My fellowship with Kiva began with a three month assignment to the Kiva field partner Camfed Zimbabwe (Campaign for Female Education), an amazing international NGO providing funding and support that keeps girls in school through to the end of their secondary education. All of Camfed’s clients come from rural parts of Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries in Africa, and many are orphans left behind years ago with no parental supports as HIV and Aids ravaged the southern parts of the continent.
After finishing school most of these young women go on to become members of Cama, the Camfed alumni organization. Cama functions as a sisterhood of strong independent young women who support one another as well as those girls following in their footsteps completing their basic education with the support of Camfed. Although there is a national structure that guides the organization most of the work of Cama members is done at a local community level; as teachers, as mentors,as boosters of each other’s business ventures and as strong voices for female empowerment.
Cama members are also the recipients of the loans Kiva lenders provide through Camfed Zimbabwe. In order to qualify for a Kiva loan through Camfed women must be a Cama member. In exchange for their zero interest loans they must also be willing to make repayments of “social interest” in the form of classes taught to local school children about self confidence and active citizenship. That social interest paid by borrowers becomes social capital retained within communities that builds future capacity as it promotes a culture of engagement, cooperation and the belief in a brighter future.
Camfed’s Kiva loan program does so much more than help support just a single individual and their immediate family. Through its mission to educate girls Camfed has empowered these young women and now Kiva lenders are helping them to build on that success and confidence by facilitating economic empowerment. Together, Camfed and Kiva lenders are helping create transformational change for some of the most vulnerable marginalized persons in Zimbabwean society. Today they are already setting examples as leaders of their families and local communities, tomorrow they will be the leaders of civil society and their nation.
If you would like to make a loan through Camfed Zimbabwe If you are interested in making a loan to one of Camfed’s borrowers in Zimbabwe click here to see all currently fundraising loans.
To learn more about Camfed, you can also visit their website.
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In 2012, a chance meeting in Bolivia of a fellow Canadian introduced Oliver to Kiva, the amazing power of microfinance and led to ambitions for greater participation as a Kiva fellow.