Grooming Centre was among the innovative financial services institutions invited by the Lagos Business School (LBS) to join the first cohort of its Digital Financial Services (DFS) Product Development Lab, an initiative sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The Product Development Lab is a virtual, 8-week long programme providing capacity building support in adjusting existing products, as well as designing, testing & launching new, innovative products.
As part of an overall value optimization strategy, the Centre and Grooming Microfinance Bank have been exploring areas of positive synergy in the Centre’s ecosystem. As such, the bank began providing banking services to 5 of the Centre’s branches in Ibadan in July 2020. Additionally, salaries for all Head Office staff were paid through the bank in August while salaries for all Oyo Programme Area staff will also be paid through the bank in September. The bank has made strides in the availability of e-channels with debit cards, internet and mobile banking for all of its customers.
The previously postponed award ceremony for the 2020 Lady Kate Okafor Scholarship Scheme was held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. In strict compliance with social distancing guidelines, only 7 awardees alongside their mothers were in attendance to represent the 500 students awarded the scholarship. With a total of 861 beneficiaries since inception, the initiative aims to contribute to the education and development of children whose families are disadvantaged. In other educational initiatives, preparations for the 2020 Grooming Centre University Grant Scheme are ongoing. The Scheme will provide 150 undergraduate and postgraduate students with research grants.
Grooming Centre, in partnership with SESOR Empowerment Foundation, provided financial training and disbursed N2,060,000 to 57 internally displaced women in Lagos as seed money for their microenterprises. The financial literacy training and disbursements held at the Sesor Safe Day Space in Lagos on the 16th and 23rd of July, 2020. The livelihood support programme is set to kick-off in Benue State in a few weeks.
The previously postponed 10th edition of the Grooming Centre Splash held on August 29, 2020 at the Grooming Centre Multipurpose Hall, which was adequately spaced out in adherence to social distancing guidelines. The 2020 Splash rewarded clients in each of the Centre’s 24 Business Zones with star prizes of 24 commercial tricycles (commonly called Keke), 58 deep freezers, 57 double door refrigerators, 58 5KVA generators, 81 Small fridges, and 106 2.5KVA generators. Overall, 384 clients across 24 Business Zones of the Centre won different prizes in this year’s edition of the Splash.
Following the Centre’s realignment, Senior Management and Programme Managers took part in a mini retreat from August 27th – 29th, 2020, to deliberate on strategies to improve productivity, reinforce team building, refocus on core values and redefine organizational priorities for sustainable growth. Key discussions centered on delivering the Centre’s mission within the new normal posed by the pandemic, as well as opportunities for digital innovation. The retreat provided a platform to engage, inspire and brainstorm execution strategies in a relaxed environment.
The Centre’s Code of Conduct was recently amended to cover the increasing scope of activities for staff, detailing ethics, values and norms to be upheld in the areas of Client Protection, Staff Conduct and dealing with Conflicts of Interest. Accordingly, a ceremonial renewal and signing ceremony was held at the Management meeting on September 14, 2020. The amended Code of Conduct will be cascaded throughout the Centre along with the newly distributed Employee Handbook, setting a common ethical standard built on integrity, trust and dedication to govern relationships with clients, colleagues, partners, stakeholders and the general public.
Effective August 1, Grooming Centre streamlined its organizational structure to enhance operations and improve efficiency. The Risk Control & Monitoring Department was fused with the Internal Audit Unit to form the Enterprise Risk Management Department for a more holistic & proactive risk management framework, while the Automation & Information Technology departments were fused into Digital Operations to align with the Centre’s digital roadmap. At the field level, Programme Areas were strengthened with the creation of the Programme Analyst function, aimed at providing data-driven support to the Programme Area operations, while the Regions and Divisions were fused into Business Zones under the leadership of Zonal Heads for improved supervision and communication.