Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recent Tsunami in Samoa: update from SPBD

Thank you for all the concern expressed by lenders regarding the recent tsunami in Samoa (CNN report here.)

We have received the following communication from our Field Partner South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), based in Samoa. We are relieved to learn that no staff have suffered casualties, although many of their clients have been affected. At this point we are not sure the extent of damages suffered by SPBD clients, however SPBD is currently working to assess damages.

Coincidentally, Kiva had scheduled a Kiva Fellow to begin working with SPBD on September 30 as part of the Kiva Fellows Program. The Kiva Fellow, Agnes Chu, did arrive safely and is currently working with SPBD to survey the extent of damages suffered.

If you are a lender to an SPBD client, please be aware that it will take time for SPBD to gather information on their clients, and it will take further time for updates to be provided on individual Kiva loans, if this is at all possible. Please remember that at this time SPBD's top priority is to serve their clients where they can.

Following is the message we have received from SPBD:

September 30,


As many of you will be aware, the Pacific Island nation of Samoa took a devastating hit yesterday. A massive earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale shook Samoa just prior to 7:00AM local time. A few hours later a large tsunami (giant tidal wave) wreaked havoc on the South coast of the island of Upolu. Entire villages were wiped away. There are many dead and thousands of homeless.

An effective humanitarian solution is needed quickly. People need temporary shelter, dry clean clothing and proper drinking water. Then the long process of rebuilding needs to begin as soon as possible. Homes need to be rebuilt and a local economy made up of thousands of micro-enterprises needs to be rebuilt.

South Pacific Business Development Foundation (SPBD) is in a unique position to help the families that have been devastated. Many of them are our clients. We are deeply rooted in all of the communities that have been shattered. SPBD has been working in Samoa since 2000. We have worked with nearly 12,000 poor families in nearly every village across Samoa and have provided them with small business training, unsecured credit for micro-enterprise development and ongoing guidance and motivation. We have helped the poor improve their homes and to ensure their children receive a proper education. And we have helped them to save for the proverbial rainy day - which is now so clearly here.

And now it is time for us to do much more. Won't you please support our efforts at this time of enormous need?

In the US and around the world, donations can be made to SPBD's global charitable development partner, The MicroDreams Foundation. You can donate to MicroDreams and 100% of your donation will be channeled to SPBD in Samoa by clicking here.

You can also donate online at

or at

or by sending a check made out to:

The MicroDreams Foundation
60 Park Place, Suite 2100, Newark, NJ, USA, 07102.

Any amount, no matter how small is helpful.

And please pass this note forward to any friends or colleagues that may also be interested in helping out.

All the very best,
Fa'afetai telelava,

Greg Casagrande