Grameen-Jameel MFI Awards for 2014

Grameen-Jameel MFI Awards for 2014

Grameen-Jameel (GJ) is pleased to introduce the GJ Microfinance awards program which recognizes Arab microfinance institutions that demonstrate excellence in the following categories:

  • 1) Innovation
  • 2) Leadership
  • 3) Sustainable Growth

Award winners will be announced at the Sanabel Tenth Annual Conference in September 2014. Award winners will receive cash prizes from Grameen-Jameel in recognition of their accomplishments amounting to US $10,000 for each category.

Award Criteria:

  1. Grameen-Jameel Award for Innovation. This award will be given to the MFI that demonstrates innovation in product development in two of the following areas:
    • Target Group
      Innovation in targeting a segment that has been excluded or underserved by microfinance example youth and agriculture. 
    • Product Design
      Innovation in Product design may include the introduction of a new product that had never previously been offered in the region or modification of an existing product that expands the flexibility of the product and enhances the accessibility of microfinance to the unserved poor example youth, rural, microinsurance etc.
    • Technology
      Innovation in the introduction of new technology that facilitates improved access to underserved regions or results in a rapid increase in efficiency and reduction in operating expenses.

    The key element to be considered for this award will be how the MFI has advanced poverty alleviation through the practice of microfinance in the region through new thinking, design and action. Quantifiable demonstrations of impact resulting from the innovative activity will also aid the candidacy of the applicant.

  2. Grameen-Jameel Award for Leadership. This award will be given to the MFI that demonstrates leadership in the MF sector across the region, or globally. A focus will be made this year on Leadership in Social Performance Management. Leadership of the MFI will be measured in at least four of the following areas:
    • Have a strategic vision in place with regard to social performance management, which is imbedded in the institution's business plan
    • The MFI is a leader in client protection and transparent pricing, - can be evidenced by sharing information online on its operational and social performances (own website, mix market, MF Transparency) commitment to Smart Campaign principles, set up of a dedicated client hotline, setup of conflict resolution processes.
    • Leadership and commitment in reaching the poor and poorest in the MFIs area of operation for example youth, farmers, new entrepreneurs, or by serving remote/isolated areas.
    • Leadership effectiveness and MFI performance to meet institutional goals in terms of social performance – can be evidenced by social ratings, mix market rating, etc.
    • Successfully leading an institution through change, reinventing itself and constantly improving to meet client's needs – For example, the institution making changes to their operations to adapt to change (Internal or External) by introducing new products, new technology or enhanced processes.
    • The role the MFI plays amongst its peers, setting the example for others
    • Staff development including innovative leadership programs, internal training practices, or incentive schemes

    A leading MFI is considered an MFI which has been in operation for at least 10 years, is adhering to sound practices, has strong social performance management, is considered a role model by other MFIs, is efficient and has proven to be a leader. This award recognizes excellence, particularly as a result of improvement, as well as influence over the practices of other MFIs in the region.

  3. Grameen-Jameel Award for Sustainable Growth. This award will be given to the MFI that achieves sustainable growth; defined through the following:
    • Client outreach: increase in active number of clients at institution level (Growth rate), utilizing social performance management tools to ensure MFI is specifically targeting the poor.
    • Market share (penetration rate)
    • Maintaining healthy financial and operational performance (FSS, OSS)
    • Maintaining good portfolio quality (PAR> 30 days including write offs) and client retention.

Judges will look for a historical trend of growth as well as exceptional growth within the previous year while maintaining or improving financial sustainability and portfolio quality. Although client and portfolio growth will be critical data points for consideration, information on market share, geographic expansion and penetration should also be incorporated into the application, particularly if geographic expansion includes entry into previously unserved areas with high concentrations of poor people.


All Sanabel members are eligible to apply for the awards.

Application Deadline:

The application deadline is 10 September, 2014

How to Apply?

Please complete the appropriate application form and send it by e-mail to: prior to 10 September 2014. Applicants may attach
supporting data such as brochures, annual reports, certificate, etc. All such accompanying data should be pre-existing and as concise and brief as possible. Applicants may provide pictures (in jpg format) if relevant.

Application Forms

Selection Process:

A panel of judges representing the Arab region as well as the global microfinance industry will select the MFI award winners. The judges will be nominated by Sanabel and Grameen-Jameel. The award selection process will be managed by Sanabel.


A cash award of USD 10,000 will be presented to the winning MFIs in each category, to be disbursed at the Sanabel's Tenth Annual Conference in September 2014 in Dubai, UAE.

Timeline :

Time frame for the award is as follows:
  • Launch of Award will be through an announcement on Friday August 22nd, 2014
  • Time for submission of applications:  Starting August 22nd -  till September 10th, 2014
  • Evaluation will take place September 11th – 20th 2014
  • Delivery of Award will be at Sanabel Conference, on September 30th 2014
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