One of the deliverables on my Kiva workplan is to write journal updates of borrowers. So what’s a journal update? It’s a chance to hear about the Borrower you made a loan to on Kiva; progress on their business, how they spent their loan, if they misutilized any of their loan, any other details that come up in interviewing that person.
Each microfinance institution might work differently. Mine has what is called Loan Utilization Checks where development officers in the field check on a borrower within 10 days of their release and see how they spent their funds – sometimes this means asking for receipts or proof that they spent their loan on their business – and general what I will call “spot checking.”
Some microfinance institutions (MFIs) don’t require all of the money is spent on your business. I’ve heard that some MFIs are extremely competitive with each other, in Eastern Europe for example, and if they were really strict they would lose borrowers.
Here at my MFI in the Philippines it is required that you spend your general loan on your business (there are also home repair and educational loans that aren’t on Kiva that they offer). However, if you misutilize, you are still required to report that and also repay your loan. And sometimes life happens – a family member is in the hospital, bills need paid, school fees need paid – and the women have been very open telling me about that.
Meeting each woman and sitting with her for an hour, asking questions about her life, her loan, her business, her struggles, her dreams – it is my favorite part of my Fellowship. It’s a window into lives that I would otherwise never have. For my curious nature, the opportunity to ask and ask, listen and listen, talk and talk – it leave an indelible mark on me where looking at the pictures of these women I can see their stories one by one in my mind.
If you’re like to read a few of the recent journal updates I did, click on the links below: