In the photo are members of the Unity Group. They are small-scale businessmen based in Waterloo, a town in western Sierra Leone. This is the first loan these entrepreneurs are accessing from SMT/Kiva lenders. With this loan, they will be able to expand their respective businesses, make more profits, and consequently improve their standard of living. The leader of this group is 30-year-old Julius. Julius was born in Kono, but he is currently residing in Waterloo, with his wife and three children. His wife is also in business, and two of his children are attending primary school. For many years, Julius has been selling electrical appliances. With his share of this loan, he is going to buy electrical appliances in large quantity to add to his business.
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.