The cool, air-conditioned air and excited, friendly people inside the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) office was a pleasant change from chaos and hot, humid weather of Manila outside. Last Tuesday was the first day of the Kiva Partnership with CCT, and my first day as a Kiva Fellow.  Managers from different areas of CCT participated in the first day of Kiva-led training. They listened with rapt attention as Rico, Kiva’s Asian Partner Development Specialist, explained the implementation process and demonstrated tools to track loans. Coming from the consulting world, the training was quite different to meetings I was used to: instead of everyone being at a meeting that no one wanted to be at, here, everyone was excited and enthusiastic.

The second day of training focused on how to write and post borrower profiles and journal entries, and included representatives from many of CCT’s branches. These representatives will be responsible for overseeing Kiva posts for their branches. The highlight of the day was posting CCT’s first borrower profiles on Kiva.org. Laughter filled the room as CCT workers took turns writing their first profiles. As the profile of the first borrower, Ofelia Mustapha, a shoe seller from Pasay City, hit Kiva.org, cheers erupted around the room.

As soon as the Kiva-led training finished, CCT’s managers transitioned right into internal implementation planning. “What do we need to do move from ‘Pilot’ to ‘Active’ stage?” “What do we need to do this month?” “What other information do we need to start collecting from borrowers [called partners here] to give lenders all the information they want to know about entrepreneurs looking for loans?” Speaking in a mixture of Tagalog and English, staff members shouted out ideas that were captured on an old white board and recorded in an Excel spreadsheet. For CCT to move to the “Active” stage as soon as possible, and for entrepreneurs in the Philippines to get much-needed loans quickly, there’s no time to waste.

Merrick Brown is a Kiva Fellow with Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in Manila, Philippines.


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Merrick Brown