Nkontrodo women that is…Nkontrodo is a small village by the Ghanaian coastal town, Elmina. The women in this village are on their third loan cycle with CRAN. They are proud business owners who are serious about their loans and rightfully vocal about their needs. What these women want is to build credit. A case where the ability to establish credit and have access to larger loans is a large motivating factor.

We had a lovely visit with the women in this village – my first field visit. At the end of our journaling interviews, they started telling us about a recent change that had taken place with their loan products. In the past, CRAN had been using the susu saving scheme. Recently, the organization started piloting a new scheme called credit with education. The two are similar in nature, where they both encourage clients to save, but differ in their collection time frames. With the susu scheme, a field officer visits clients daily to collect savings, but loan repayments are monthly. Credit with education has weekly meetings where savings and repayments are collected.

Nkontrodo is a pilot site for credit with education. At the core of it, these women are not opposed to credit with education. However, because of this new implementation, they were not able to get an increase in their loan amounts for their third cycle. They were happy with their loans, but not thrilled about this change. As you know, no implementation comes without its change management challenges.

Assuring the women that we would bring up their concerns at the head office, we shared this feedback with the director of microfinance as soon as we arrived from the field. He listened attentively and turns out; he already had meetings set up with the unit managers to discuss credit with education implementation progress and challenges. They are taking this feedback seriously as part of their product design considerations.

Through this experience, I’ve realized that field visits for Kiva journals have a larger purpose than just providing updates to lenders. This feedback from the field is really the best customer science that an MFI can ask for. It is direct, honest, and real-time. It is rewarding to be able to provide a voice for these borrowers.

By, Zerrin Cetin KF12 Ghana


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