Yesterday in Baku, sixteen Azerbaijanis from seven MFIs filled a small conference room for a class on writing business descriptions and success stories. They were craving training, not only on these critical elements of promoting their organizations, but also on writing in the English language. Among the attendees, employees from Kiva’s three Azerbaijani field partners were present: Murad and Jeyhun from NorMicro, Ulviyya from Komak, and Tamilla from AqroInvest.
The class was organized by Paul at ACDI|VOCA through the Azerbaijan Micro-Finance Association (AMFA) after he detected a high demand from the Azerbaijani MFIs for such training. Paul spent about an hour teaching methods for writing success stories. He touched on basics like length, structure, and formatting. The importance of considering the audience that will read the story was stressed. He also spent time discussing the importance of well-composed photos – a topic that was well-received by the attendees.
I spent about an hour discussing the elements of a quality (interesting!) business description. I tried to impress upon the attendees that they have the opportunity through these business descriptions to educate international lenders about Azerbaijan, the local industries, and living conditions for the entrepreneurs. I used actual Kiva examples and the attendees rewrote the business descriptions using a Kiva-based format I provided. Paul had a projector set-up to his computer, so we were able to project Kiva.org on the wall and click through listings to reinforce the importance of quality business descriptions. Hopefully, having a pre-made template and seeing some English-language examples will aid these MFIs in bulking up their business descriptions.
As the class was wrapping up, Paul mentioned a follow-on class covering English-language emails and PowerPoint training – everyone received those topics enthusiastically. They were also interested in a class on photo composition and photo editing (cropping, straightening, brightening). Additionally, a couple of the Kiva partners here have asked me to help them create systems for more efficient posting and one partner is interested in learning how to post videos! Looks like I’ll be teaching a couple more classes! I’m really hoping that the training and interest will be translated into high quality Azerbaijani postings that more accurately represent the great entrepreneurs here!/>