Kiva conducts regular, ongoing monitoring of all Field Partners, but only posts status updates here in response to relevant, major changes at the partner.

Partner Description:

Grameen Foundation Application Laboratories (AppLab) is an anti-poverty technology program run by Grameen Foundation, a major global nonprofit that helps the world’s poorest people -- especially women -- improve their lives and escape poverty by providing access to financial services, life-changing information, and unique income-generating opportunities.

Grameen Foundation believes that barriers to information and services related to health, finance, agriculture, job opportunities, etc. perpetuate poverty. By leveraging the power of mobile phones to both share and collect information, the AppLab program aims to expand opportunity and improve people’s lives in rural and developing regions.

Through its Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative, AppLab is building a network of “farmer leaders” across Uganda who use mobile devices to share expert agricultural information with their small-holder farmer neighbors living on less than $2 a day. These peer-nominated point people also collect information from these farmers through phone based surveys.

This initiative has several goals:


- To reduce the costs of adopting new agricultural practices.
- To empower organizations serving farmers to better meet their needs.
- To improve farmers’ crop yields and incomes.


The CKWs are paid small monthly salaries based on the number of information searches and surveys they complete. These salaries add to -- and sometimes even double -- the amount that the CKWs earn as smallholder farmers themselves.

Grameen Foundation works with a number of agricultural organizations to package agricultural information accessible through mobile phones, using menu-based search tools, simple language and illustrative graphics. This information includes market prices, treatments for crop and animal diseases, weather forecasts, supplier contacts and more. The program also works with poverty-focused organizations (including government agencies and NGOs) to develop surveys that can help improve and expand support services for farmers.

Kiva loans will be used to fund CKWs’ startup costs. Borrowers will receive in-kind loans in the form of business kits containing smartphones, batteries, charging devices and weighing scales for crops. The latter two items enable CKWs to earn extra income by providing additional services to farmers. Combined with training, these tools are all CKWs need to get started and earn revenue.

Kiva funding will enable AppLab to redirect its resources to expansion efforts, which will increase the number of CKWs, strengthen operations in the field and invest in future offerings like mobile money transfers. AppLab hopes to turn Uganda into a hub for deploying similar agricultural information programs in other markets. Kiva’s zero-interest capital could give AppLab the boost it needs to make this happen.

The infrastructure used to support AppLab’s efforts is the result of a collaborative effort for more than five years between Grameen Foundation, Google and MTN-Uganda. The program also draws support from the U.N. World Food Program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Grameen Foundation is supportive of the Smart Campaign and the client protection principles that have emerged from its work. It has built them into their due diligence and partner vetting processes. It has also supported the campaign through being a founding member of the Microfinance CEO's Working Group, putting the campaign’s principles at the center of its advocacy efforts. Grameen remains unable to formally endorse the Smart Campaign because it feels that it does not go far enough in a few areas, including as responsible pricing. Discussions on these outstanding issues are ongoing with Smart Campaign leadership.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Nov 6, 2012 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $170,050 $606,062,375
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $550,525
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 446
Amount of Paying Back Loans $169,725 $120,732,000
Number of Paying Back Loans 599 130,204
Amount of Ended Loans $325 $484,779,850
Number of Ended Loans 1 612,886
Delinquency Rate 0.00% 4.03%
Amount in Arrears $0 $3,183,786
Outstanding Portfolio $115,124 $78,958,718
Number of loanDelinquent 0 13,773
Default Rate 78.05% (See Note) 1.11%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $254 $5,357,098
Amount of Ended Loans $325 $484,779,850
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 1 16,819
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.09%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $572,888
Refund Rate 6.95% 0.75%
Amount of Refunded Loans $11,825 $4,553,925
Number of Refunded Loans 43 5,085

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 35.61% 74.22%
Average Loan Size $283 $419
Average Individual Loan Size $283 $656
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,831
Average number of borrowers per group 0 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,500 $3,423
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 18.86% 12.23%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 3.25 days 5.71 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $87.07 $73.40
  Average Loan Term 34.87 months 10.41 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 3 302,284
  Journaling Rate 0.00% 42.37%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.08
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.83

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2011 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 0% APR 57.00% PY 33.29% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 4.5% -1.37%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 61.00% 38.28%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Fiona Byarugaba
Carol Kakooza
Godfrey Nanzigwa
Richard Nuwagaba
Simon Okot
Noah Ssempijja
Tiffany Wilson