Saturday, February 23, 2013, the Community Economic Development (CED) staff gathered at Masafa Hotel in Sirari, Tanzania to celebrate the success of three outstanding Field Officers (FO) from Isibania Division. The trio, Mrs. Constancia Nyangora, Mrs. Elizabeth Robi, and Mr. Marsiaga Moniko were selected based on the commitment and hard work they have shown in savings and loan collection, recruitment and training of new members.

As we are closing most of the old KAPESA – JDF loans from Isibania Division, few clients were lagging behind the normal repayment schedule. Such tendency has led a good number of clients into arrears. As we are keen in helping community members in achieving their financial goals, healthy portfolio and repayment of loans are crucial for the success, sustainability and effectiveness of the program.

With the objective of collecting 65-70% of the late loans in two months, we encouraged the Isibania Division Field Officers (FOs) to come up with strategy and make an extra ordinary effort to clear all the late payments. With the help of their Field Manager, three of the FOs hit the target and exceed expectations. The three together were able to collect Ksh206,226 from a total portfolio at risk of Ksh294,666. This is equivalent to 71% of the total portfolio at risk. Out of a total of 35 late loans they were able to close 28 loans. Besides achieving this target they are able to reschedule the repayment of seven loans with a current outstanding balance of Ksh88,440. This would help CED to achieve outstanding repayment rate in all loans given in Isibania Division in the old KAPESA and JDF schemes.

Number one winner of the contest Mrs. Constancia Nyangora shared here stories on how hard she was working to meet the target. She said that collecting loan repayment is a very hard task. Since the Kuria community is a male dominated community, women clients have a unique burden of repaying loans. There were situations where some husbands manipulated their wives to take a loan for their hidden objectives. Once the loan is disbursed these husbands take away the money.

Constancia faced a husband who snatched the loan given to his wife. When Constancia heard the story she went to speak to him to return back the money. Instead of returning, the guy confronted Constancia, and asked why she approved a loan to his wife without getting his permission. He threatened to kill her with bow and arrow if she continued asking for the money. Constancia knew that the guy was a sharp shooter. She feared that he might kill her if she kept insisting on him. Her plea for help from the local authorities didn’t help much.

She deeply thought about how to get this money back. She was creative enough to tackle the problem. She found out that every time she went to meet this person she saw him smoking cannabis. She thought that this guy might plant the cannabis in his farm. She knew that smoking and planting cannabis is punishable by law with a maximum prison term of 10 years. She identified where the guy planted the cannabis. She knew that the local authorities are responsible in enforcing this.

So she went to the authorities and asked for a deal. She told them that she could show an area where an illegal plant was growning and in return she asked for help to collect loan money taken from her client by her husband. They agreed with the deal, she showed them the place and they urged the guy to return the money he snatched or face a criminal charge for his alleged cannabis growing. The guy didn’t have a choice except return the loan back.

This is the day-to-day struggle that our staff in the field are facing.  They are sacrificing their talent, time and energy to help their community skip out of extreme poverty and make our program successful.

We are proud of you: Constancia, Elizabeth and Marsiaga!!! Keep the fight!!!