Pictured above are teachers of a primary school in Makeni, a city in northern Sierra Leone. This group of teachers has come to SMT, a partner of Kiva.org, to apply for a loan of 25,700,000 Sierra Leone leones for the entire team. With the help of this loan, this group of teachers will be able to buy or invest in things that they would not otherwise be able to buy or invest in left with their salaries alone. Some usually use these loans to buy plots of land, house-building materials, to pay school fees for their children, to buy pieces of furniture, etc. And at the end of each month, they use their monthly salaries to repay the loan. It is their school’s bursar who is directly responsible for doing the deductions and making the repayments on their behalf.
Abu is the leader of this group. The 42-year-old is married to a trader, and the couple has six children who are attending primary and secondary schools. Abu has been a teacher for 17 years now. He has requested this loan in order to buy house-building materials like iron corrugated zinc, sand, nails, cement, rods, etc., for the construction of a dwelling house.
(Attached on the right of the photo are pictures of Abu Bakarr and Fatmata, who are members of the group but were not present for a group photo.)
About Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT)
Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) is Kiva’s oldest field partner in Sierra Leone. SMT began operations in 2002 as a microcredit program of the NGO Child Fund Sierra Leone under a USAID program to assist the reintegration of ex combatants back into their communities. Today, SMT offers group, agricultural, individual and salary loans to micro-entrepreneurs through six branches and one sub-branch in rural, urban, and peri-urban areas. By providing small loans and other financial services, SMT empowers poor clients to generate more income to help their families, improve their wellbeing, and create a more vibrant private small-business sector in Sierra Leone.
This is a Group Loan
In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan but is part of a larger group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and to provide a system of peer pressure, but groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members in the case of delinquency or default.
Kiva's Field Partners typically feature one borrower from a group. The loan description, sector, and other attributes for a group loan profile are determined by the featured borrower's loan. The other members of the group are not required to use their loans for the same purpose.
About Housing Loans
Many poor families cannot afford housing that meets their needs. When you make a housing loan on Kiva, you give people access to flexible capital to obtain or improve their homes. Better housing means better health, sanitation, and even educational outcomes for children. A house can also be much more for entrepreneurs who run businesses out of their homes. In this way, housing and small business loans on Kiva share a common purpose: to alleviate poverty and enable families to enjoy more stable lives.