Financial Reporting and Analysis
Sharakeh is the focal point for data collection for the microfinance industry in Palestine, consolidating key financial performance information from its members and other operators in the sector. This information is useful to its members for making sound business decisions and to compare their individual results and progress against their peers. For donors and investors it provides a critical source of industry data to better understand the Palestinian microfinance sector’s progress against regional and international standards.
Early in this plan period, members will be asked to provide a broader range of individual MFI data, such as lending volumes by type of activity, gender concentrations, and financial & efficiency ratios. This more detailed data will give a more complete picture of the sector and allow for a more transparent industry.
Sharakeh will also take steps to ensure consistency of information coming from MFIs by collecting raw data that can be more objectively and accurately compared. It will perform further analysis that helps compare efficiency by methodology, and target market by client. In all cases, the data will continue to be collected using SEEP & CGAP standards and coordinated with reporting to the Mix Market.
As part of the regular analysis of performance data from members, Sharakeh will regularly compare Palestinian ratios and averages to those of the MENA region and MFIs globally to identify common weaknesses that should be addressed. Sharakeh will lead member practitioners in addressing negative trends through working groups and by identifying technical assistance resources or other training opportunities.
While increasing the depth, consistency, and accuracy of data gathered from the MFIs, Sharakeh will also make changes to the frequency and method of reporting, to reduce the burden of member reporting.
Publication and dissemination of industry and member information will be done through periodic leaflets, newsletters, newspaper supplements, websites, email lists, social media networks, and other venues that contain information and data covering the market news and developments. Both physical and electronic media will be used to disseminate to the widest possible public.
Promoting New Standards and Practices
Several new microfinance industry practices have been identified that members need to become aware of and begin to adopt. Sharakeh will work with its members to identify common standards and practices for the following:
oSocial Performance Monitoring: Social impact assessment policies and practices for MFIs interested in measuring the social development aspects of their activities, customized for the Palestinian context.
oClient protection: Customer care standards and practices that can be adopted by members to help prevent negative impact on clients from lending practices; give clients avenues for reporting abuses; and identify when a particular microfinance practice is not in the best interest of clients; and
oCodes of Conduct: For MFIs on how to work with competitors and their clients to ensure acceptable behavior is identified, communicated, and enforced by all members.