IDS research on microfinance was centred on the Imp-Act programme. It was designed to improve the quality of microfinance services and their impact on poverty by supporting microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing their own social performance management (SPM) systems.

veiled women sort through fish
Credit: PANOS / G.M.B. Akash

Seven leading practitioner-focused organisations are collaborating to train and support MFIs to implement social performance management (SPM) systems, build global capacity to support SPM, share lessons learnt and 'good practice', and promote an enabling environment for SPM.

Our Network

The Imp-Act Social Performance Management (SPM) Network connects individuals and organisations who are committed to managing and achieving social performance in microfinance. This is a space for practitioners to share experiences, common challenges and key lessons learnt around SPM – through blogs, videos and discussion groups. The Network also keeps members informed of the latest news, events and debates around SPM through monthly exclusive interviews with key industry stakeholders and weekly news round-ups.

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IDS publications on international development research

Un enfoque para la gestión del desempeño social

Medición del desempeño social, Finanzas Rurales & Desarrollo 2 More details

IDS Working Paper

Microfinance Impact and the MDGs: The Challenge of Scaling Up

IDS Working Paper 255 (2006)

This paper concerns the potential for microfinance to make a difference in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It recognises that microfinance can contribute to several MDGs but that to do so in ways that make a real difference would involve a significant scaling-up of microfinance service provision. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Social Performance Management in Microfinance Guidelines

These Guidelines offer an overview to social performance management, including an introduction, a roadmap for developing an SPM system, and a resource guide to SPM. They are supplemented by a set of eight Practice Notes, which offer more in-depth information on the issues discussed in the Guidelines. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Money with a Mission 1: Microfinance and Poverty Reduction

How far are microfinance institutions around the world contributing to global poverty reduction and what can they do to improve on this performance? This book presents the findings of a five-year action research programme into how far poverty-oriented microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are contributing to global poverty reduction, and how they can do so more effectively. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Money with a Mission 2: Managing the Social Performance of Microfinance

This book reflects the implications of a social performance management agenda for the perspective of twelve partners from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, who participated in a five-year microfinance action-research programme known as Imp-Act. It features contributions from MFI staff who worked with Imp-Act directly, as well as from members of Imp-Act's academic team, who worked closely with the partners. More details

IDS Bulletin 34.4 front cover

Microfinance, Poverty and Social Performance

IDS Bulletin 34.4 (2003)

This IDS Bulletin presents wide-ranging contributions from the three-year Imp-Act programme of action research, a partnership of 30 MFOs in 20 countries and three UK universities. More details

This is the cover of a Working Paper

What Makes Microcredit Programmes Effective? Fashionable Fallacies and Workable Realities

IDS Working Paper 177 (2003)

There is an influential, orthodox explanation of the success of large scale micro-credit programmes, based particularly on interpretations of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. There are three core elements: the alleged importance of strong social bonds among small borrower groups; the notion of substantial borrower participation in management; and the belief in the centrality of charging unsubsidised rates of interest. More details

IDS publications on international development research

From Event to Process: Current Trends in Microfinance Impact Assessment

Small Enterprise Development: an International Journal 12.4 (2001)