January 2008: Speaking powerfully through stories: Jamii Bora and microfinance

Jamii Bora started in 1999 with loans to 50 beggars in one of the worst slums of Nairobi. By the end of 2007 Jamii Bora had 170,000 savers and 60,000 borrowers. During presentations, Jamii Bora’s founder Ingrid Munro puts the face of one of her clients on a screen and says, “We have fast climbers out of poverty and we have slow climbers, but everyone is a climber. This is one of our fast climbers, Joyce Wairimu. She was one of the original 50 beggars. Now she has six businesses and 62 employees. This is another of our fast climbers, Wilson Maina. He was a thief, one of the most wanted criminals in the slum. His first loan was for $20. He has four businesses and has convinced hundreds of youth to get out of crime.

Do you see how revolutionary this is and how Jamii Bora makes a mockery of the resistance by three different World Bank Presidents to getting more microfinance funds to the very poor.