Friday, 21 December 2012

Dr Ajaz Ahmed Khan: What role for Islamic microfinance?

Conventional interest based microfinance has come under increasing scrutiny and its benefits questioned in recent years. Does Islamic microfinance present a viable alternative? Quite possibly.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Day Three: BBC3's Stacey Dooley returns to Sarajevo to meet more entrepreneurs

On her final day visiting entrepreneurs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stacey Dooley returns to Sarajevo and meets Mediha ...

Stacey with Mediha in her tailor shop in Sarajevo© CARE/Jon Spaull

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Day Two: BBC3 journalist, Stacey Dooley, visits entrepreneurs in Srebrenica

On her second day visiting female entrepreneurs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, BBC3's Stacey Dooley travels to Srebrenica to see how microloans provided through are changing lives.

BBC3's Stacey Dooley with Sefika and her son, Adnam© CARE/Jon Spaull

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

BBC Three journalist, Stacey Dooley, visits lendwithcare entrepreneurs in Bosnia-Herzegovina

This week BBC Three journalist, Stacey Dooley, is visiting female entrepreneurs in Bosnia-Herzegovina who have received microloans through Below she describes her first day meeting Azra Vatrenjak ...

Azra Vatrenjak in her shop in Sarajevo © CARE

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Microfinance over the last 10 years | Reflections and suggestions for the future

The UK's All Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance recently celebrated 10 years' of raising awareness of microfinance and the role it can play in reducing poverty. At an event, hosted by CARE International, Dr Ajaz Khan ('s Microfinance Advisor) reflected on the last 10 years and made some suggestions for the future.

Since the All Party Parliamentary Microfinance Group was started 10 years ago, although I am sure the link is coincidental, microfinance has become much more widespread and received increasing recognition – the United Nations proclaimed 2005 as the year of microcredit, one of the pioneers of modern microfinance Muhammad Yunus and Grameen won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and perhaps the ultimate accolade of all, as my children pointed out, in 2010 microfinance was featured on an episode of The Simpsons.

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Day in the Life of ... A Loan Officer from Ecuador

Laura Sarango is a loan officer at fundación FACES,'s partner microfinance institution in Ecuador. She has very kindly taken time out of her busy schedule to describe an average day in her office.

Laura (in the purple t-shirt) with her colleague, Fernando, and loan officers from the Malcatos office

"My name is Laura and my official role within FACES is to provide financial and health education to all of FACES’ customers. I am also in charge of collecting the customer profiles that we send to lendwithcare to be uploaded to their website. When I start my work day the first thing I do is review all the activities that I have planned for the day and write them down in my notebook. I then usually log-on to my computer to check my emails and then log-in to the lendwithcare system so I can check the status of the loans we have on the site as well upload any outstanding stories.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Can Microfinance Create Sustainable Businesses?'s Microfinance Advisor, Dr Ajaz Ahmed Khan, answers one lenders very pertinent question

Banking on Change in Uganda
© CARE/Tine Frank
A business owner and lendwithcare lender raised a very important question in an email to the lendwithcare team recently. Attracted to the lendwithcare model due to its emphasis on sustainable development and providing the working poor with a hand up instead of a hand out, he asked how, with loans alone, micro-entrepreneurs were able to create truly sustainable businesses that could benefit whole communities. We thought we would share Ajaz's answer with you all ...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Ecuador: Microfinance and Women Entrepreneurs

‘No tengo con quien dejar los niños’

Mariana Robalino, an entrepreneur from Ecuador

Looking through the types of business supported by lendwithcare in Ecuador, it is notable that many women manage shops, raise poultry or provide sewing or tailoring services – typically, activities that are undertaken from home. When during a recent visit to South America I asked women entrepreneurs why they favoured such enterprises, invariably the response was ‘No tengo con quien dejar los niños’ or ‘I have to look after the children’. Working from home enables women to earn an income while looking after young children – they can close the business while they drop off and pick up their children from school or attend to other urgent tasks such as taking an ill child to the doctor.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Why I Lend: Compassion

Lendwithcare lender, Ia Uaro, tells us why she lends

“I shall pass this way but once
any good that I can do,
or any kindness that I can show,
let me do it now!
for I shall not pass this way again.”

A version of that was written by a thirteenth-century Courtenay ancestor, Edward, Earl of Devon. Many people love this poem. I don’t know what they do with their love, but my protagonist says love is more than just a feeling. Love is a drive, a force to act! Many hearts are moved when they see sufferings.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Day In The Life Of .... A Liaison Officer from Cambodia

Chantra Roeurn works for lendwithcare's microfinance partner in Cambodia, the Cambodian Community Savings Federation (CCSF), and has taken time out of his busy schedule to tell us a little about his work & life 

Chantra Roeurn © CARE

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Why I Lend: To help out business owners from across the globe

Lendwithcare lender, Ffion Davies, founder of PR company Espressivo Creative, tells us why she lends …

Gilda Valerio, an entrepreneur from the Philippines supported by Espressivo Creative


Being an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding, but also, ridiculously lonely at times. When a fellow entrepreneur creates an alliance with another, there’s a new bond being created, an alliance, if you will, and it’s rather quite special.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Why I Lend: to help secure a happier future

Lendwithcare lender, Daniel Openshaw, tells us why he lends ...

Srebrenica Memorial
© CARE/Jon Spaull
I started to lend with care on the day that Ratko Mladic was put on trial in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian war, 1992-95. Mladic's alleged atrocities rank amongst the worst in living memory; certainly they typify for most people the pointless horrors and bloodshed of war. He became known as the 'Butcher of Bosnia' by the media who love a nickname no matter how much it tends to trivialise the nature of heinous acts, but there was nothing trivial about Mladic's repeated slaughtering and raping under the guise of Serb nationalism. His most infamous attack was on Srebrenica, a Bosniak town under supposed UN protection in 1995 where he rounded up Bosniak boys and men and over five days his forces shot dead more than 7,500 before burying them in mass graves.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Could Mobile Banking be the innovative answer to the microfinance conundrum?

VSLA © CARE/Josh Estey
What do mobile phones and lendwithcare have in common?

The numbers are not conclusive but general web-consensus puts worldwide mobile phone usage at the end of 2011 at 5.6 billion. A number driven up significantly by developing giants China (>1bn) and India (>900m) but numbers are also growing in smaller developing countries like the Philippines (86m), Ecuador (15.9m) and Benin (1.6m). In fact, a Guardian piece found that two thirds of the mobile phones in use in 2009 were being used by people from developing countries.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

More than Microfinance: providing training & support services

Entrepreneur: Tifa Efendic
© CARE/Jon Spaull
All microfinance is not the same

Rather, there is huge diversity in the types of microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide financial services for low-income people. As Larry Reed writes  “… by 2011, more than 3,600 institutions reported providing loans to 205 million people. These institutions ranged from small, village-based savings and loan groups in rural West Africa to banks in Latin America valued at more than a billion dollars”. Since MFIs have differing methodologies and objectives, the impact of microfinance will also vary according to how financial services are provided and whether or not clients receive other non-financial services and support.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Why I Lend: to re-design the system

Village Savings & Loans group, Sierra Leone      
© CARE/Jenny Matthews
Why do you lend?

Like many of the services available to us in today’s ‘modern’ society, financial services are disproportionately enjoyed by the privileged.

Nearly two-thirds of the world’s adult population are left out from the existing banking world and as such, a system is being perpetuated that suits the needs of the well-off and by consequence excludes those less well-off.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lend with care - lend for women

Why do you lend?

It was a statistic quoted far and wide in the past month, yet it remains shocking: women do two-thirds of the world’s work, yet earn only 10 per cent of its income and own a mere one per cent of its means of production.[1] As we look back on International Women’s Month, it is important to continue to remember and support women worldwide who struggle for their livelihood year round.

77 per cent of the entrepreneurs we support at lendwithcare are women. So why is lendwithcare proud to work with so many women and why does this drive so many of our lenders?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Has the debate on microfinance made us forget about the poor?

Lendwithcare on location in Ecuador

Ines © CARE

The microfinance community can be a confusing and contradictory place. Ever growing and buzzing, it is a community built upon grand ‘for’ and ‘against’ statements, a place that is bursting at the seams with facts and figures and a place, let’s face it, that leaves even the most persistent of ‘truth-seekers’ feeling dizzied and exhausted. Which is why my recent trip to Ecuador provided a much welcomed break and refocussed my attentions on what, or more accurately whom, this is all about: the working poor.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Finding the 'right' microfinance partner

Lendwithcare on location in Ecuador

Entrepreneur: Leonor Zhingre

When describing to a friend recently how lendwithcare works she responded ‘so it’s a bit like an online dating website for charities?’ A comparison that I instantly felt like rejecting yet one which made me think: As life in developed countries becomes more and more digitalised, whether it be how we find love, complete daily chores like food shopping, or indeed how we give to charity, are face-to-face interactions becoming a waste of time?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Microfinance is changing minds - and lives

© CARE/ Emilie Bailey
For a negative story about aid, you don’t have to look far. The media is quick to cover stories of piracy, corruption and misplaced money. Such stories encourage the public to accept that development fosters dependency, lacks accountability and wastes money. The British public can be misled by the prominence given to stories that generate such controversy. But many positive stories are there, and rarely given the coverage they warrant. One story almost unheard of in the public sphere is the story of microfinance.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Small Initiative, Lasting Impact

Vasantamma © CARE/Hema Padmanaban

A Guest Blog from CARE India

Meet Vasantamma: a feisty 45 years old woman from a small village in Andhra Pradesh and a successful entrepreneur. She has found an equal footing in her family. After patiently bearing years of hardship and domestic discord she can now hold up her head high. Her opinion is now sought in her family and she is looked upon with respect in the family and the community. Just five years ago, her husband would beat her up after drinking alcohol. Many times they could not even afford two square meals a day.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I Lend Therefore I Am

A New Blog Series

© CARE/Emilie Bailey
If we identify ourselves through our thoughts, how much more do we through our actions? We are always inspired to find out why our lenders take action and lend. One such lender said quite simply ‘I lend therefore I am’. Catchy phrase it may be, but there is a philosophy behind this that resonates with our lenders.

People choose to lendwithcare for many different reasons. For some it is an act of humanitarianism or a matter of combatting materialism, others are driven by their faith. Women want to help other women; entrepreneurs want to help other entrepreneurs. In this blog series, we hope to discuss some of these and would love to hear from you if you would like to as well. If you are interested in writing a guest blog about why you lend, get in touch.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Sustainable Development: Interview with Lendwithcare's Microfinance Advisor, Dr Ajaz Khan

© CARE/Jon Spaull
It is one of the great paradoxes of the developing world. Those individuals in most need of banking services and credit are the most likely to lack sufficient collateral to support it.  In the past decade, there has been increasing focus on microfinance as a tool to alleviate poverty and sustain business models. Microfinance is not charity.  There is an increasing perception that charity perpetuates poverty whereas it is believed that microfinance can enable an individual to build on their skills and provide a sustainable method of improvement. recently launched in the United Kingdom.  It is an initiative from Care International UK in association with The Co-operative.  We speak to Dr. Ajaz Khan, CARE’s Microfinance Advisor, about microfinance, and what you can do to get involved.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

2012: New Year, New Plans

© CARE/Emilie Bailey
Will 2012 be able to trump the success of 2011?

Christmas really was the season of goodwill at CARE  International UK. For, December was our best month yet. With more than 1300 gift vouchers purchased in December alone, it is clear that our lenders wanted to pass on the pleasure of lending and the message of lendwithcare to friends and family this Christmas.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Microinsurance: A safety net for the poor?

© CARE/ Josh Estey

It is becoming widely acknowledged that the provision of financial services to the poor is critical in the fight to alleviate poverty. One such financial service, which has been implemented relatively widely and successfully throughout much of the developing world, is microcredit. However, access to credit alone is not enough to guarantee financial security or stability. After all, microfinance is not just the provision of small loans but the provision of a whole host of financial services and includes microsavings, money transfer and microinsurance as well.