When I first decided to go into business as a photographer full time I knew I would encounter some challenges. However, at no time was I worried about being able to feed and take care of my family. The main reason is that I have a very supportive wife and she has a great job that we knew could sustain us as I built up my business.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case in for most people, especially women, in many places around the world. I knew from the moment I made my first dollar as a professional photographer that I wanted to do something to give back.
In April 2013, I was introduced to Kiva.org, an amazing Micro-Lending platform. From that moment a portion of all session revenue is invested in female entrepreneur from developing countries.
Why are you only Investing in Women?
Since my time as an infantry officer with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and during my combat tour to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2006 it became, on a first hand basis, painfully clear that women in many third world and developing countries face unjust obstacles not faced by men. Many are flat out prevented from borrowing money, opening a business and in many situations face extreme dangers, even death by simply attempting to do so.
Why Not Support Local?
Although true that women entrepreneurs everywhere face challenges, I believe women in third world and developing countries generally face hardships greater then women entrepreneurs in North America. I wanted to invest in women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, however, KIVA currently does not operate in that country. For the time being, I am focusing my loans in Kenya.
Caroline – Raising Funds
Caroline is a farmer from the Bomet area of Kenya. She practices both livestock and crop farming for a living. To make extra income for her family, she engages in cereal trade as a middle woman between farmers and buyers.
For her cereal business to be worthwhile, Caroline needs to buy more cereals and a significant volume of cereal produce from farmers, which is very expensive for her since she is just starting out… See Caroline’s Full Kiva Posting
Beatrice – 23% Repaid
Beatrice practices mixed farming — that is, crop and animal farming — and through these two she has been able to support her family, but she still faces challenges, which is why she wants to diversify and buy more poultry birds and increase her poultry business.
She is seeking a loan to buy poultry, and she believes that through the increased income, she will be able to comfortably take care of her family and assure her children of a secure future… See Beatrice’s Full Kiva Posting
Berine – 16% Repaid
Berine is a widow, aged 51 years. She is the mother of four children and she supports all their needs. Berine owns a boutique which sells shoes and handbags. She enjoys interacting with her clients and giving them services. Her challenge is low working capital to grow her business.
With this loan, Berine will buy shoes and handbags to boost her business. Her profit will pay back her loan and educate her children. This is the first loan that she has taken. Her dream is to grow her boutique, and open outlets in other major towns… See Berine’s Full Kiva Posting
Virginia – 32% Repaid
Virginia is a 56-year-old lady, married and blessed with five children. She joined Hand in Hand Eastern Africa in the year 2012 and has benefited from enterprise development and financial management training.
She does maize, beans, and potatoes farming. She is borrowing a Kiva loan to buy farm inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. She hopes this will increase her production; hence, increase her income. She will therefore use the anticipated income to provide food and clothing for her family… See Virginia’s Full Kiva Posting
Monicah – 28% Repaid
Although Monicah has been making profits through farming, not everything has been easy for this humble and industrious mum. Her farm has not been producing as much of a harvest because of the lack of fertilizer and good seeds and the presence of pests and diseases. That is why she is seeking a loan to buy farm inputs. Through the loan, Monicah will be assured of a bumper harvest, and this will translate into more profits and cash. Through the use of good seeds and fertilizer, she will increase her profit margins.
Monicah will be able to expand her farming business. She sees a lot of room for improvement and growth. What is lacking is the money to push the positive change. With your loan, Monicah will make enough income to take care of her family… See Monicah’s Full Kiva Posting
Alice – 66% Repaid
Alice is a married woman and she has two children. She operates a retail business where she sells vegetables and cereals. She has been involved in this business for four years. Her business is located in a good area and her primary customers are locals.
She will use the KES 30,000 loan to buy more stock of vegetables and cereals. This is her fifth loan with SMEP Microfinance Bank. The previous loans were repaid successfully. She will use the anticipated profits to cater for family needs. See Alice’s Full Kiva Posting
Sally – 45% Repaid
Speaking with Sally, it becomes obvious that she is a very hardworking and helpful woman, and that everything she does is for her family’s benefit and wellbeing. She lives in a humble home in the town of Kitale, along with her handsome husband and their angelic-looking four children. She has always striven to give them a decent life and a good education.
She has been in agriculture for seven years now. She makes money selling produce from her farm, including milk, eggs, and crops. She enjoys plowing her farm and watering her plants. Crop diseases pose a big challenge for her and also add to poor productivity… See Sally’s Full Kiva Posting
Alice – 53% Repaid
Alice is a 49-year-old smallholder mixed-farmer from Kerugoya, Kenya. She has two children. She has been selling milk, eggs and food crops from her farm for 10 years. These primary income sources have sustained her and her family for all this time. However, the income is not enough to fulfill her family’s basic needs.
Alice names all the animals on her farm. She spends her free time planting and weeding vegetables. Her passion enables her to overcome her biggest challenge, which is marketing her products. … See Alice’s Full Kiva Posting
Leah – 81% Repaid
This is Leah a farmer in Nanyuki. She is single mother and a sole bread winner. She enjoys farming and with the profit from her produce she is able to educate her child and take care of her extended family. Her main challenge has been finances, water scarcity. With a Kiva loan, she will be able to buy seedlings, fertilizers and hire casual labor for her farm.
Her vision is with the profit from this farming she will buy a generator and pipes that she will use on her farm for irrigation… See Leah’s Full Kiva Posting
Joyce is 54 years old and has 6 children. She has been a farmer for more than 20 years and is always said to be a very experienced farmer. Even though Joyce is the only one featured in the above picture, she is actually representing her group fof 14 farmers in the Webuye District of Kenya.
Joyce started working alongside One Acre Fund a few years ago, in 2012, and decided to do so because she wanted to have access to quality training and acquire new farming methods.… See Jocyce’s Full Kiva Posting
Rodah – 80% Repaid
Rodah is a humble, hardworking woman who has devoted much of her life to raising her children. She lives in the Kenyenya area of Kenya, where she practices mixed farming. The rich soil of this area makes it one of the nation’s biggest banana growing regions, lending it the nickname of “the banana region”.
For the past 10 years, Rodah has been involved in mixed farming, and her primary source of income has been selling milk, eggs, maize and a variety of food crops. These ventures have allowed her to earn a decent income. … See Rodah’s Full Kiva Posting
Stellah– 73% Repaid
Stellah is a woman eager to get ahead. She is a 39-year-old mother who lives with her family in the Kitale area of Kenya. She is blessed with a lovely family that is her greatest motivation in life to persevere because she wants to provide them a better future.
Stellah was unable to study to get a professional career because of the economic situation that her family faced. However, she never gave up and has been practicing farming for the past 10 years. She is an early riser who goes to her farm to earn a living, and she has space there to use for dairy farming… See Stella’s Full Kiva Posting
Russetta– 93% Repaid
Meet Russetta, a joyful hardworking farmer living in the Nkubu area of eastern Kenya. She is married and has four children, all of school-going age. She enjoys farming because of the high production she gets. She has been doing it for 16 years. Her primary income source is milk, eggs, tea, maize, and vegetables. Her major challenge is insufficient capital for carrying out her projects.
Russetta chose Juhudi Kilimo for this loan because of their favorable interest rate on their loans. During the training, she learned how to plan and budget every detail of her farming activities. She says that through this loan, she will be able to produce more crops to sell. This will lead to an increase in income… See Russetta’s Full Kiva Posting
Past Investments & Success Stories