Listening to the needs of people they serve is important for any business.
However, listening to these needs when those individuals are often extremely poor, overlooked in their communities, and have a history of exclusion from financial services, is especially significant when an organization strives to have a socially focused mission. Kiva seeks to recognize Field Partners who focus on these voices.
Kiva partners with organizations that work with people who may have spent their entire lives without a voice in their own future. Understanding the importance of feedback from the people they serve, and knowing how best to access their input, is crucial for a Field Partner to successfully meet the their unique needs. The fundamental belief driving this activity is that people know best what they need in order to succeed and be able to leave behind a life of poverty.
Kiva recognizes Field Partners that listen to the people they serve and adapt their business practices and products to meet their needs. Research shows that microfinance institutions that conduct client needs assessments are in a stronger position to understand how best to serve those people. This end result may include products specifically adapted to particular populations, an example being loans with innovative repayment timelines for farmers who receive income on a seasonal and less consistent basis.
Other ways that Field Partners can adapt their business practices to the needs of the people they serve include implementing mechanisms for the resolution of complaints, suggestion boxes, and understanding the client retention rate of an organization in order to better understand whether products are appropriately designed for those they intend to serve. In some cases Field Partners are also able to provide a platform for those they serve on a global level by joining certain worldwide networks that advocate for underserved communities.
Field Partners that demonstrate that they listen to the people they serve and adapt their products and business practices accordingly are awarded the Client Voice badge by Kiva.