Cover photo: Saad Khalid, Credit Suisse volunteer

Tracking the data collected through Accion’s hundreds of partners around the world can seem daunting and complicated. But making sense of this data is key to understanding how our work is making a difference for vulnerable populations, especially as they confront the challenges of COVID-19.

In 2020, Accion welcomed Credit Suisse’s Saad Khalid for six months as a volunteer to help Accion improve data collection and tracking efforts. An analyst in Credit Suisse’s compliance division, Saad leveraged his expertise to help a team of Accionistas build a data system to improve our monitoring and evaluation processes. Ultimately, they sought to enhance Accion’s ability to tell the story of our impact.

Saad’s experience at Credit Suisse in data analysis, data consolidation, rapid prototyping, and stakeholder management made him a valuable addition. His help centralizing Accion’s data opened doors for us to learn and grow. Saad said he hoped to leave us with a working solution, not mere recommendations, and indeed he has.

Building on a longstanding partnership

Credit Suisse employees like Saad can engage with Accion through the bank’s Global Citizens Program and Virtual Volunteering Program, whereby Credit Suisse employees can join Accion teams and apply their skillsets towards projects that build organizational capacity and help us better serve low-income families and small businesses across the globe.

For more than a decade, Accion and Credit Suisse have partnered to build a financially inclusive world. Credit Suisse was integral to the 2008 launch of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, which uses rigorous research and advocacy to advance inclusive financial systems for low-income people around the world. Credit Suisse was also a key supporter of the 2012 launch of Accion Venture Lab and supports its continued efforts to expand access to financial services through investing in and growing seed-stage fintech startups.

Adding a new and valuable perspective

Saad shared that his experience growing up in Pakistan and later in the UK helped draw him to work with Accion. He saw firsthand the life-changing effect that access to financial tools can have on improving the livelihoods of families and their communities. Saad also has a long history of working in the social impact sector.

In his spare time, Saad serves on the founding teams of two mission-driven startups. One startup offers digital recruitment solutions in Pakistan, and the other is a gig economy platform that democratizes access to employment via data labeling for machine learning.

Both Saad and the Accion team gained valuable lessons through his participation in the Credit Suisse Global Citizens Program. Saad gained a better understanding of data’s role in Accion’s work and also came to value Accion’s “capital plus” model, in which investors broaden their involvement with partners to include mentorship, technical assistance, governance, and more.

Saad’s invaluable additions strike at the essence of Accion’s partnership with Credit Suisse. As the broader industry continues to deepen transparency and data-informed approaches, we are excited to continue to build on his contributions to our work.

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