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Social Finance Programme
International Labour Organization

4 Route des Morillons
Geneva 22
CH 1211

Tel : +41 22 799 6410
Fax : +41 22 799 6896
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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.

What's New

  1. News

    Fellowship opportunity in Indonesia and the Philippines

    The ILO's Social Finance Programme is welcoming applications for the Fellowship Programme. The application deadline is August 10, 2018. Click here for more information. 

  2. News

    Request for proposals: "Moving to holistic risk management"

    The ILO’s Social Finance Programme is inviting proposals from financial institutions in Indonesia and the Philippines that aim to implement an integrated risk-management solution for low-income households and/or small enterprises. Click here to find out more.

  3. Event

    10 years of Impact Insurance!

    The ILO’s Impact Insurance Facility is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2018! We are proud of our decade-long journey to enable the insurance sector, governments and their partners to reduce households’ vulnerability, promote stronger enterprises and facilitate better public policies. Join us as we take stock of where we are, what we’ve learnt and how we plan to continue forward. Through the year, we will share lessons and experiences from the past, examine the current trends, and present ideas for the future.

  4. Publication

    Annual Report 2017

    The Annual Report 2017 highlights the achievements of the Social Finance Programme over the past year. The highlights include lessons and insights on financial education, small enterprise development, impact investing and insurance innovations.

  5. Event

    Social Finance Network meeting - Mobile money and digital payments: opportunities to support the Decent Work agenda

    The Social Finance Programme organized a session on mobile money and digital payments and its opportunities to support the Decent Work agenda. The knowledge sharing session took place at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 5. Click here for more information.

  6. Event

    MyFinCoop – a new training programme for financial cooperative apex organizations
    4-8 December 2017 - Kasoa, Ghana

    The training workshop was organized for the Ghana Credit Unions Association (CUA) in collaboration with the International Training Centre of the ILO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This new training programme called MyFinCoop aims at empowering financial cooperative apex organizations and other support institutions including policy makers and regulators to advance the scale and effectiveness of financial cooperatives. The training workshop brought together 26 board members, managers, and trainers of CUA, leaders of primary credit unions and regulators. Click here for more information.

  7. Event

    India-OECD Global Symposium on Financial Education
    8-9 November 2017 - New Delhi, India

    More info and agenda.More info and agenda. from around the world, including officials and experts from the OECD/International Network on Financial Education (INFE), ministries of finance and education, central banks, regulatory and supervisory authorities, governmental officials, as well as international organisations, the academic community, the private sector and NGO are discussing how to Implement effective financial education policies in a changing financial landscape.

    The ILO will present its experience during the multi-stakeholder support for financial education.

    More info and agenda.

  8. Event

    Training workshop on Inclusive Finance for Workers
    18-22 September 2017 in Singapore

    The training workshop, co-organized by the Social Finance Programme, the Bureau for Workers’ Activities and Singapore National Trade Union Congress aims at empowering 20 trade union leaders in Asia and the Pacific to improve access to finance for their members and potential members, either by managing financial institutions, by creating partnerships or through advocacy towards existing specialized service providers.

    The training programme is articulated in 3 parts addressing the following specific objectives: Why should trade unions be facilitators of inclusive finance for workers, ii) What can trade unions do to facilitate financial inclusion of workers, iii) How can trade unions facilitate access to financial services and when to take action.

  9. Event

    14th EMN Conference: Financial education for migrants and refugees

    The theme of this year's European Microfinance Network annual conference is Financial Education to empower citizens. It takes places in Venice, Italy in June 22-23, 2017. The ILO set up a session on financial education for migrants and refugees where european MFIs participants to this event will sit through a training session of ILO progarmme on Financial Education, targetting migrant workers. Microfinanzas was invited to share its experience on promoting savings with refugees in camp settings.

  10. Publications

    The Social Dimensions of Development Finance

    In collaboration with the Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the ILO investigated what management systems DFIs employ to identify and manage social risks, impacts, and opportunities. The results of the study are summarised in two new Social Finance publications, one for Africa and one for Asia and the Pacific.

  11. Event

    Seminar: Achieving the double bottom line: Inclusive finance and social performance management.

    As part of PROMISE IMPACT​, a seminar was organized on 14th of December 2016 to share experiences and practices in delivering financial and non-financial services by financial institutions to achieve what is often referred as the “double bottom line”.
    The purpose of the seminar is to provide a platform for exchanging knowledge in inclusive finance, decent work and social performance management (SPM) as part of a strategy to achieve economic and social development.

  12. Press release

    The ILO's DG signs an agreement on financial education with the Central Bank of Morocco

    Together with the teams of the Youth at Work and IRAM technical cooperation projects, the Social Finance Programme established a collaboration with the Moroccan Central Bank (through the Moroccan Foundation for Financial Education-FMEF) to develop and roll out a national financial education programme. During his visit to Morocco in March 2016, ILO's Director General Guy Ryder signed a collaboration agreement with the Governor of the Central Bank and President of FMEF Abdellatif Jouahri. In his interaction with the Central Bank, the DG acknowledged the financial inclusion agenda's contributions to economic growth, employment and decent work. ILO's press release here.

  13. Event

    Knowledge Sharing Workshop
    Microfinance for Decent Work: Enhancing the impact of microfinance on formalisation and productivity, The Indian Experience

    New Delhi, India
    4 December 2015

    Access agenda here.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 Social Finance working papers, click here.

  16. Event

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

    Paris, France
    3 February 2015

  17. 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.

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

    Paris, France
    18 June 2014

  19. 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.