Chiko and I have just completed an action-packed few weeks testing some new training material aimed at new clients. This material is designed to boost the amount of training new clients get after their loan has been disbursed, as well as making sure that the training is truly participatory and can be easily understood by clients who have had little to no formal education. We’ve created training modules, which will be delivered at each repayment meeting, with clear delivery instructions for the loan staff, and using all sorts of training props that are readily available … from leaves to beans! Armed with this new material the objective is for loan staff to provide a standardised training experience for clients, and for clients to absorb more information and make commitments to apply it in their own groups, businesses and households.
Nkhotakota branch staff were chosen to help us test the modules, and embraced the new training material with gusto! They had a go practicing in front a group of their peers, Chiko, the regional managers and operations manager first of all. This was to iron out any wrinkles in the training materials and get the hang of the new way of teaching, which engages the clients to apply the lessons to their own lives using role play, case studies and pictures. They then tried the modules out on clients, who responded very positively and said they’d enjoyed the new interactive approach. Using a simple evaluation exercise we were also able to find that they’d come away from the sessions knowing more about the topics than they had before.
We’re covering a diverse range of important subjects with this material including:
· How the group support each other when clients face problems
· The importance of savings and setting savings goals
· Carrying out market research to plan the business
· Working out costs, pricing and profit
· Doing a business plan
· Working out what loan size is appropriate
The idea is to start piloting these modules as well as modules the clients receive before loan disbursement at two branches in a few months’ time. It’s an exciting time for client training so watch this space!