To address this gap, the Campaign launched the Client Voices project, an ambitious research endeavor involving quantitative and qualitative research in Benin, Pakistan, Peru, and Georgia. The dual objectives of the project Executive Summary were (1) to solicit input from clients about what they consider good and bad treatment in their interactions with microfinance service providers; and (2) to assess the prevalence of consumer protection problems among microfinance clients using national quantitative surveys. The project is designed to act as a catalyst for local actors including regulators, microfinance associations, consumer advocacy groups, and others in each of the four markets to make improvements to client protection that is grounded in client feedback.

Client Voices Benin Country Report

31 Oct 2015

This report presents key findings from qualitative and quantitative research for the Smart Campaign’s Client Voices project. This research project aims to understand what MFI clients consider both problematic and good treatment by MFIs, and to assess how common problems are in four markets: Pakistan, Benin, Peru, and Georgia. The research in Benin took place from May through October, 2014.

First, BFA and Centre pour L’Environment et le Développement en Afrique, Benin (CEDA Benin) carried out qualitative research using focus group discussions and individual interviews to solicit clients’ ideas about what constitutes good and bad treatment from all institutions that they interact with in their daily lives, including but not limited to MFIs. Second, BFA and CEDA Benin used a national survey of 1,733 Beninois (1,028 current MFI clients, 526 former clients, and 179 non-clients) to evaluate the prevalence of the problems mentioned in the qualitative research at a national level in Benin. The most concerning problems uncovered by this research project in Benin include clients being unable to withdraw their savings, lack of understanding of the costs associated with borrowing, and clients not being informed of where they can complain if something goes wrong.