LENDING A HAND, BUILDING CAPACITIES: SEDPI conducts trainings on product design and delinquency management with ARBOs
“We must all be solution-oriented,” said Florence Adviento, one of the trainers from SEDPI, at the beginning of the discussions.
With the statement above as tone-setter, the Social Enterprises Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) successfully conducted a 3-day series of trainings with 38 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) coming from provinces of Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and Lanao Del Sur.
The trainings were made possible with the support of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the Italian Assistance to Agrarian Reform Communities Development Support Program (IARCDSP), last December 10-12 at the East Asia Royal Hotel, General Santos City.
The trainings consisted of lectures and discussions on four major topics, namely: delinquency management; and financial product design and development. Various workshops and activities were done to fully engage the participants so as to impart valuable knowledge and develop necessary skills in them.
The trainings seek to equip ARBOs with necessary knowledge and skills in providing microfinance services to their members and other farmers in their respective agrarian reform communities (ARC).
“Ultimately, the trainings aim to aid in the implementation of the program and the achievement of its overall objective which is to contribute to the improvement of the farmers’ living conditions,” said SEDPI president Vincent Rapisura. He reiterated the objective in the discussion on the project components and project flow of the DAR-IARCDSP. This served as the gateway to succeeding more specific and more targeted discussions.
Product Design and Development
“What’s good about these products and services is that it benefits not only ARBO members but even non-members. The whole community will enjoy the benefits,” said an ARBO official in Bisaya.
The first day of the trainings focused mainly on financial product design and development. Particularly, it helped the participants craft their product brand as well as develop specifications and features for their microfinance products such as insurance, savings, and loan. The discussions had been very interactive as participants raised their questions and clarifications, to which the lead discussants generously answered and responded.
Vincent Rapisura discussed one of the highlights of the first day of training — SEDPI’s Social Welfare Protection Program (SWePP). SWePP is a consolidated microinsurance and social security program that combines public, private, and non-profit strategies to provide optimum social protection benefit to its members.
The program provides social insurance protection up to PhP80,000.00 per client, as well as calamity and fire assistance through partnerships with various institutions including Social Security System (SSS) and Pag-IBIG Fund.
“The importance of repayments is explained really well in the discussion. We’ve learned that best incentive that the members could get from his or her repayment is being able to loan again. It is important to maintain good standing in the organization,” an ARBO official said.
The second day of trainings gave much weight to delinquency management discussions. Specific topics included the borrowers and microfinance institution’s perspective on delinquency; financial shields of delinquency; measuring delinquency; governance: roles of board and management; and remedial management and growth strategies.
The discussions brought about a fruitful and insightful exchange between the lead trainers and the participants. Highlights include importance of savings as financial shield to delinquency; workshops on the portfolio at risk ratio and past due rate; and discussion on governance and the defined roles of the management.
The third and last day of trainings was dedicated to discuss the measures of financial analysis and most importantly, the action plans. The trainings concluded with the participants as well as all the institutions present united in having high hopes for the program and the positive impact it will have on the lives of the stakeholders, most importantly on the farmers sector.
SEDPI prides itself in delivering excellent and innovative capacity buildings services. Both trainings delivered to the ARBOs were rated as excellent in all aspects – trainer, topics, logistics, food and lodging.
After the training, technical and mentoring assistance will follow to make sure that ARBOs are able to implement lessons learned during the training. A team of SEDPI staff will coach and visit each ARBO to check on assignments and agreements made during the training.
Through this method, financial service delivery of the ARBO to its members and the ARC as a whole will improve that will hopefully lead to the improvement of the quality of life of farming households in the four provinces.