Are financial and social objectives mutually exclusive? The experience of AMK Cambodia
Cambodian microfinance is a financial success at present. In an increasingly competitive environment, properly designed, in-house social performance management (SPM) initiatives can provide a strategic edge to an institution's operations. This article examines the efforts of Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea (AMK), a Cambodian microfinance institution (MFI), to balance financial and social objectives, and discusses some early indications from an in-house SPM initiative that AMK is trying to set up. Some of the information from the SPM initiative is being used for AMK's operations and strategy in disbursement planning and product design. The challenges in internally managed social research lie in integrating the SPM framework into management decision-making, and in maintaining research quality within acceptable cost levels. The institution is hopeful that once the framework is fully established, it will be possible to merge commercially viable microfinance with improved social performance in a symbiotic relationship.