By Dave Weber, KF16 Cambodia
In addition to the financial services provided by CREDIT World Relief, a Kiva field partner in Cambodia, they also have a unique program called the Vulnerable Services Unit (VSU) program which gives gifts to their poorest clients. I had the opportunity to attend the distribution of these gifts during my third week at CREDIT and it was a special experience.
CREDIT analyzes their loan portfolio and determines which of their clients have the greatest financial need. These are clients that are borrowing as little as $12.50 on loans through CREDIT. These clients are very poor, even by Cambodian standards. This excerpt (from CREDIT’s field partner page) describes CREDIT’s VSU program:
The VSU program provides microfinance services to those who are otherwise not able to access financial services, as well as to families living with HIV/AIDS. The early success of this program has attracted the attention of numerous worldwide donors, including Erikjalpen, Tear Fund Netherlands and Tear Fund New Zealand, and CREDIT has plans for its expansion.
The gifts that CREDIT provides to them cost over $150 per gift and include:
- A bicycle with a basket, bell, and lock
- A 50kg bag of rice
- 2 batteries and a light for reading/working at night. The batteries can be recharged from a generator for only $0.50.
- A bag filled with school supplies for the education of their children
- Dishes and silverware
These gifts make a large impact on Cambodian families, especially given the recent flooding in Cambodia resulting in lost crops and lack of work for hundreds of thousands of Cambodians.
CREDIT’s marketing department asked me to take photos and video for use in their marketing. I pulled together some clips of the morning and recorded audio commentaries by Vichet Ouch, CREDIT’s VSU Coordinating Officer, in both Khmai and English. Below is the completed English version well worth 2 minutes of the reader’s time to witness the joy and relief on the faces of the clients provided with these gifts.
Please take a look at the current CREDIT loans waiting for funding on Kiva.org and be a part of an entrepreneur’s story for as little as $25. And with CREDIT’s seriously impressive repayment rate, there’s a 99.48% chance you’ll be repaid in full!
Dave Weber is a 4th year PhD candidate in Information Systems at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. His dissertation topic is on the impact of information and communication technologies on the microfinance industry. He and his wife worked at Woodstock School in the Himalayan foothills of India and have volunteered with NightLight in Bangkok aimed at assisting the victims of sex trafficking. When he is not reading, writing, and researching, Dave enjoys playing basketball and tennis, music, traveling, wreaking havoc on his Harley, and rooting for the pathetic Cincinnati Bengals, although he’s seriously considering switching his allegiance back to the Detroit Lions.