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In February and March, the AFD/EU-funded Green Microfinance Program rolled out an extensive training program to the Microfinance Institution (MFI) partners of the program. Objective of the training was to ensure that credit officers in the operating areas of the program have sufficient basic understanding of solar technology and the quality proposition of the Good Solar™ quality assurance framework in order to be active advocates for solar technology.

For this purpose, a highly visual and interactive 1-day training course for MFI head office staff was developed that covered a range of relevant topics. Accredited solar suppliers were given the opportunity to make inputs into the training methodology and content, based on the learning needs they had observed in their MFI partners. The training materials covered topics ranging from understanding the benefits of solar technology for rural un-electrified households, understanding basic solar PV technology principles, understanding the differences between different product quality levels and how the Good Solar™ quality certification scheme works, to discussing roles and responsibilities and work procedures between credit officers and solar company staff.

As part of the head office training, replication trainers were identified within the MFIs who would subsequently deliver replication trainings to MFI branch office staff. The SNV team and trainers from the PicoSol solar education centre supported technical back-stopping to the MFIs’ in-house trainers for the preparation of the replication trainings, and also attended the initial branch-level replication trainings for each MFI before the MFI partners continued delivering replication trainings to additional branch staff on their own.

With SNV’s and PicoSol’s direct support, a total of 269 MFI staff were trained in February and March 2016. This included 69 staff at head office level (from different functions, including Credit Department-, Business Development-, and Marketing Department Heads, Branch Support Officers, Regional Managers, Training- & Capacity Building Officers, etc.) and 200 provincial staff (mainly in Branch Manager and Credit Officer functions).

The Solar Microfinance Program is funded by the French Development Agency AFD and the European Union.