Please join Kiva in welcoming Micro Start (Action des Femmes pour le Développement), Kiva’s newest field partner, and our first partner in Burkina Faso! Headquartered in Ouagadougou (the country's capital city), Micro Start was founded by women to serve women. The institution was born when a group of 8 women, each of whom had significant experience in business and microfinance, pooled their own funds in order to found an institution that would support poor women entrepreneurs through lending. 10 years later, the institution operates 5 branch offices and serves approximately 17,000 clients, 92% of whom are female.
The Micro Start management team (pictured below) includes three of the original founders, and strives to continually improve the services they provide to Burkinabe entrepreneurs.
The country has been under military rule since the 1980s. Due to political unrest, the government has instituted a 9pm curfew in Ouagadougou, as I experienced firsthand during my training visit in late March. The curfew ends at 6am, leaving many entrepreneurs little time to gather their wares together and make the long trip into town to earn their living.
Please join us in applauding Micro Start's work and warmly welcoming the institution’s first borrowers to Kiva.org! To learn more Micro Start, visit their partner page, or lend to one of its first Kiva loans.
As Portfolio Manager for Francophone and North Africa, Kathy Guis is responsible for oversight and expansion of Kiva’s microfinance partnerships in the region. Currently based in San Francisco, Kathy began working with Kiva in February 2010. She spent her first two years with Kiva as a Senior Field Support Specialist working remotely in Dakar, Senegal and Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to working with Kiva, she worked at nonprofit literary journal Memoir, and organized the journal’s memoir writing program with juvenile detainees. Kathy graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Comparative Literature, summa cum laudein 2006. She is fluent in French, and has traveled extensively in Francophone Africa and the Middle East.