Kiva Coordinators are my kind of hero; it looks like a data entry job, however it’s the perfect training for juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. They make sure that boring loan and interview forms and loose photos are translated into the real life stories we see on the Kiva website. They have a knack of making each borrower stand out individually, they have the accuracy to enter complex data correctly, they understand how to use a credit limit optimally, they conquer the frustrations of non matching local and Kiva IT systems and last but not least they are masters of charm in influencing the loan officers to comply with Kiva rules, without having any authority.
My KC at Yehu Microfinance Trust is called Anita and she is moving on. Tomorrow she starts as the branch manager of Voi, a very responsible job within Yehu, managing a staff of credit officers and her own loan portfolio. Anita is one of many children, she put herself through school and started as a KC trainee three years ago. She quickly developed herself as a very productive poster of loans (Yehu posts over 250 loans a month) with a keen eye for improvements and handling people. It did not go unnoticed by Yehu management who aim to develop their own staff. Yesterday she arrived in Voi, with an extra sweater for the cold in a unknown environment, ready for the next step in her undoubtedly wonderful career.
I will miss her, terribly. In those few weeks, we have grown close.
Luckily, there is Doreen! Another powerful Kenyan woman in the making. When her mother died and her father remarried, she and her sisters had to take their own decisions. Not following the advice to marry young, Doreen worked in a fashion shop and saved to put herself through college. With the entry level salary at Yehu, she will be able to go to university and support her younger sister to go to college as well. “Actually, I am the breadwinner now”, she smiles with that typical broad laugh I know so well from her by now. Another to be branch manager? Who knows…thank you lenders, thank you very much!