Duggleby & Associates, Inc.




During 1999-2002, Duggleby and Associates, Inc. held a grant with the Ford Foundation to provide training and technical assistance to micro finance institutions throughout Nigeria in developing and managing sustainable programs in micro finance. At the beginning of the grant, the best developed of the Nigerian MFIs did not understand what it was to develop a strategic plan and use it to manage a program which becomes operationally sustainable. At the end of the grant, four of the seven organizations receiving intensive training and technical assistance were operationally self sufficient. Further, participating MFIs had established their own “Learning Center” modeled on the learning center based workshops which were given throughout the grant period. This is how it happened:

Stage 1 – (1999)

    • The D&A team did a participatory capacity assessment with seven MFIs participating in the grant funded technical program, to determine where they were in terms of carrying out basic functions in strategic planning, financial management, portfolio management, credit supervision and recovery.
    • Based on the results of the participatory assessment, the D& team developed training geared to improving basic skills in areas where the assessment and MFI self assessments indicated strengthening was needed. In l999, this training was delivered to MFIs in groups of 3-4, with each MFI sending 4-5 staff representing a cross section of the operation. This was done so that staff were cross trained to work together in the key areas of credit extension, management and supervision.


Micro finance trainees in Jos,Nigeria.



Stage 2 – (2000)

    • Follow on visits were paid by members of the D&A team to each trained MFI to (a) determine how well they had applied tools learned and (b) ascertain areas where managers felt more assistance was needed with capacity .building
    • During these visits the technician worked with each of the NGOs to identify as well areas in which the participant organization was strong or had been particularly innovative – as a potential presenter of new learning tools to others.
    • Using the follow on visit findings, the D&A team developed with the participating MFIs a second course, “Advanced Credit Institution Management for Sustainability”, which covered the skills and tools that they indicated they needed.
    • At this phase, participating MFIs were asked to contribute their techniques and case experiences to the development of the teaching modules. Credit Managers or Senior Loan Officers from an MFI which was particularly strong in a certain area were brought in to co-teach that module with the D&A instructor. The workshop program became a “learning center”, where participating MFIs brought their products and techniques to share with others, while learning new techniques.

Stage 3 – (2002)

    • The Managers and Senior Loan Officers of MFIs participating in Stage 1 and 2 were consulted by the D&A team to determine areas where as managers of expanding institutions they were having difficulty with some aspects of program growth. Using the results of these consultations, the D&A team worked with various participating MFIs to develop sessions and tools addressing more advanced skills, such as (a) doing a credible capital absorption analysis for seeking diversified funding, (b) design, management and marketing of products for growing clients, (c) effective branch management and (d) managing resources well under unforeseen circumstances.
    • At this stage, the “learning center” format was revised to generate more “buy in” and participation by MFIs. In the morning sessions, this new external learning was presented in the form of “lecturettes” by a training team composed of a D&A trainer with a Credit Manager or Senior Loan Officer from one of the MFIs.
    • In the afternoon, the forum was opened up to experience sharing among the participating MFIs. As requested, various MFIs brought in and presented a credit product (product development module) or a credit management technique (loan supervision and recovery modules) which they had been successfully using.
    • Following this course, the D&A team conducted with participating MFIs an assessment of their capacity to transfer learning. The team then developed a proposal for turning over this learning forum to local management. It became a formally registered Micro Finance Center run by Nigerians.

What was accomplished by this Learning Center (net change)?

The “learning center” approach in Nigeria achieved several major goals. MFIs that had been competitive and reluctant to share products and information were brought to the point of doing the following by mid 2002:

    • Sharing new products and techniques with other organizations
    • Accepting the advice and suggestions of other organizations on how to improve their own products and tools
    • Taking the experience and tools of other MFIs and adapting them to their own needs

The Learning Center became a tool through which the organizations and the donor could actually document that MFIs had developed and applied the skills learned. The Center induced participating MFIs to “pull through” their learning by presenting and sharing tools and products at each stage, based upon tools and techniques taught at the last training course, in areas where they themselves had requested technical help.


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