Friday, March 29, 2013

Microfinance Programme Activities

In this blog, our Microfinance Programme Manager talks about his daily work, the people he works with and the skills he transfers to make it successful.

My name is Sovann Thet. I am not original from Siem Reap. I am from Banteay Meanchey, in the west of Cambodia next to Khmer-Thai border. I have worked in the Microfinance sector since 2007 with Seilanithih Micro Finance Institution and I have been Microfinance Programme Manager at JWOC for one year.

I am very happy to work for JWOC, especially for the Microfinance Programme and with the Microfinance team. There are 21 JWOC Scholarship students in the team, and most of them are women. It is good for the programme because most of JWOC’s borrowers are women. Our students volunteer as Loan Officers and build good relationship with the borrowers. Some of them are studying in second year, some are in third year and some of them are in final year. Most of them study in the field of finance and banking, and some are in the field of management. They are very helpful. I train them on how to work in the microloan sector before they start working with me.

Two Borrowers who both have vegetable stalls at the local market
There are 14 Volunteer Loan Officers working every Sunday to help with the weekly collection from our borrowers. Before starting to do the collection, I always have a short meeting with them. The meeting is about who will go to collect from which village and assign some additional task for them to do. They don’t only collect money from borrowers, but they also have to advertise new loans, help with organizing and processing loans, do business visits with borrowers, do baseline surveys at the beginning of the loan cycle, and impact surveys at the end of the cycle.

Sovann and the team register new Borrowers
One of our Volunteer Loan Officers, Mengty, said, “I am very happy to work as volunteer at JWOC. I learn a lot of experiences from working in this position, money checking, communicating with local authority and borrowers. I can apply my skills and knowledge which I learn from teachers at university.”

Mengty, shown here processing loan applications
Now the Microfinance Programme has 67 active borrowers. There are 21 borrowers in the November 2012 Cycle and 46 in the January 2013 Cycle. First time borrowers who get a loan from JWOC are very happy because they also get basic hygiene training from our Clean Water Team and get hygiene packs. They are also provided the training of how to start business with a presentation by me.

Second time borrowers will get filter training from the Clean Water Team, and can buy filters at a subsidized price. They also get the training on how to use their second loan successfully from the JWOC Office Manager.

Recently, we have a new Project Assistant, Tola, who helps with the programme. I trained him on how to enter data into the Microfinance system, and baseline and impact surveys database. I trained him on how the Microfinance Programme is run. He is also in charge of checking and counting money from Volunteer Loan Officers, when they return from the field - sometimes he helps them with collections.  So last week, I assigned him to do advertising for a new loan cycle in our target area.
Tola helps with loan collections in the field
In conclusion, I am really happy that I have a chance to work for JWOC, especially for the Microfinance Programme because it fits to my major at University and my previous experience. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Match in March Appeal!

Two years ago, JWOC ran a match appeal for Subscription Donations that raised over $10,000. This year, we’d like to beat that number! We are asking donors to set up a running donation which means JWOC can depend on your contribution each month. And better yet, your 12 month donation will become 13.

Everyone in the JWOC family values our Subscription Donors and to show our appreciation one of our supporters has generously offered to match the first month, dollar for dollar, of every regular-giving pledge set up in March. That amounts to 13 months of donations for the price of 12 for each donor who participates!

These smiling students attend our free Computer Classes
Communities around Siem Reap depend on JWOC to improve their economic situation and access needed services. Despite what we have accomplished together, there are more families and children who need our help. By becoming a Subscription Donor you help us keep our projects running.

Look at what we were able to do in February, in part because of support from people like you:

-Hygiene training in three primary schools

-50 Home Gardens in two villages

-Our first micro-loan cycle of the year

-Over 35 JWOC classes that educate and build skills
Gourds growing in new Home Gardens
 We value each donation and will always strive to obtain the greatest possible benefit from each dollar you entrust to us. And remember, if you are an American tax-payer, $20 a month x 12 months equals an annual tax deductible charitable donation of $240. 
Make a decision to become a JWOC Subscription Donor today! Click here to set up your monthly donation. 
Children listen intently during a hygiene training session
You can donate via PayPal by clicking the subscribe button or via Network for Good by checking the recurring donation box after following the link. You can select how much you want to give each month and you can change or cancel your gift at any time.
A little goes a long way in Cambodia. Many thanks to all of you who help us make a difference in peoples’ lives.

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