It would appear there have been some discrepancies with some of the loans I have been involved in, so I am placing a copy of the e-mail I received here today for all to read.
It would appear that KIVA now has things under control, although it does raise some alarm bells with me about KIVA:
Dear Kiva Lenders,
My name is Maia Pelleg and I'm a Kiva Fellow working with Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT) in Ghana. I completed my first placement as a Kiva Fellow in Kenya in January, 2010 and was thrilled to embark on an experience with Kiva and microfinance in the new context of West Africa. The initial goals of my posting in Ghana included implementing a repayment reporting system, facilitating a process that enables SAT to provide journal updates to lenders, and making necessary changes to increase efficiency.
I arrived in Kumasi and quickly ascertained that Ghana's reputation for tremendous hospitality stems from reality. The staff of SAT welcomed me warmly and graciously offered to acquaint me with various aspects of Ashanti society.
Unfortunately, as I discovered the kindness of SAT staff, I also found that SAT's existing Kiva system was extremely flawed and lacked proper management. A close look revealed that many loan amounts and terms published on the Kiva website were incorrect. Additionally, the presence of multiple duplicate loan postings was concerning.
Kiva took immediate action and paused SAT for fundraising on Kiva.org. We have evaluated many aspects of the SAT partnership, and I am confident that operational weaknesses can be corrected and adequate management information systems can be utilized.
I have spent the last few weeks designing a new decentralized Kiva system and have already begun implementing changes. Including loan officers from around the country in Kiva processes serves as an additional check as well as enables SAT to provide journal updates and scale in the future. Central to the new Kiva platform is an internal data system that will verify loan details and automate frequent and accurate repayment reports. Additionally, a senior regional manager will be stepping in as Kiva Coordinator at the end of this month.
I am working directly with SAT leadership and staff to execute identified changes. Just this week I trained two branches and several loan officers in how to collect borrower information and photographs for Kiva's site. I can attest to SAT's commitment to a strong Kiva partnership based on integrity and honesty. I am confident that we are able to bridge any gaps that existed in SAT's process of raising funds on Kiva.
This experience serves as a reminder of how seriously Kiva takes transparency and accountability. I hope you will share my ongoing confidence in SAT and more generally in microfinance. Sinapi Aba Trust makes a real difference in the lives of low-income entrepreneurs and I am excited to be a part of enabling them to continue their lending footprint.
Kiva very much appreciates your responses online. You can read and respond to this journal online at:
Kiva - Loans that change lives