Associação Progresso

MFI: Associação Progresso - Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

Specialist: SBS/Afrisys

Associação Progresso provides agricultural and trade credit loans to the poor throughout the districts of Mueda Muidumbe Nangade and in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.  They're working with SBS and Afrisys based out of Maputo to complete their deployment. 

Deployment Overview

Associação Progresso chose to deploy Mifos because they had little visibility into their client and loan portfolio. They were unable to report correct data regarding their clients (i.e. # of female v. male borrowers). More importantly through Mifos they were seeking to gain better transparency and loan management.  There was little monitoring of payments coming into each center and they weren’t getting an accurate portrayal of performance with PAR being underreported.

Estimated Start Date Actual Start Date Status
Mar 24, 2010 July 12, 2010 In Production
Estimated End Date Actual End Date
Mar 24, 2010 Sept 1, 2010

Lessons Learned

  • Resource Allocation - Configuration and Setup was easier than anticipated. Going forward plan to use less resources for this phase and focus resources on reporting.  In turn as more standard reports are available, will use more resources on data migration.

 

Pre-Deployment Analysis

Gap Analysis was done at Associação Progresso prior to the kickoff of the deployment. It took about two weeks with some delays coming from having to wait on staff to deliver internal documents and properly document loan procedures.  Since they closely practice the Grameen Methodology, there were few major gaps identified:

Issues/Challenges:

  • Challenges that arose were moreso gaps on the Associação Progresso's process side; these included:
    • Poor quality of data in old system since it had seldom been used and updated recently.
    • Roles/permissions of System Users had to be defined completely from scratch because previous system had none of these security controls
    • Refinement of how penalties were assessed since previous system could only assess interest and not both interest and penalties.

As this was the first deployment for SBS, they treated each mistake, on their end or the clients, as an area in which to continue to improve.

Configuration

Associação Progresso has the following products:

  • Agricultural Loan - 9 month duration with declining balance interest
  • Small Business Loan - 6 month duration with monthly repayments and declining balance interest
  • Life Insurance Product - which is recorded as a fee in Mifos

No additional fields were configured for this customer. 

Accounting

AP uses Primavera for their accounting.  A weekly or monthly report is being developed to integrate with Mifos as accounting system will be used to generate primary financial reports.  Following online documentation despite not having deep accounting knowledge, SBS able to successfully map GL codes appropriately. 

Reporting

Issues/Challenges:

Lessons Learned

  • Collection Sheet Report not being used because all clients are on LSIM schedule and meetings don't occur on regularly scheduled basis. 
  • Standard Mifos Reports are more complex than customer needs - developing more simple operational reports.  

Data Migration

Were considering several approaches to migrating historical data from previous system; with tips from Sam Birney on the mailing lists, SBS successfully used Selenium Scripts to migrate data. 

  • Automated migration process was fairly simple. Along the way database from previous system was corrupt so additional time had to be spent cleaning up data and inserting it into Excel prior to migrating it into Mifos. 
  • Data migration took 10 days in total with the scripts but the timeliest process was the data cleanup prior to import.
  • Execution of the scripts went smoothly, setting the system clock time forward and backwards; reports were run while migrating to validate data coming in and necessary payments and adjustments were made to ensure accuracy. 

Training

Initial training session was 16 hours for 2 full days attended by 2 supervisors, 3 loan officers, the systems operator, project Champion from the head Maputo office, and a representative of the regional office.

  • Hands-on practical training exercises that focused on users performing tasks rather than being lectured.
  • Materials used included a powerpoint presentation, seven laptops, and a router.

Lessons Learned

  • Ease of Use of Mifos was top-notch – two users had never used a computer before and managed to use Mifos just fine. “
  • Upper level staff still need to understand that system is not just for them to manage payments but rather to have a relation with members through Mifos system
    • For example, if loans aren’t accepted, should put why it was rejected
    • To address this, scheduling second training session including 16 hours for users and extra 8 hours for sys admin.

UAT & Rollout

UAT was conducted with the project champion consisting of 3.5 hours of meeting, testing data migration and if all products were performing correctly.

Issues

  • During UAT had to correct the GL account for commission and once fixed did another meeting afterwards for final acceptance.
  • During UAT & Rollout, discovered show-stopping bug with display of Portuguese characters - downgraded to Mifos 1.5 so as not to delay go live.  Confirmed as Issue Mifos-3501 which was fixed in Mifos 1.6.1
  • Another show-stopping bug arose with LSIM where repayment day was still tied to meeting schedule.  This was documented in Issue MIFOS-3595. SBS and their technical team developed a fix for the issue so as not to delay go live.  This fix is being reviewed by Stanley Kwok but has not yet been committed back into Mifos. 

Post-Deployment Planning

Support is being provide remotely by SBS from their offices in Maputo.  

Issues/Challenges

  • Challenges included getting staff to adopt proper helpdesk processes.
    • Were of the mindset when they had a problem to pick up the phone can call SBS for help.
    • Making them document the problem via email and then report it so it can be shared with others and directors and be properly understood. 
  • Due to donor funding, Customer wants to move away from SBS virtual hosted instance to a server that they maintain and host on-site; this could cause problems as customer has little IT capacity and SBS can't maintain their server remotely.  

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