Oct 23, 2010 KV Kiva HQ
By Kathy Guis
Kiva Partners and Borrowers in West Africa Facing Floods
Many of us have read about severe flooding in the West Africa in the news recently. Annual flooding is a norm this region, but this year’s floods have been severe, causing hundreds of deaths and leaving 100,000 people homeless across Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger and other nations. This flooding is part of a pattern of floods that have taken lives and homes all across West Africa in recent months—the United Nations estimated 421 dead and 1.7 million displaced in West and Central Africa since June.

We were relieved to learn that the staff of Kiva’s Beninois field partner Alidé, which operates in an area severely affected by the floods, are all safe, though some have had to leave their homes. It is certain that the flooding has affected many of Alidé’s borrowers, among them people who have been supported by Kiva lenders in the past.

There has also been flooding in Togo, Benin’s neighbor. Many districts of the capital city of Lomé, home to a great many of our field partner WAGES’ borrowers, have been severely damaged. The Kiva team would like to express our support for everyone in Benin, Togo and all of West Africa as this situation continues to develop.

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As Portfolio Manager for Francophone and North Africa, Kathy Guis is responsible for oversight and expansion of Kiva’s microfinance partnerships in the region. Currently based in San Francisco, Kathy began working with Kiva in February 2010. She spent her first two years with Kiva as a Senior Field Support Specialist working remotely in Dakar, Senegal and Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to working with Kiva, she worked at nonprofit literary journal Memoir, and organized the journal’s memoir writing program with juvenile detainees. Kathy graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Comparative Literature, summa cum laudein 2006. She is fluent in French, and has traveled extensively in Francophone Africa and the Middle East.

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