Overview of a Smart Assessment
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) funds the Responsible Microfinance Facility (RMF), which launched operations in January 2015 and is working to build capacity and improve practice in social performance management (SPM) in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East North Africa Regions. The Social Performance Task Force is managing the RMF, in collaboration with the Smart Campaign. One type of funding that the RMF offers is co-financing to financial institutions that would like to have a "Smart Assessment." See below for a description of this activity.
Description of a Smart Assessment
A Smart Assessment is a diagnostic assessment of how well your institution is implementing the client protection principles, conducted by a two-person team of assessors external to your institution. The assessment takes your institution through a process of internal review to identify strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately opportunities to enhance its client protection practices. The assessors do some of the work off-site, and some of the work on-site at your institution, and work closely with the leadership of your institution to explain their findings and discuss their recommendations with you. To learn more about client protection assessments, including Smart Assessments, please download A Guide to Client Protection Assessments.
Typically, a Smart Assessment takes 20-25 days total, which include review of documents, report writing, and presentations. 5-7 of these days are worked on-site at your institution.
The Smart Campaign trains and maintains the list of accredited assessors. A Smart Assessment is done by a team of two assessors: one "lead assessor", and one "support assessor." See here for a list of accredited lead assessors. For a list of accredited support assessors, see here. It is the responsibility of your institution to contact possible candidates to find a team that is available to conduct a Smart Assessment at your institution during the dates you propose. The application form below will ask you for information on the assessors you have selected. If you are having a difficult time identifying an available assessor to work with, we encourage you to contact the RMF for support in finding one.
The RMF requires all financial institutions who receive co-financing to share with the RMF information on their experiences, results, and lessons learned. Peer learning is essential to advancing practice in the microfinance sector. Your feedback will be treated as confidential unless you agree to share it publicly. The application form below provides some further information on the RMF's feedback mechanism.
All financial service providers are welcome to apply, regardless of legal form.
See the list of accredit Smart assessors for the language abilities of the various assessors. The reporting you do to the RMF on the results of your upgrade project must occur in English or French, however.
The cost of a Smart Assessment varies according to the daily rates of the lead and support assessor, the total number of days they will spend conducting the assessment, and factors such as whether the assessors are local or have to fly to your country, and. Please see page 6 of this form for a template of a Smart Assessment budget provided by the Smart Campaign, which itemizes each of the costs typically involved in a Smart Assessment. You will fill in this budget after you have identified the assessors with whom you will work, and submit it along with this application. The RMF will co-finance no more than 50% of the total cost of a Smart Assessment. Your institution will be responsible for the remaining 50% of the cost of the Smart Assessment.
RMF procedure to disburse co-financing grant
The RMF will not disburse the co-financing grant to an institution on the date when its application is approved. Instead, it will wait until the institution begins paying for, or using in-kind contribution to implement, its 50% share of the cost. This is to avoid problems that might occur if the RMF contributes 50% but the financial institution is ultimately not able to contribute its 50% share of the cost. Additionally, RMF will pay third-party vendors directly. This means that a portion, or all, of the co-financing may be paid directly to a third party instead of deposited in the account of the institution. In cases where it is not possible for the RMF to pay third-party vendors directly, the institution may pay those vendors directly and then submit receipts to the RMF for reimbursement.
Project start and end dates
To be determined. A question in the application form below asks you for your preferred start date for the Smart Assessment, and also to describe any time constraints you have. The RMF will review applications and do its best to make grants at a time that fits your schedule. Please bear in mind that assessor availability is also limited so in selecting your preferred start date, please double check with the assessors you selected that they are also most likely available at that time.
Deadline to submit application
None. RMF accepts applications on a rolling basis.