Dr. Joana Afonso is the Financial Inclusion Specialist at the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and supports e-MFP’s MIMOSA project, which provides a methodological assessment of market saturation and risk of over-indebtedness for leading microfinance markets.

Joana has led multiple projects pertaining to indicators and standards, often in collaboration with the Cerise+SPTF team.  These projects include, among others:

    • The Green Index, an environmental performance assessment tool that was the basis for the development of Dimension 7 of the Universal Standards for Social and Environmental Performance Management (USSEPM).
    • Ongoing collaboration between the e-MFP Investors Action Group, Cerise’s LabODD, and SPTF Outcomes Working Group, with most recent activities focusing on measuring outcomes using the SDG framework.
    • The human resources landscape survey conducted in 2020-21, which informed revisions to Dimension 5 of the USSEPM.
    • Defining a common language and basic indicators to evaluate the social performance of savings products and WASH investment projects. 

Before joining e-MFP, Joana was an academic researcher at the University of Portsmouth in the UK between 2015 and 2020. Her Ph.D thesis focused on the challenges associated with evaluation methodologies and was based on the implementation of longitudinal evaluations of microcredit programmes in Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Ecuador. She also conducted research within the Microfinance in Crisis research project, led by the Université Paris-Sorbonne, with field work in the Dominican Republic on the role of loan officers in the prevention of client over-indebtedness.

Joana began her microfinance career as a loan officer at NGO ANDC in Portugal.