Social finance


With an emphasis on social justice, the ILO's Social Finance Programme supports efforts to extend financial services to excluded persons by addressing two main goals:
  • The promotion of better employment; and
  • A reduction in the vulnerability of the working poor.
The pursuit of better employment means creating jobs and improving the quality of employment through innovative financial services and conducive policies. The reduction of vulnerability can be achieved by improving access to appropriate risk managing financial services, including microinsurance.
Poverty  anywhere  is  a  threat  to  prosperity  everywhere"
ILO Declaration of Philadelphia, 1944

What's New

  1. Publication

    Microfinance for Decent Work – Enhancing the impact of microfinance: Evidence from an action research programme

    Did you know that enterprises loans can be used to encourage small businesses to formalize? Or that modifications to an insurance product can prevent child labour? And significant improvements to occupational safety and health can be achieved by a microfinance institution? These findings and much more can be found in the synthesis report from ILO's Microfinance for Decent Work action research project, which is now available.

  2. A series of Working Papers on Microfinance for Decent Work are released


    From 2008 to 2012 the ILO collaborated with 16 microfinance institutions to test a range of approaches to foster social impact through the delivery of innovative financial and non-financial services. Eliminating child labour, fostering the formalization of enterprises, reducing vulnerability and enhancing business performance through improved working conditions – these are decent work objectives that MFIs addressed in the framework of the “Microfinance for Decent Work” (MF4DW) action research programme. For a full list of SFP working papers, click here.

  3. Event

    Professional microcredit and support to enterprise creation in France and Europe: What effects on employment?

    Paris, France
    3 February 2015

  4. Publication

    Prevention and elimination of bonded labour: the potential and limits of microfinance-led approaches

    08 January 2015

    This paper, authored by S. Premchander V. Prameela and M. Chidambaranathan of the Indian NGO SAMPARK, documents the learning processes of the NGOs and microfinance organizations that experimented with different approaches to microfinance and bonded labour. It highlights the importance of adopting a holistic and integrated approach, including social, economic, political and judicial interventions at individual, household, community and higher levels. In making the paper available to a wider audience, we hope to stimulate broader debate and experimentation on how microfinance can most effectively contribute to ending bonded labour.

  5. Microcredit and support to enteprise creation in France: what is the situation of the entrepreneurs 3 years after

    Paris, France
    18 June 2014

  6. Event

    Can financial institutions be drivers of formalization of enterprises?

    The ILO Enterprises Meeting Room - 11th Floor
    June 16th 2014,10.30 am to 11.30 am

    In India, the innovation of a microfinance institution lead to a 70% increase in formalisation status of the clients- beneficiaries of the project.

    Mr George Thomas, the Executive Director of Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF) Micro Finance & Investments Pvt. Ltd will share the results of the impact assessment of the "Shram Jyoti" project implemented by ESAF together with the ILO in the framework of the Action research on Microfinance for decent work.

    Press here to access the impact assessment report.