Sinapi Aba Trust (Ghana)

By Michelle Baker, KF11 Ghana

I am a Kiva Fellow working at Sinapi Aba Trust, which is located in Kumasi, Ghana in the heart of the Ashanti.  Sinapi Aba Trust is an autonomous private non-for-profit organization established in 1994 with a mission to “serve as the Mustard Seed through which opportunities for enterprise development and income generation are given to the economically disadvantaged to transform their lives.”

When I was in the field, I had an opportunity to see how Sinapi Aba uses it mission to teach and inspire its staff and borrowers.  Here is a list of guiding principles that is placed on branch office walls that I visited which serve as a reminder to branch staff of Sinapi Aba’s mission.

Since the photo is poor quality, I am rewriting what it says.

The client is the most important person in our premises.

He is not dependent on us, we are dependent on him.

He is not an interruption to our work; he is the purpose of it.

He is not an outsider on our business, he is part of it.

We are not doing him a favor by serving him; he is giving us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

For its borrowers, Sinapi Aba has created a slogan which helps the borrowers connect with the Sinapi Aba staff, learn Sinapi Aba’s mission and reminds borrowers of their responsibilities.  When a Sinapi Aba staff member enters a borrower meeting, this is the exchange that occurs:

The loan officer says “Sinapi”, and the borrowers respond, “Aba pa,” which means “Good seed.”

The loan officer says “Sinapi,” and the borrowers respond, “Nkoso,” which means “Progress.”

The loan officer says “Sinapi,” and the borrowers respond, “Yen pe sika sini,” which means “No part payment.”

The loan officer says “Sinapi,” and the borrowers respond, “No meeting, no cash,” meaning if you don’t attend group meetings, you do not get another loan.

The loan officer says, “Sinapi,” and the borrowers respond, “Wo ma no yie, wa gye,” which means “Regular payment attracts another loan.”

This exchange occurred each time I attended a borrower meeting.  I thought it was an ingenious way to share important information to the borrowers.

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