Holiday Greetings from our members


Pherister Ndoge used Zidisha loans to build this school for children who cannot afford private school tuition in Nairobi, Kenya.


Dear Lenders
I hope you guys had a fabulous time for the past few days. I have been going stronger each and every day, and my business is also growing each and every time, I have managed so far acquire new business. I have won a tender in our local youth polytechnic and supposed to supply a quite no of chairs for students to sit down and be able to study, with this I approximate my profits to grow by twenty percent this will translate to increase in profitability hence high rate of business expansion. With the introduction of Zidisha I will be in a better to position to apply for a loan to make all this happen… It has been an exciting day for me and specifically my business, today has been so good and the business has been good, today I have exceeded my targets, I am happy as I break for Christmas holidays I know I have achieved my targets for this year.
Thank you very much             

Gordon Kapuliaka, Awata, Kenya


Hi Zidisha family
Year 2013 has been great especially with Zidisha support which saw my business grow from one level to another.We made several strides in achieving our goals and dreams which without Zidisha I confess it could have been impossible so attain.
I look forward to 2014 with great expectations and high hopes that I will be able to achieve more and become a blessing to many.
I take this chance to wish everybody Merry Christmas and a happy new year 2014. 

– Pherister Ndoge, Pipeline, Kenya


Good evening, I would just like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and at the same time thank you for the good life that you have helped me build for my family.  Today my son is celebrating his first birthday, and sincerely, I cannot commemorate this occasion without thinking of you, my Zidisha family.  Because it is thanks to you that I am supporting my family and at the same time, I am making my dreams a reality.  Thank you.

Mamadou Sellou Barry, Dakar, Senegal

Merry christmas to the entire zidisha team… God bless you always 

Reginah Njiiri, Nairobi, Kenya

AirPair partnership takes Zidisha website to the next level


By Julia Kurnia

AirPair connects people who need web development help with experts uniquely qualified to solve their problems.  Its video-conferencing platform puts high-level programming expertise within the reach of organizations that are not yet large enough to hire full-time developers.

AirPair shares our vision of using technology to make barriers of geography and circumstance irrelevant – and now, AirPair experts are donating their time and skills to advance this mission through Zidisha as well.

AirPair experts will be supporting our work to develop the features our members have been asking for, and helping us put in place a strong foundation to manage the rapidly growing volume of transactions in our website.  Thanks to their generosity, will become a vehicle for ever greater numbers of highly motivated people to access the resources they need to improve their lives.

The Key to Success



By Julia Kurnia, director Zidisha

We funded our first loan in Ghana this week.  

This milestone marks the beginning of an exciting new business growth opportunity for Cornelius Nartey and countless other highly motivated Ghanaian entrepreneurs.  It is also the culmination of many months of dedicated preparation by our Ghana Country Expansion Coordinator, Roberta Zenere.

Roberta began volunteering with us early this year from her hometown in Padua, Italy.  She quickly became a pillar of our Kenya lending program, single-handedly fielding SMS inquiries for thousands of members and serving as the leader of our M-PESA loan disbursement team.  

This summer Roberta took a trip to Ghana, where she had previously spent time conducting research on the provision of financial services through the traditional Susu collection system.  This time, her aim was to help extend Zidisha lending services to the entrepreneurs she had met there.

The obstacles to offering loans in Ghana seemed insurmountable.  We need to open local currency accounts in order to lend cost-effectively in a new country, but we were told this was not possible in Ghana unless we established a brick-and-mortar office in the country – something our small nonprofit cannot afford.  Everywhere Roberta turned, she was met with indifference, delay and bureaucratic red tape.  She spent weeks meeting with banks and mobile payment service providers, but in the end none of our leads came through.  Soon her time in Ghana ended and she had to return to Italy.

Even the most dedicated pioneer might be expected to give up at this point, but Roberta persisted.  She continued the campaign to extend Zidisha’s lending platform to Ghana from Italy.  This time, she had an ally: Mr Cornelius Nartey, the founder and president of the Association of African Entrepreneurs, a pan-African NGO based in Ghana, with a similar vision of overcoming barriers of location via internet technology.  

This fall, Roberta returned to Ghana and continued to the effort to open a local currency account for Zidisha.  Over the course of many meetings, discussions and trips back and forth to the capital, Roberta and Mr. Nartey forged a partnership between the Association of African Entrepreneurs, the MTN mobile phone payment platform and Zidisha to bring peer-to-peer microlending services to Ghana.

The popular conception of innovation being all about having unique ideas is wrong.  Successful innovation is mostly a result of perseverance in the face of obstacles that seem insurmountable to everyone else.  The payoff of innovation is huge – we are literally changing the world.  But we would never get there without the persistence of people like Roberta, making things happen long after most ordinary people have given up.

Introducing our first member in Ghana



By Cornelius Nartey, Ghana Volunteer Mentor, and Roberta Zenere, Ghana Country Expansion Coordinator

Cornelius Nartey is the first Zidisha borrowers from Ghana, a West African country where Zidisha has recently expanded its operations. Here is the story of his socially oriented business:  

“I live at Prampram, located less than one hour east of Accra, Ghana’s capital, the Prampram township is the largest community in the Dangme West District. As a coastal community, the primary occupations are fishing and fish selling, but also include small farmers and artisans. 

Prampram is part of over 500 towns and villages with water issues. The township received water but most of its communities nearby and beyond have water problems due to low pressure, frequent power interruptions that affected production while the present increase in water demand had also affected the supply to the villages. […] In order to contribute to efforts aimed at alleviating the effects of water shortage in my community (which forms part MDG 7), I have started a business to store and supply pipe-borne water to affected families at a fee. With this business, I assist families that cannot afford water tanks and can have only a limited a quantity of water at a time. During shortages, these families have to resort to water that often comes from open holes dug in the sand of dry riverbeds, and it is invariably contaminated. My business provides them with clean, safe water anytime, whether there is a shortage or not.”

Mr Nartey is also the founder and president of the Association of African Entrepreneurs (AAE) and has assisted Zidisha in setting-up a cost effective mechanism to disburse loans to Ghanaian micro-entrepreneurs. He is also the Volunteer Mentor for Prampram and we are confident that his commitment and enthusiasm will help to link many borrowers in Ghana to the Zidisha community. 

Learn more:

Cornelius Nartey’s Zidisha profile page:

Association of African Entrepreneurs website:

“Even when I close my shop, my customers do always come…”


Comment posted in our forum by lender mewesten, shared here with his permission

One of the benefits of Zidisha is the opportunity to get a glimpse of life elsewhere.
Member Eric Otieno explains why few Kenyan businesses close in observance of Sunday / holidays (sounds very much like the US trend since the 1960s):

Eric Otieno comments on Dec 12, 2013

You are most welcome Mr.Marvin…..I think in Kenya there are so many factors why many business are never closed on a public holiday:-

-Spend threat-Many feels when you take off at home you spend more and nothing is injected back.

-Many has views that public holidays are meant for civil servant and a few rich to celebrate.

-Kenya being a country in the third world large population have to work more of what they earn.

-Also competitiveness.No one wish to lose his/her daily customers to the other competitor.So you have to keep your shop open day in and day out.

Yes Kenya is a religious country but you find that only 50% of businesses are closed on a Sunday morning and come afternoon only 10% is close till the end of the day.

Like me i do close my shop on Sundays morning then go to church.After church in the afternoon i open.But the funny thing is even when i close my shop,my customers do always come in my house when they need something.

Today was a public holiday but believe me everything was as usual.What i know only Christmas day and new year are the only day where majority celebrates with their family.

Good time a head,

“Looking forward to even greater things”



By Andrew Chege, Zidisha member and Volunteer Mentor in Kiptangwanyi, Kenya

Dear lenders,

Much regards from Kiptangwanyi Kenya. As I had promised you, I started the grains (maize) purchasing business and so to speak its doing marvelous. Although the profit margin is small, all in all, I am able to make some profit and service my loan. 
My intentions are to identify markets out of this area so as to increase my profit margin. At the moment, maize harvest is at its peak within this area. With the plenty of maize, competition is slightly high as many buyers have flocked the area in search of the commodity. 

But in business, only the persistent and strong hearted will remain afloat amid the tough competition. Already, I have been able to establish myself and I am on right track looking forward to even greater things. 

My sincere thanks goes to all my kind lenders for having transformed my life through the zidisha profile loans. Friends, you are just wonderful in my life and I have no words to describe what you are to me. May you keep up the same spirit even in future.
Kindly note that you have a friend far away in Kenya who dearly thinks about you for having transformed my life. Thanks alot to Zidisha fraternity.


Andrew Chege.