Our Social Objectives
In our work for people, we operate according to seven social objectives. These objectives are a functional reflection of the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (SPM). Our social objectives cover business development, education, health, housing, and personal skills.
- Developing micro and small enterprises
We provide our clients training and advice on how to manage their income by teaching them to log their expenses in a ledger we have designed. We provide them insurance coverage and a savings plan through family life insurance, which covers our client, his/her spouse and two children. They receive a 40% cover for hospitalization, disability and critical illness, and the other 60% of the cover goes into a compulsory savings account that takes the form of an investment with a monthly fixed interest rate. When the client discontinues our services, he/she can withdraw the entire saving with interest. Furthermore, as one of our criteria, we request that our clients maintain a minimum bank balance of LKR 1,000.
We also provide our clients vocational training to develop their business skills, and go a step further by providing them buyers for their products. We do this by partnering with leading companies and organizations in the respective enterprise sector. This creates a direct market for our clients.
- Creating employment opportunities
As our clients’ businesses grow, they employ others in their community. Thus the sector grows, providing the community more avenues for development.
- Improving housing facilities
When we provide a loan, we assess our clients’ living facilities – the roofing, water supply, and sanitation facilities – and advise them on how they can improve it (if needed). When we monitor their development (after a year), we check if they have improved their basic housing facilities (for e.g. installing an adequate sanitation facility if they did not have one).
- Assuring access to health care
In our capital application form, clients are required to provide information on theirs and their children’s health status. If the children have not been vaccinated, we direct them to community health centres. When our development officers visit the families as part of the monitoring process, they check the children’s vaccination cards among other things.
We also collect information on their children’s physical condition – if they have psychological or physical delays or disabilities. We check if any member of the family has terminal illnesses. In both cases, we will refer them to an appropriate hospital for consultation, and provide a donation for food and medicines. If the family is struggling as a result of illness and is unable to work and pay back the loan, we write it off.
My daughter could not have recovered from kidney disease without PCCL. I watched her condition deteriorate daily. We were desperately in need of finances for a transplant. Because of PCCL’s donation, Sanduni is alive today.
- Ensuring minimum education qualifications
When we finance a woman, we make sure her children have access to proper schooling and education facilities, and we have seen many go on to excel in the local Grade 5 scholarship exam and successfully complete their Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations.
We offer our clients’ children a Danuma Scholarship, which covers their educational needs from Grade 5 to Advanced Level. We award the scholarship for Advanced Level if the student secures eight passes with fives credits for the Ordinary Level exam. We check the child’s report card as part of our monitoring. If his/her grades are dropping, we either speak to the student directly, or talk to the parents. If needed, we meet with the class or subject teacher, and even the principal if necessary. We offer a monthly rate of LKR 500 for Grade 5, and LKR 1,000 for Ordinary/Advanced Level. We also offer a scholarship of LKR 10,000 to attend a local university, should they choose to. This amount is significantly higher than the government’s Mahapola scholarship for university students (LKR 500).
If the children are not of a schooling age, funds are allocated for schooling as part of the loan.
My dream is to complete my Advanced Level exams and go on to university. But I first needed to sit my Ordinary Level exams, and my family could not afford this. When my mother took a loan from PCCL to start a small business, they granted me a Danuma scholarship to finish my Ordinary Level exams. I made sure I studied hard, and I did well. I’m an Advanced Level student now.
- Producing food and protecting the environment
Providing sustainable microfinance solutions is how we achieve this objective – from supporting livelihoods in the agriculture sector to implementing a home gardening programme and providing green loans for the purchase of solar power and bio gas units as well as to implement income-generating activities that create a positive environmental impact and reduce carbon emissions.
- Growing collective assets and capabilities
We offer a Kreeda scholarship to national sports champions who wish to pursue a career in sports and are in need of funding. Since 2015, we have been supporting Nimali Liyanaracchi, the Sri Lankan national record-holder for 800m in running. She won the gold medal in 800m running in the 2017 Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She also won the gold medal for this event at the 22nd Asian Athletic Championship in 2017, the bronze in the Asian Athletic Championship in 2015, and the gold at the South Asian Games in 2016. We have also been supporting Gayanthika Abeyrathne, who won the silver medal for 800m running at the 22nd Asian Athletic Championship in 2017, and bronze for the same event in the first leg of the 2017 Asian Grand Prix in China. We also sponsored their coaches to attend these events.
In June 2017, we conducted a social audit to assess our social performance in accordance with the Universal Standards of SPM. The audit quantified our current position in terms of social performance management and identified the gaps and areas for improvement. We scored 78% on treating employees responsibly, 70% on treating clients responsibly, 67% on balancing social and financial performance, 66% on defining and monitoring social goals, 49% on designing products that meet clients’ needs, and 44% on commitment to social goals.
Client-centric business practices
We practice the seven Client Protection Principles – a common, global framework for client protection. It helps us keep our clients at the centre of the business, factoring in their best interests in key decisions we make.
- Appropriate product design and delivery
Each of our project loans are designed to meet our clients’ needs. No one loan is the same – each loan we give is individualized according to the recipient’s business, skills, and socioeconomic level.
- Prevention of over-indebtedness
Clients who have taken more than two loans will not be granted further loans until they repay. We disburse each loan on a single basis so that the recipient can start, learn and grow their income-generating activity on a steady basis. When they are repaying the loan and earning a healthy income, if requested, we grant a second loan at a lower interest rate. We also grant subsequent loans, but always assess their financial capacity to ensure their security.
When we provide financial solutions, we share with our clients all costs involved. There are no hidden charges.
- Responsible pricing
We offer our clients competitive interest rates, which we reduce for the second, third and subsequent loans. For green project loans, as we understand harvesting plants takes time, we offer a cumulative interest rate for the first four months.
- Fair and respectful treatment of clients
Our staff are trained to engage with clients based on the PRIDE model.
Professionalism – We train our staff on the job. We offer them a qualification in microfinance, and build their capacity through regular training programmes, including training overseas and exposure visits. We also build on their motivation through a quarterly capacity building session with professional trainers.
Respect – our development officers visit each client on a weekly basis, thereby building a relationship with them. This fosters trust and mutual respect that goes beyond the traditional client-service provider relationship. Furthermore, our development officers are all women, which makes it easy for our female clients to speak openly with them. Upholding the importance of gender equality, we support the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. Our chairperson and Assistant General Manager are women. We employ women as development officers, and the team leader is a woman. Empowering women is how we work.
Integrity – we are always honest and transparent with our clients.
Dedication – as mentioned in Our Story, when we finance a woman, we work towards strengthening her family unit and their socioeconomic environment. By building a relationship with each of our clients, and by providing them support to not only develop their business, but also their health, housing and children’s education, we dedicate ourselves to ensure their progress and prosperity.
Excellence – we consider our awards a humble testament to our vision and mission, and look ahead as there is much to accomplish.
- Privacy of client data
We provide a privacy certification to guarantee clients our confidentiality. When a client leaves us, all their documents are returned to them.
- Mechanisms for complaint resolution
We have an island-wide hotline for our clients to contact us with any issues or complaints they may have. Their loan repayment card carries the contact details of the company’s senior management. We also have a suggestion box with a suggestion form placed in each branch so that our clients can communicate with us directly and confidentially in writing, as an alternative to a face-to-face or telephone discussion. The suggestion box is opened every Friday and the suggestions, complaints or issues are looked into in detail. The required action is taken on the following Monday and the client informed of the steps taken.