Friday, 30 May 2014

Is peer-to-peer (P2P) lending an efficient way to support microfinance?

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) micro-lending platforms, such as lendwithcare, have become a popular method of supporting small businesses in developing countries. Local microfinance institutions (MFIs) select borrowers and appraise their loan applications, which if approved, are financed by the P2P platform. Lendwithcare was established in 2010 and to date some 17,000 individual lenders have financed loans to more than 8,000 borrowers across ten countries.  Our experience over the past four years is that as their loans are repaid, lenders invariably re-lend; rather than withdraw their money. While lendwithcare has proven to be very popular with supporters, is it an efficient way for MFIs to access funding?

Friday, 16 May 2014

Finalists for Lendwithcare Grassroots Entrepreneur Awards announced!

Public voting has closed for the 2014 Lendwithcare Grassroots Entrepreneur Awards and the ten most popular entrepreneurs, featured below, have been passed to our expert judging panel to pick an overall winner.

The standard of entrants has been extremely high. Every one of the 33 nominees is inspiring and has demonstrated an incredible level of enterprise and entrepreneurialism, often in the most challenging circumstances. The Lendwithcare Grassroots Awards recognises the most innovative and determined small businesspeople in poor communities in the developing world. The Awards celebrate creativity, enterprise and innovation, and prioritises social values and poverty alleviation.

It’s now down to our able panel of high profile names from across the business world to come to a final decision. Alastair Stewart, Deborah Meaden, Levi Roots, Nick Hewer, Richard Reed, Sir Stuart Rose, have a difficult decision on their hands! 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Guest blog | Lending: the new giving?

This blog was originally posted on Tim Bishop's definitelymaybe blog and has been re-posted here with his permission. 


Vietnamese hill tribe handicrafts © CARE / Tim Bishop

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Three findings from Lendwithcare’s partners which refute the pessimists on (indirect) peer to peer microfinance

This article is a re-post that first appeared on CARE Insights.
CARE's own microlending initiative,, welcomed its Microfinance Institution partners from around the world to a workshop in London last week. The members highlighted how microcredit remains effective in fighting poverty, how peer-to-peer platforms can support this, and how social performance can be effectively measured and incorporated into its delivery.
All of this is in contrast to recent questions from sceptics over whether the peer-to-peer micro lending model really helps tackle poverty.
© 2012 Wolfgang Gressmann/CARE

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Lendwithcare microloans making big differences in Togo, West Africa

A couple of weeks ago, Ajaz (Lendwithcare's Microfinance Advisor) and I headed out to Togo and Benin in West Africa to conduct the annual evaluation of our microfinance partners. Whilst there we also met some of the entrepreneurs receiving Lendwithcare loans.

 - Nancy Thomas, Lendwithcare Executive

Friday, 21 February 2014

Video updates from Togo part three: “A small loan is like oil in an engine; it allows people to move forward"

Finally, part three of Tracey's video updates from her April 2013 trip to Togo is here! Here are also parts one and two for some context.

To round off my blog/video updates from Togo, I wanted to share with you some lasting impressions from the trip.

The passion and commitment of the WAGES staff

Many of the office staff began their careers as Loan Officers, including the General Manager, Ramanou Nassirou who, when talking about the entrepreneurs said most of them know how to run their business, we just provide them with a small loan to get them started - a small and affordable loan is like oil in a car engine; it allows people to move forward"

I have already written about how WAGES supported clients who lost everything in the massive fires which swept through the great markets of Lomé and Kara last year and this demonstrates further the commitment that WAGES have to improving the lives of their clients. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

"Liberation loans" offered by our partner in Pakistan to free poor people from spiralling debt

After the 2014 Oscars ceremony, Steve McQueen's film “12 Years A Slave” deservedly took home the big prize of best picture. However, it is important to remind ourselves that the barbaric practice of slavery is not something we can consign to the history books. It is still a contemporary issue in many countries around the world.

The epic 1957 Bollywood film ‘Mother India’ movingly portrays the story of a family struggling to survive against the machinations of a local moneylender. Many decades later this is still one of the rare examples of Indian cinema vividly reflecting the reality faced by millions on the Indian sub-continent, and instances of local moneylenders charging usurious rates of interest remain as prevalent as ever throughout much of South Asia.

As well as providing loans to people wanting to establish or develop their microenterprises, lendwithcare’s partner in Pakistan, Akhuwat, provides ‘liberation loans’ to people who are struggling to repay debt that has been taken from local moneylenders. In most instances, borrowers took out small loans at interest rates of up to 20% per month and the debt has spiralled out of control. Sometimes borrowers have already sold what few assets they own, yet still struggle to keep up with repayments. Shahzad Akram, Akhuwat’s Chief Credit Officer, recalls instances where young borrowers have even committed suicide and some moneylenders demanded that borrowers sell their daughters to repay the debt. In parts of southern Punjab and Sindh it is not uncommon to find borrowers and their children who have been forced to become indentured labourers for feudal landlords as they struggle to repay debts that were often taken out many years ago.