We’re very happy to announce that there are now loans from Kiva’s first Jordanian field partner, Tamweelcom, on Kiva.org. Tamweelcom is a worldwide leader in the microfinance industry, having been named one of the top 10 microfinance institutions worldwide by the MIX Market in 2007 and 2008. The organization has also been recognized by the Arab microfinance network Sanabel, the Schwab foundation, and CGAP for its distinguished performance in the microfinance industry.
Jordan is a landlocked country slightly larger than the state of Indiana in the United States that borders Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Over half of Jordan’s citizens are of Palestinian origin, and the country has also absorbed many thousands of Iraqi refugees since 2003. Though Jordan was classified as a nation of “high human development” in the 2010 UNDP human development report, Jordan still faces numerous challenges, such as scant access to water and economic disruption due to political instability in neighboring states. The official unemployment rate in Jordan stands at around 13%, but the unofficial rate is approximately 30%, according to the CIA world factbook.
Tamweelcom was founded in 1999 and is fully owned by the Queen Nour Al-Hussein foundation, which operates independently under the umbrella of the King Hussein foundation. Having begun with a single branch, the organization now operates 17 branch offices throughout Jordan, with 119 loan officers serving its clientele. From 1999 to 2010, Tamweelcom disbursed loans totaling over one hundred million USD to 101,802 clients. Today, Tamweelcom serves more than 56,000 active clients in the industrial, commercial and service sectors. Tamweelcom’s clients are 96% female, and the organization maintains an impressive delinquency rate of .15%.
Tamweelcom awards solidarity loans, individual loans, small business loans, and solar panel loans to clients all across Jordan. They also offer innovative non-financial services to their clients. In response to client feedback that a major obstacle in creating successful businesses was finding markets for hand-crafted goods, Tamweelcom organized Souk Ayyadi, a program that allows clients to sell goods at bazaars and in permanent showrooms. Tamweelcom also provides scholarships to approximately 1000 of their top clients’ children, as well as training services to help clients develop successful products, improve marketing and technical skills, and increase sales.
Their committed, bright, and conscientious team (including Marketing Officer Zoya Shehadeh, CFO Firas Saqfelhait, Credit Supervisor Issam Schnoudeh and IT Support Abrar Sowi, who also appears above left, next to me) was a joy work with during Kiva training. To learn more about Tamweelcom, visit their website or their Kiva partner page, or contribute to one of their first Kiva loans. Ahlen wa sahlen (welcome in Arabic), Tamweelcom!
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.