New Field Partner: Promoting entrepreneurship for youth in Zimbabwe with PENYA

We’re thrilled to welcome Practical Empowerment and Networking Youth Association (PENYA) as our new partner in Zimbabwe!

Kiva loves supporting youth empowerment. Providing young people with training and support to pursue their dreams is a major part of our mission, which is why we’re so thrilled to bring PENYA aboard.

With high youth illiteracy rates and insufficient formal employment opportunities, Zimbabwe is one of the toughest places for youth to thrive. Ten years of economic recession from 1998 to 2008, governmental land reform programs, and a large national debt have damaged the country’s economy, bringing the national poverty rate to 68%. On top of that, formal employment has been declining since the 1980s. In fact, about  65% of Zimbabwe’s labor force is dependent on income from informal economic activities.

One of the main reasons for high levels of unemployment among youth is lack of skills and knowledge. But the good news is that there are opportunities out there for youth to build sustainable businesses in agribusiness, trade, services and other industries.

Even though it's a relatively young organization, PENYA's work is critical for youth in Zimbabwe. By providing business development training and creating partnerships with community groups, the organization is helping young people start and grow profitable businesses.

How does it work?

PENYA has created Rural Youth Groups (like the Varimi Vechidiki Group above) that assist youth in vulnerable households to achieve financial independence. These groups provide business skill training and encourage young entrepreneurs to develop “innovative green businesses” that generate income while protecting the environment. To date, PENYA has supported over 300 clients with training in entrepreneurship and formed 36 school health clubs.

Where does Kiva come in?

Kiva lenders’ funds will help the organization expand its reach and grow into a commercial entity. As a result, more people will attend training, and even more will be able to start their own businesses.

Kiva is very excited to partner with PENYA and help the organization reach even more youth in Zimbabwe. If you want to support specialized programs for youth and help them start and grow their own business, then these loans are the right choice for you!


Have questions about PENYA? Send them our way at

Images courtesy of PENYA.

About the author

Amniya Shahbozova

Amniya was born in Khorog, Tajikistan, a city on the Tajik-Afghan border. After finishing high school, she obtained a scholarship to study Accounting, Analysis and Audit at the Finance Academy under the Government of Russia. After graduating and working for two years as an accountant in Moscow, Russia, she interned with Aga Khan Foundation, USA in Washington DC where she became interested in microfinance. She then completed an MSc. in International Business at University West in Sweden and returned to Tajikistan, where she worked as Social Performance and Product Development Officer and later Product Development Manager for the First MicroFinance Bank (FMFB). While working for FMFB, Amniya facilitated the first loan program for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and led the Bank’s development of Remittance Linked Savings for Tajik migrants in Russia. Amniya is an avid traveler, and loves listening to music both from Tajikistan and North America.