4.3.5 Do not rush from pilot to roll-out
Many FSPs feel pressured to launch and roll out new products in the face of increasing competition and thus often rush a new product to market. However, in order to ensure long-term success, WWB recommends that the financial institution first implement a full pilot in selected branches, and after comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of the pilot, make necessary adjustments to the program. Then, WWB recommends a phased rollout for most financial institutions. The focus of any rollout should be on success—a careful, unrushed rollout allows for continued learnings and adjustments. Additionally, a total rollout requires significant up-front investment and staff capacity, which most financial institutions cannot undertake at that point. In Ethiopia, PEACE MFI S.CO launched its Lenege (“For Tomorrow”) youth savings pilot in December 2011, evaluated the results after four months, and then with technical assistance from WWB, decided on a phased roll-out to seven additional branches (out of 19 total branches) to ensure steady and successful growth of Lenege in a way that adapted best to its staff capacity and financial resources.
The complete recommendations can be found in WWB’s new e-publication Banking on Youth: A Guide to Developing Innovative Youth Savings Programs, which can be found here: http://www.youtheconomicopportunities.org/resource/766/banking-youth-guide-developing-innovative-youth-savings-programs.
Building on the recommendations put forth above, Population Council offers four additional lessons that pertain specifically to working with vulnerable girls. The lessons stem from the Council’s successful “safe spaces” model highlighted in the text box below.
The Council’s extensive work with vulnerable girls led it to analyze how to most effectively enable girls to build their self-esteem, grow their assets and gain valuable life skills that could help pave the way for a more secure future. Its research led to the creation of the “safe spaces” model. The safe space represents a platform, place, or “bowl”, where girls can gather to receive the Council’s three-tiered model of asset building – including social, health and economic assets. Without this “bowl”, all of the program “ingredients”, including financial education, friendships, health information, new skills, and mentoring, will spill onto the floor, never reach the vulnerable girls, and therefore have little sustained value. In other words, the key to the model’s success is to provide a safe space for girls to gather, to form friendships, to learn together and to build the knowledge and skills they need to increase their assets and eventually create livelihoods or find a job. The graphic below illustrates the model: