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.
Kiva’s newest partner is Finadev-Benin! Finadev-Benin has been providing microcredit services to Beninois people since 2001, making it the oldest private microfinance institution in Benin. They currently operate 6 branch offices, with about 5,600 active borrowers.
Benin’s many entrepreneurs are served by an active microfinance sector, and Finadev has played a significant role since the very beginning.
Having grown together for nearly 10 years, FINADEV's staff have built strong relationships with their clients. This closeness and mutual trust was evident during the Kiva training process. When Marketing Officer Debora Edou explained Kiva to a group of clients, she eloquently reassured the women that Kiva was a safe, friendly place for them to share their stories and photographs: "Nous n’allons pas exposer nos sœur s à des gens mal-intentionnés. Ça ne vous honore pas, et ne nous honore non plus." In English, "We won’t expose our sisters to people with bad intentions. That would not honor you, and would not honor us either." She also explained that by sharing their information with Kiva, these Beninois women were showing the world that Benin, and Africa, is home to more than bad news. It is a place where "il y a des femmes vaillantes qui se battent et qui travaillent." In English, "where there are courageous women who fight and work."
I could not have said it any better.