This last week I have started to meet borrowers and feel the reality they face. It is a reality full of difficulties and challenges, in which a small amount of money can make the difference to the person that receives it, his family and his community.

ID Ghana has a different approach to microfinance, they call it “Onipa Nua”. It is based on group relationships. What they do is forming 15 to 40 people groups (95% of members are women) and they are trained in different abilities: saving, convive, how to manage a business, loaning, health…and many more areas that help them build a successful group up.

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Once groups are formed and leaders are elected,  (this can take several months), they are ready to start saving and borrowing money. This is how a “Onipa Nua”is born.Imagen

Each member of the “Onipa Nua” is only responsible for his loan, and does not guarantee other members´ loans. However, as in these countries “your problems are also your neighbors and friends´ problems”, the compromise borrowers have with their loan is total, and under any circumstance they want to let other members down.

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Onipa Nua´s members are extremely aware of the importance of a loan and what it implies, this is why they just borrow what they need, and if it is necessary, they stop eating rather than stop paying back their weekly fee.

When you see this, it gives you goosebumps. You feel again those values that are not fashionable anymore, like compromise, effort and honesty.

This reminds you that what is worth in life is what you achieve following those principles.

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Comments

Hey Juan, Nice that they have values, that the people in Ghana want to repay a debt. I was expecting no less o my fellow human beings. ... But I don't want people to suffer and starve to just pay me back my loan. I also feel that apparently that loan has not done what it was supposed to do: give people MORE money and MORE food, not less... Shouldn't ID Ghana ask less interest to prevent this? Or tell people that it's ok to skip a repayment if the alternative is starving for a week? What do you think?

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Juan Barbed Ever since I can remember, I imagined myself suit up, wearing a tie and working in the stock market. I got my Finance and Business Management Degree in Deusto University and ESCP-Paris, and I achieved my objective: I joined a Wealth Management boutique. But after a couple of years of tough fight with European financial markets (especially with Spanish one) I had the opportunity to participate in “Imagine”, an innovation and entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley. Visiting companies like IDEO, Google, lots of start-ups like Waze and of course Kiva, opened my mind and made me realize my passion was helping the poor and the moment to do what I loved was now. That´s why I decided to quit my job and to live a life experience doing 3 Kiva fellowships in 3 different continents and languages. But after the 2nd one, this unique opportunity appeared and my dream of being part of Kiva team came true. Keep on dreaming with Kiva!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiEasEC3dP0
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