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A Photo Contest, Kiva Training and Some Light Audit Work

One of the most effective ways of improving Kiva’s relationship with its partners is travelling to the branches and providing Kiva Training.  Kiva training involves a refresher for the Credit Officers – the ones who make microfinance really work on the ground – about what Kiva is, how it works, why it’s important, what they need to do for a Kiva loan and finally – taking GREAT photos!

Now, I’m not a natural photographer, but as you can see from some of the Borrower Profiles on, neither are all our partner’s Credit Officers!   So as part of Kiva training at the branches I have been having the Credit Officers go through an exercise to practice taking GREAT photos of each other using just items around them in the office – you can see some of the results in the slideshow below.

Another critical part of a Fellow’s experience is going out and performing Borrower Verifications.   Aside from the adventure and connection Fellows get from these often remote borrower visits and the audit function it provides for Kiva, we also get a chance to practice our own Borrower Profile photography! – again, you can see the results in the slideshow below.

Click to view slideshow.

Here at SMEP, as an added incentive for our many talented Credit Officers we are planning to organize a photo competition between SMEP’s 42 branches – which of these photos would you give the prize to?  ( You can vote at the bottom of Gallery):

1) Nairobi West Branch - SMEP Borrower Annah - was able to expand her offerings from Charcoal and Eggs to Fruit and Vegetables. 2) Nairobi West Branch - Credit Officer Duncan - Kiva Training Photo Practice 3) Nairobi Central Branch - Credit Officer Douglas - Kiva Training Photo Practice 4) Nairobi Central Branch - SMEP Borrower Joyce - Moved her business to Kangemi where she refurbished a shop that will provide cooking gas and mobile phone accessories 5) Mombasa Branch - SMEP Borrower Munga - Bought maize, flour and other items for his duka 6) Thika Branch - SMEP Borrower Cyrus (3rd from Left) and his group - added more ladies shoes to his inventory 7) Karatina Branch - SMEP Borrower Regina - Expanded product offerings to include ladies underwear and shoes 8) Kitengela Branch - ICT Officer Samson - Kiva Training Photo Practice 9) Kitengela Branch - SMEP Borrower Colletta - purchased more stock for her clothing and luggage shop 10) Maua Branch - SMEP Credit Officer Everlyne - Kiva Training Photo Practice 11) Maua Branch - SMEP Borrower Naman - now grows Miraa for sale and export 12) Maua Branch - SMEP Borrower Naman's Kids - Selling Smiles. 13) Meru Branch - Credit Officer Wilson and Branch Manager Emmanuel - Horsing around during Kiva Training Photo Practice 14) Meru Branch - SMEP Borrower Peter (not horsing around) - Used loan to construct a no graze cattle enclosure 15) Meru Branch - Non SMEP Cient - a natural for a KIVA Borrower profile 16) SMEP Nakuru Branch - WASH Coordinator Extraordinaire Peter - Kiva Training Photo Practice 17) Nakuru Branch - SMEP Borrower - Grace - Used loan to expand beauty shop offerings to include grocery and other items 18) Nakuru Branch - SMEP Borrower Grace and Friends - Used loan to expand beauty shop offerings used by the community. 19) Nakuru Branch - Future SMEP / Kiva Borrower - Will use loan to expand his welding business 20) Nakuru Branch - Future SMEP / Kiva Borrower - Will use loan to expand his welding business


Patrick Seeton is a Kiva Fellow, working in Kenya this summer with Kiva Zip and field partner SMEP Deposit Taking Microfinance, a microfinance institution based in Nairobi with close to 40 branches throughout Kenya. Find out how you can become a Kiva Fellow or just more information on kiva and microfinance in general on

About the author

Patrick Seeton