Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Featured Field Partner: Pearl Microfinance Limited, Uganda

Featured Field Partner: Pearl Microfinance Limited, Uganda

Staci Chirchick, Review and Translation Program Intern


Kiva Field Partner since: September 2007
Loans through Kiva: $7,240,425
Number of entrepreneurs assisted through Kiva: 31,761
Focus: "To be a leading Financial Institution providing suitable financial services to the economically active population in Uganda."

Pearl Microfinance Limited operates in 16 districts of Uganda, using 11 branch offices and 3 field offices. Pearl currently serves over 16,000 clients with a portfolio size of 2.5 million USD. Pearl has been regarded as one of the most progressive microfinance institutions in Uganda. They have been given an A rating by the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMIU) based on their operations, portfolio size and quality, outreach, and operational and financial sustainability.

Political Instability in Kampala Affects Borrowers
There has been much instability in Kampala since the February elections as well as rising fuel and food prices. There have been many protests and riots that have forced some borrowers to shut down their businesses for the day. This causes borrowers to suffer from reduced profits, which can make it more difficult to repay their loans on time. This is especially true for borrowers in the food and transport business, for they are having a difficult time expanding, or even maintaining their businesses.

How Pearl is Unique
Pearl is committed to keeping the lenders informed with in-depth client stories and journaling. Pearl has a journaling rate of 66.74%, meaning that they have posted updates on the loans of about two-thirds of their Kiva borrowers. This is far above the average of 40.99% for all Kiva Field Partners. The staff at Pearl who work with Kiva (Richard Wetaya and Grace Natoolo) grasps the fact that the borrowers’ stories are a powerful tool to keep the Kiva community connected. Pearl is passionate about their borrowers as well as the partnership they have with Kiva. They have an amazing amount of pride in their work and it shines through in the amount of attention they give to each borrower profile and journal entry they produce.

A Fellow’s Favorite Loan
Michele Wehle is currently a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. When asked about her favorite loan, this is what she had to say: “One of my favorite loans is one that I am a lender of myself. The loan is for the Maria Development Group in Mukono, Uganda. What attracted me to this loan was the featured group member’s story, who like myself, is a 28 year old woman. Rose is a diligent businesswoman and a happy mother of one. I especially liked how Rose’s story indicated that her extensive business experience would make her enterprise thrive even more in the future. The story conveyed the feeling that my loan would make a real difference in her life and in her business, and is why I was chose to lend to the group. There are hundreds of loans a lender can choose to lend to on Kiva, but Pearl’s borrower profiles and stories make their borrowers stand apart from others on the website.”

The Future for Pearl
In the future, Pearl wants to focus on green loans, for instance funding for new cooking stoves. They also want to look into mobile banking to create wider access for borrowers. Pearl aspires to expand to other parts of Uganda where there are many more people who could benefit from micro loans.

Photo by Pearl Microfinance Limited

For more information: http://www.kiva.org/partners/84