Friday, 19 December 2014

Guest Blog - A gift that keeps on giving


When for my birthday I asked for donations to my charity instead of presents none of my friends or family thought that was such a good idea. To be fair many of them give already but generally people like to give gifts, to pick something out and see it be appreciated. To me the idea of getting donations without painful form filling, standing in the cold or embarrassing ‘asks’ seems like a great gift but for people who can’t see it being spent, see the money making a difference or people enjoying what it provides for them it’s perhaps less rewarding.
With donations as with gifts it’s great to be able to see it make someone happy.
One of my friends, Helen, was listening when I told her about how much I loved Lendwithcare. How not only was the scheme a great concept but one that comes with an amazing amount of consideration and attention to lenders. My enthusiasm for Lendwithcare led me to ask to visit their partner in Manila, something I wrote about in a previous post and since then I have continued to be impressed with the varied and regular updates, enthusiastic blogs from staff and frank explanations when things have gone awry.
I’ve bought Lendwithcare for three people that I can remember. For my young niece as a nicer way of giving her some money, although I hope she’ll never withdraw from the account, for my dad I chose an entrepreneur from Malawi as he’d spent time there many years ago and for someone who I suspect might never have cashed it in. And this is where vouchers really come into their own.
 We’ve all received presents we didn’t want. Without wanting to name and shame I’m sure my whole family would understand that we don’t really want to receive any more t-shirts or key rings bearing pictures of holiday destinations. But this present doesn’t get abandoned in a drawer or only worn to bed. Even if that person never looks at it again the money is already in the right place doing its job.
For my birthday last year Helen got me a Lendwithcare gift voucher. So now even though I’ve put money of my own in over the years I now think of her gift every time I get a repayment or have enough in my account to make a new loan. That’s an awful lot of enjoyment already out of one voucher. I’m sure it will carry on for years to come.
With donations as with gifts it’s great to be able to see it make someone happy.
One of my friends, Helen, was listening when I told her about how much I loved Lendwithcare. How not only was the scheme a great concept but one that comes with an amazing amount of consideration and attention to lenders. My enthusiasm for Lendwithcare led me to ask to visit their partner in Manila, something I wrote about in a previous post and since then I have continued to be impressed with the varied and regular updates, enthusiastic blogs from staff and frank explanations when things have gone awry.
I’ve bought Lendwithcare for three people that I can remember. For my young niece as a nicer way of giving her some money, although I hope she’ll never withdraw from the account, for my dad I chose an entrepreneur from Malawi as he’d spent time there many years ago and for someone who I suspect might never have cashed it in. And this is where vouchers really come into their own.
We’ve all received presents we didn’t want. Without wanting to name and shame I’m sure my whole family would understand that we don’t really want to receive any more t-shirts or key rings bearing pictures of holiday destinations. But this present doesn’t get abandoned in a drawer or only worn to bed. Even if that person never looks at it again the money is already in the right place doing its job.
For my birthday last year Helen got me a Lendwithcare gift voucher. So now even though I’ve put money of my own in over the years I now think of her gift every time I get a repayment or have enough in my account to make a new loan. That’s an awful lot of enjoyment already out of one voucher. I’m sure it will carry on for years to come.
This blog has been reposted here with permission from Amy Lythgoe.
Originally posted here




When for my birthday I asked for donations to my charity instead of presents none of my friends or family thought that was such a good idea. To be fair many of them give already but generally people like to give gifts, to pick something out and see it be appreciated. To me the idea of getting donations without painful form filling, standing in the cold or embarrassing ‘asks’ seems like a great gift but for people who can’t see it being spent, see the money making a difference or people enjoying what it provides for them it’s perhaps less rewarding.
With donations as with gifts it’s great to be able to see it make someone happy.
One of my friends, Helen, was listening when I told her about how much I loved Lendwithcare. How not only was the scheme a great concept but one that comes with an amazing amount of consideration and attention to lenders. My enthusiasm for Lendwithcare led me to ask to visit their partner in Manila, something I wrote about in a previous post and since then I have continued to be impressed with the varied and regular updates, enthusiastic blogs from staff and frank explanations when things have gone awry.
I’ve bought Lendwithcare for three people that I can remember. For my young niece as a nicer way of giving her some money, although I hope she’ll never withdraw from the account, for my dad I chose an entrepreneur from Malawi as he’d spent time there many years ago and for someone who I suspect might never have cashed it in. And this is where vouchers really come into their own.
 We’ve all received presents we didn’t want. Without wanting to name and shame I’m sure my whole family would understand that we don’t really want to receive any more t-shirts or key rings bearing pictures of holiday destinations. But this present doesn’t get abandoned in a drawer or only worn to bed. Even if that person never looks at it again the money is already in the right place doing its job.
For my birthday last year Helen got me a Lendwithcare gift voucher. So now even though I’ve put money of my own in over the years I now think of her gift every time I get a repayment or have enough in my account to make a new loan. That’s an awful lot of enjoyment already out of one voucher. I’m sure it will carry on for years to come.
When for my birthday I asked for donations to my charity instead of presents none of my friends or family thought that was such a good idea. To be fair many of them give already but generally people like to give gifts, to pick something out and see it be appreciated. To me the idea of getting donations without painful form filling, standing in the cold or embarrassing ‘asks’ seems like a great gift but for people who can’t see it being spent, see the money making a difference or people enjoying what it provides for them it’s perhaps less rewarding.

Guest Blog - Ethical Loans Transform Lives in the Developing World

This blog has been reposted here with permission from Owen Knight.
Originally posted here








Joining LendWithCare three years ago was one of the best decisions I have made.During this time, my loan has been recycled four and a half times to a total of twenty-five entrepreneurs in six countries. Together with loans from other lenders, it has assisted people who would otherwise have no access to finance on the journey to work their way out of poverty. The individual loans have enabled entrepreneurs to buy raw materials, stock, tools and other essentials to start or develop their business and take control of their lives, in such diverse areas as farming, food production, general stores, market stalls, carpentry, vehicle repairs and sewing and tailoring.

Guest Blog - This Christmas, give the gift of giving.

This Christmas, give the gift of giving.
Posted on 30 November, 2014 by Keith Channing

Hang on; I didn’t mean that.


This Christmas, give the gift of lending.



For some months, my wife and I have been involved, in a small way, with Lendwithcare, a micro-finance organisation set up by Care International, one of the world’s leading aid and development organisations.

Microloans from CARE International UK The premise is simple: an entrepreneur in one of the world’s least affluent areas proposes a business idea to a microfinance intitution (MFI). The MFI approves the plan and grants the requested loan. The entrepreneur is then helped to construct a profile that appears on the lendwithcare.org web site. Supporters (that’s you and I) visit the site, select a profile that interests them, and make a contribution to support it. Once the full amount is reached, it is sent to the MFI, releasing their funds to support another entrepreneur.


As the supported business develops and grows, the loan is repaid, and the repayments find their way into your account with lendwithcare. You can then either withdraw them or, more likely, use them to finance another entrepreneur; and so the virtuous cycle continues.



Monday, 8 December 2014

How to increase investment in micro-enterprises (and get your money back)

This blog was orginally posted on CARE Insights.



Today CARE has submitted written evidence to the International Development Committee (IDC) of the House of Commons on our peer-to-peer lending network, Lendwithcare. (For a snappier and more entertaining overview of Lendwithcare, see our new Christmas animation above.) The IDC is currently looking at jobs and livelihoods and is interested to understand more about the role that a relatively new way of funding micro-enterprises can play in generating growth and jobs in developing countries.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Green Microfinance - supporting renewable energy in Vietnam

Biogas facility in Vietnam © MACDI 2014
In recent years a growing number of ‘green microfinance’ initiatives have encouraged eco-friendly microenterprises and supported the use of renewable energy. One such programme is implemented by Lendwithcare’s partner in Vietnam, the Microfinance and Community Development Institute (MACDI). MACDI provides loans to rural households so they can install household plants that use animal waste to generate biogas, a clean fuel that can be used for cooking, lighting and heating.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Guest blog | You don’t have to wait for Christmas!!

This blog was originally posted on Richard Kemp's blog and has been re-posted here with his permission.
Pictured above is Ghulam Qadir who has a recycling business in Pakistan
I have to admit that I am not an easy person to buy things for at Christmas and birthdays. I am lucky that I can afford to buy things that I need and have very few things that I want to buy on top of that except for stamps (I am a stamp collector).

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


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.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lendwithcare in the Philippines | Stories from survivors of Typhoon Haiyan


Tracey Horner, Head of Lendwithcare, has spent the last 14 days visiting lendwithcare entrepreneurs in typhoon-affected areas of the Philippines. Below she retells the stories of just some of the entrepreneurs she met ...

Lendwithcare entrepreneur, Anecito Rivera, before Typhoon Haiyan

Friday, 24 January 2014

More from Lendwithcare in the Philippines | The impact of Typhoon Haiyan

Day 12 and Tracey retells the stories of the Lendwithcare entrepreneurs she has met whilst in the Philippines ...


I had to accept that we were not going to get to Leyte or any of the other worst affected islands due to the bad weather. There has been an area of low pressure over the Philippines for the last couple of weeks which has been causing constant rain and high winds and severe flooding in some areas. 

CARE/Peter Caton

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Day 8: "How is the Philippines coping after [Typhoon] Haiyan?"

Tracey Horner, Head of Lendwithcare, is still battling the elements in the Visayas (the Philippines) to find out more about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on local businesses and livelihoods.
CARE-ACCORD distribution of household items in Ormoc

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Philippines Diary - Update from the field by Tracey Horner

Update from a field visit in the Philippines by Tracey Horner, received on Tues. 14th Jan., 14:04 London time.

"I finally arrived in Manila over 24 hours after I left my house. The Manila traffic is truly appalling during rush hour, which seems to last for much of the day. It reminded me of the fab BBC Programme "Toughest place to be a...", which featured in one episode a bus driver from London living in Manila and taking over the job of a 'Jeepney' driver for a week.  Funnily enough, the security briefing I received from the CARE office said that staff are not allowed to travel in Jeepney's due to safety concerns!  I ended up commuting back to the office in what Filipinos call 'tricycles', which are like a motor bike with a side car.  These are the same vehicles that Lendwithcare is helping to fund, with loans to some drivers who want to convert their 'tricycles' to less polluting LPG gas.  More details to follow next week when I meet with the company 'Clean Engines' to discuss further funding."

Tweet from Tracey on the day she arrived:

Monday, 13 January 2014

Day 2 – Safely arrived in the Philippines

Day Two
Head of Lendwithcare, Tracey Horner, safely arrived in Manila this morning where she will stay for a couple of days and meet with CARE Philippines staff to discuss a rehabilitation plan for the people who lost their livelihoods when Typhoon Haiyan hit on November 8th last year. One of the main questions to be addressed is how Lendwithcare, a peer-to-peer lending platform operating in devastated areas, can contribute to these rebuilding efforts.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Does faith matter? A blogpost by Dr. Ajaz Ahmed Khan


Does an association with faith encourage more prompt repayment of microloans and are the staff of faith-inspired microfinance institutions more motivated?

After recently returning from a visit to Pakistan, where I was analysing the operations of an Islamic microfinance institution, I am tempted to answer yes to both questions. The microfinance institution in question is Akhuwat, a lendwithcare partner. The organisation derives its name from the Arabic word Mwakhwaat or brotherhood and was established in 2001 by Dr Amjad Saqib. It has grown quickly to become one of the largest specialist providers of microloans in Pakistan – it now has almost two hundred thousand active clients, including many non-Muslims, served by more than 250 branches located throughout the country.

Best wishes for 2014 and a massive “Thank you” for your support to lendwithcare



2013 was a busy and at times a challenging year for lendwithcare. It was also a hugely successful one thanks to your continuing support.