By Jennifer Gong, KF9 Tanzania

YOSEFO has come a long way.  In 1997, it humbly opened its doors to 50 clients, for a total loan portfolio size of $5000.  However, with unwavering determination, it has succesfully expanded into 14 different communities around Dar es Salaam and has opened offices in Ifakara, Zanzibar, Kilwa and Tanga.  Today, YOSEFO can proudly claim to serve over 11,000 active clients and has seen its loan portfolio increase to $1.5m. This is definitely something to celebrate about, and celebrate we did!  To mark 12 successful years of serving Tanzania, my MFI decided to organize YOSEFO Day 2009.  

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The purpose of the celebration was not only about rejoicing, it was also about recognition.   It was about acknowledging the outstanding clients and staff members that have played a significant role in making the past dozen years successful.   Recognition is important because the sweat and tears of both clients and staff often go unnoticed. Furthermore, the showcasing of successful stories will hopefully create a competitive spirit that will drive everyone to strive for more.  

Here are some highlights of YOSEFO Day 2009…

Best Borrower - Deogratius Likunga

Mr. Likunga is one of YOSEFO’s  earliest clients.  His group applied for their first loan in 1997.  Due to his excellent repayment history, he was eventually able to graduate from the group lending method to the individual lending method.  His loan sizes are much larger than the average YOSEFO client, yet he still maintains a spotless repayment record.   And his dedication to being a terrifc client has paid off, his hardware business is doing better than ever.

Best Entrepreneur – Anold Peter Kavishe

Anold left Moshi to come to Dar es Salaam to work as a servant boy.  But by age 19, his entrepreneurial spirit told him to strike it on his own.  In 1998, he took out his first loan with YOSEFO.  Anold now owns a few businesses, including a retail store and a wholesale store.  Furthermore, he is able to employ 17 workers and thus create jobs for others in his community.

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Best Credit Officer – Ashama

The job of a credit officer is painstakingly difficult, each day he or she needs to spend hours in the communities.  Ashama is the only officer to cover two communities (Kitunda and Mazizini).  With 554 clients to see each week, she has gone above and beyond to serve everyone.

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The award ceremony showcased the amazing possibilities of microfinance as well as the hard work needed to transform those possibilities into realities.  Above all, it was a chance for every shareholder – management, officers, clients, board of directors and partners – to come together and get revitalized for many more great years ahead.

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