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Good Shepherd Microfinance

  • Project: Building Financial Resilience for Geelong families through a Place-based Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) Program
  • Amount: $197,500 over two years
  • Year(s) Funded: 2018

‘Shifting the dial’ to realise financial inclusion and resilience in the local Geelong community

Financial exclusion places people and their families at risk of financial hardships, leading to poverty, vulnerability to predatory lending practices and poor social, emotional and health outcomes. In early 2018, the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust extended an opportunity for Good Shepherd to leverage the learnings of the national Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) Program and test it in a specific place in regional Victoria. Geelong was selected as the first location to pilot the concept of a Place-Based FIAP.

“We are receiving a warm welcome in Geelong, and forging exciting connections.” Dr Vinita Godinho, General Manager Advisory, Good Shepherd Microfinance



The FIAP Program was launched in February 2020 and showcases the collective efforts undertaken by ten local organisations who are driven by the desire to improve financial wellbeing outcomes in Geelong. Download the flyer.

  • The place-based program works on the premise that organisations which are on the ground are best equipped to understand local challenges, identify the risks and triggers of financial exclusion, and can take practical actions to address these in collaboration with others.
  • Over two years, Good Shepherd Microfinance trialled and evaluated the program in Geelong, in partnership with the locally-driven GROW (G21 Region Opportunities for Work) initiative between G21 and Give Where You Live.
  • GROW recognises the need for innovative, system-wide responses, focusing on generating jobs and economic prosperity. FIAPs offer complementary opportunities to better support job-seekers and employers by understanding financial vulnerability, and developing tailored responses including: proactive hardship-management; financial capability-building for clients, staff, suppliers and their families; supporting micro-enterprise; and access to microfinance.
  • The program facilitated workshops, a Community of Practice, and developed targeted tools enabling participants to implement actions to ‘shift the dial’ on realising financial inclusion and resilience in their local community.
  • The project leverages the national Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) framework. Good Shepherd Microfinance is leading the national FIAP program, an innovative, cross-sectoral collaboration to address growing problems of financial inclusion in Australia on behalf of the Australian Government.
  • Good Shepherd Microfinance’s experience shows that co-designing with 30 organisations has the potential to impact 6 million clients, yielding $2.9b GDP uplift, $600m government savings and $11.8b uplift in household wealth p.a. over 10 years.

Last modified 29 April 2020.