Tuesday, 12 August 2014

More than just microfinance - How Pakistan’s largest Islamic Microfinance Institution supports one of the country’s most stigmatized communities



© Akhuwat 2014
Despite positive measures such as the landmark legal judgement in 2009 that granted transgender people  their own gender category on national identification cards and the Supreme Court recommending that they benefit from affirmative action for civil service jobs, transgender people remain among the most disadvantaged groups in Pakistan.  Often referred to as hijras or khwaja siras (the latter is the term used to describe the transgender courtesans who danced in the courts of the Mughal Emperors during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) they routinely face discrimination in health, housing, education and employment as well as ridicule, intimidation and the threat of physical violence. Most khwaja siras are forced to live at the margins of society and earn an income from performing at ceremonies such as weddings and births; extorting payment by disrupting people’s work and most commonly begging - they are, for example, a relatively common sight at traffic lights in many large Pakistani cities such as Karachi and Lahore.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Eid Mubarak | Celebrations & Charity from Pakistan

© Akhuwat 2014
عيد مبارك, Eid Mubarak and blessed celebration to all of Lendwithcare’s entrepreneurs, partners and lenders across the world this Eid al-Fitr. For those of you who didn’t know Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast, occurred on Monday (or yesterday for some countries) and marked the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with a day of celebrations held across the Muslim world. The festival, which is viewed much like Christmas for Christians or Holi for Hindus, is one of the largest in the Islamic calendar and comes as the culmination to a month spent fasting, praying and giving gifts to fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This year’s Eid al-Fitr is also of special significance to those of us here at Lendwithcare as it marks the end of our first year offering Islamic loans to entrepreneurs in Pakistan through our partner Akhuwat. To commemorate this year’s Eid al-Fitr and the amazing work Akhuwat preforms across Pakistan we asked their Chief Credit Officer Shahzad Akram to tell us how our entrepreneurs in Pakistan normally spend Eid al-Fitr and just what Akhuwat will be doing themselves to celebrate the day.

Friday, 30 May 2014

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

The Lendwithcare.org Homepage

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, Lendwithcare.org, 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