Begun in 1985, SEEP was founded with the belief that "sharing practical experiences within a trusting environment would result in improved microenterprise development practices."
Operating in over 180 countries today, SEEP reaches more than 23 million micro-entrepreneurs and their families.
While SEEP has many initiatives, time will only permit a brief examination of one program below. After a brief paragraph on How SEEP Works there is an examination of an outline for a program in Africa that reveals an excellent planning strategy to acheive sought after outcomes.
The information below is taken from the SEEP website.
Practitioner-led Learning and Impact
The primary way SEEP undertakes practitioner-driven research, learning, and product development is through member-driven learning initiatives. Working groups, task forces, initiatives as well as the grant-funded practitioner learning programs (PLP) comprise a comprehensive learning agenda within three communities of practice: Finance, Enterprise Development, and Associations & Networks. To learn more about these communities of practice, visit our SEEP Initiatives.
Microenterprise development practitioners from SEEP member organizations have contributed to action research and best practices in a range of areas, including financial services, social performance, consumer protection, and market development. They have developed tools and resources such as standardized financial statements and reporting, market research tools, poverty assessment tools, and HIV & AIDS and microenterprise development integrated programming guidelines.
SEEP learning initiatives generate practitioner-oriented products, tools, and training materials. SEEP publications are widely recognized for being prepared by practitioners, field tested for accuracy, and accepted as the industry standard. SEEP’s manual and training course on standardized financial statements for microfinance institutions (FRAME: A Framework for Reporting, Analysis, Monitoring, and Evaluation) is one of the best examples of the quality, usefulness, longevity, and influence of our practitioner-oriented products. SEEP’s lateral learning approach is key to translating knowledge into practice and yielding such products.
SEEP’s global membership results in a broad international community of practice. Our strategic relationships with partners in the NGO, philanthropic, and socially responsible corporate community further support and strengthen member impact.
SEEP Learning Initiatives
The SEEP Network supports a range of member-led initiatives, including several thematic working groups and Practitioner Learning Programs (PLPs). To see a current list of active working groups and PLPs, visit our SEEP Initiatives page.
PLP in Building Alliances to Serve HIV/AIDS Impacted Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa (BASICS)
Purpose: to identify and promote successful strategies for microfinance and enterprise development programs to partner with local community-based organizations to better serve clients affected by HIV/AIDs.
Contact: Laura Meissner (Meissner@seepnetwork.org)
Timeframe: February 2008 - February 2009
This initiative assemble(d) the following participants:
· CHF International (CHF) in Rwanda, an implementer of the USAID/PEPFAR-funded Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Program (CHAMP), and African Evangelistic Enterprise, one of CHF’s local partners, which is building its capacity to better deliver services to HIV/AIDS-affected persons.
· Emerging Markets Group, which implements USAID’s OVC-COPE Project in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda. Its local partners for this PLP are CBOs in Uganda that serve the income generation needs of caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). EMG works with caregiver associations to promote access to higher-value markets.
· Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Rwanda, the lead for AIDSRelief, a consortium funded through PEPFAR that supports nine countries in delivering HIV care and treatment to poor and underserved populations. CRS implements programs with its local partner, Caritas.
· Fantsuam Foundation, a holistic NGO in Nigeria offering microfinance and other services to HIV/AIDS-affected clients, and its local partners, including Hope for the Blind, volunteer groups and community development councils.
· Mercy Corps (Ethiopia) and its local partner, WISE (Organization for Women in Self-Employment), an Ethiopian NGO that facilitates and provides capacity building to savings and credit cooperatives, as well as training to women.
· Sinapi Aba Trust, an MFI in Ghana and part of the Opportunity International Network, is building a partnership with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana to provide HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention education to Sinapi Aba’s microfinance clients.
These organizations will seek to identify, document and disseminate the most effective models for developing strategic alliances between MF/ED programs and CBOs and for improving the impact of MF/ED programs in such alliances.
From March 2008 to February 2009, participating organizations will return to the field for collaborative action research. All participants will begin to document their learning in one of two ways:
1) Alliance Strengthening: the participants have identified areas in which they want to work with their partners to strengthen the alliance; and
2) Learning Products: the participants are working in teams (not necessarily with their alliance partners) and focusing on about 5 issues around strategic partnering and will produce various learning products on the selected areas. Final products (case studies, tools, etc.) will be available early in 2009.
In order to achieve its goals and its desired impact, the PLP will address the following kinds of questions:
1. What programs and services are appropriate to offer through a strategic alliance, and which are most appropriate for HIV/AIDS affected clients? Why do successful models work? Who benefits from the activities, products and/or services? What makes these programs sustainable? Are there successful programs that can be documented?
2. Are strategic alliances indeed a successful model for reaching HIV/AIDS-affected clients?
3. Given their complementary strengths and weaknesses, how can community-based organizations (CBOs) and microfinance/enterprise development (MF/ED) programs and organizations work collaboratively to expand outreach and increase impact?
4. How can institutions form appropriate private/public partnerships (e.g. ED programs fostering market integration) and public/public partnerships (e.g. between a range of CBOs, NGOs, and government agencies) to deliver integrated programs that address people’s needs through both community-level and large-scale ventures?
5. How can the development community support CBOs in their holistic approaches to dealing with the pandemic? For example, support might include cross-training between MF/ED programs and CBOs, networking between community-based groups to share strategies and generate joint projects, capacity building of community implementers, or financial support for grassroots initiatives.
6. What constitutes appropriate capacity building for MF/ED development practitioners and agencies involved in larger-scale economic development initiatives? Is there training and support that would enable them to improve their reach to affected individuals and households, to effectively collaborate with CBOs, and to advance the integration of youth and the elderly into programs?
7. What enables successful strategic alliances to work? That is, how do MF/ED organizations and CBOs overcome differences in their structures, operations, values, and cultures to work well together? What motivates them to work together? What are the main “dos and don’ts” for these alliances?