Good Shepherd Microfinance’s first priority of our “2013-2018 Strategic Direction” is to be community led. In March this year, the inaugural “Valuing and Supporting NILS providers” survey was sent out to the NILS network. The aim of the survey was for Good Shepherd Microfinance to hear and act on what the NILS community had to say.
The survey had an excellent reach with a response rate of 75.1 of our accredited providers (194 respondents from 258 NILS programs). Typically, 30% is considered an average response rate for on-line surveys, with the higher the rate representing a clearer picture of the target population.
The key finding of the survey was that that there was a strong satisfaction across the network with the support and role played by Good Shepherd Microfinance. Interestingly, remote areas reported higher satisfaction with the overall support they received.
Other findings of the survey showed that:
- Good Shepherd Microfinance is perceived as an adequate advocate for funding and capital expenses sourcing.
- A real strength of the Good Shepherd Microfinance organisation is its highly efficient and relevant response to the problems or concerns of the NILS network.
- Although there are some strong positive feelings of connectedness to the network, nearly a quarter of the respondents feel disconnected from the network.
- The majority of respondents are interested in finding out what other programs in the network are doing.
- There are a large number of programs reporting that they are operating under capacity.
- Locational differences between urban and non-urban sites mean that there are different training needs for services.
- The NILS model needs innovation and change, specifically increased options for arrears management and expanded criteria for NILS loan purposes.
- The HYS reporting is not straightforward.
- The most urgent training needs relate to information management and managing arrears and capital and communications.
- The next group of urgent training needs concern capital and communications.
- The least urgent training relates to the loan process.
When asked about the role of Good Shepherd Microfinance for NILS services, one respondent put it this way:
“Good Shepherd Microfinance is the backbone of NILS: Their role is to advocate for the program, its providers, clients, funding and future. They provide advice and guidelines on good practice principles, they provide education and information to NILS providers and workers.”
The survey has revealed a plethora of information about how the NILS network perceives Good Shepherd Microfinance and its work. A “First Findings” report was released to all respondents in May and the findings, and the responding Good Shepherd Microfinance actions, will be covered at a session at the National NILS conference next month. Please contact Research at Good Shepherd Microfinance if you’d like more information on the survey and results.