Wezesha Project is a microfinance program located in the severely underserved South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Founded by Canada-based Christian organization Emergency Relief & Development Overseas (ERDO), the program aims to empower communities from the inside out, working exclusively with women to help them lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Wezesha offers a single group loan product designed to help clients develop skills they already have into small sustainable businesses. Most women use the funds to buy products for resale at local markets (e.g. charcoal, soap, sugar), prepare and sell meals at their restaurants, or purchase materials to produce their own goods to sell (e.g. clothing).

All borrowers start with the minimum $50 loan and -- upon full repayment -- may double their amount at each loan cycle until they reach the maximum amount of $500. Each loan has a 30% annual interest rate, with no additional fees. In order to be eligible for Wezesha funding, borrowers must:

(1) Already be engaged in business activities

(2) Show a significant level of need

(3) Live within reasonable proximity to a project lending post

As a means of promoting sustainability, Wezesha assists borrowers in opening a group savings account with a local cooperative. Groups are encouraged to save increasing amounts with each loan cycle. Wezesha also offers exit grants to members who have reached the maximum loan size of $500 and 8 cycles, matching $0.50 for each $1 in savings.

A unique lending approach:

Wezesha Project already serves more than 1,600 women at lending posts located in their communities in the South Kivu region. The program has a waitlist of new clients that it is unable to support due to a lack of funding and resources. To meet this growing demand, Wezesha plans to open several more lending posts between Bukavu and Uvira, each serving a maximum of 240 women.

Kiva lenders’ funds will allow Wezesha to increase the size of its program by opening more lending posts, while keeping interest rates low and offering exit grants to members ready to graduate.


Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Jul 7, 2014 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $10,000 $592,214,975
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $816,125
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 663
Amount of Paying Back Loans $10,000 $116,724,125
Number of Paying Back Loans 5 124,134
Amount of Ended Loans $0 $474,674,725
Number of Ended Loans 0 602,242
Delinquency Rate 2.64% 4.02%
Amount in Arrears $230 $3,026,567
Outstanding Portfolio $8,723 $75,221,618
Number of loanDelinquent 2 12,360
Default Rate 0.00% 1.13%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $0 $5,345,663
Amount of Ended Loans $0 $474,674,725
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 0 16,814
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.09%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $538,403
Refund Rate 0.00% 0.77%
Amount of Refunded Loans $0 $4,537,625
Number of Refunded Loans 0 5,064

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 100.00% 74.19%
Average Loan Size $400 $418
Average Individual Loan Size $0 $656
Average Group Loan Size $2,000 $1,828
Average number of borrowers per group 5 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $119 $3,429
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 336.13% 12.20%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 3.59 days 5.6 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $111.48 $74.62
  Average Loan Term 8 months 10.35 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 2 296,398
  Journaling Rate 0.00% 42.38%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.08
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.87

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2013 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 59% PY 56.00% PY 33.27% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 1.1% -1.45%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 15.00% 40.88%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Kiva Administrator
Mike Boomer
Tricia Shaw