Cody Donahue, Tostan’s Coordinator of Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning reports from Nairobi, Kenya on the Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit.

This week, Nairobi is the meeting place for over 2,000 microfinance professionals, NGOs, government officials, and donor organizations dedicated to sharing their experiences and innovations from the world of microfinance and economic empowerment in Africa and the Middle East. I am attending the Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit with two of my Tostan colleagues, Cheikh Diouf and Aida Mandiang, and have had the immense pleasure of seeing many Tostan friends, partners, and supporters from all around the world!

I’m taking advantage of immersing myself in the amazing community that has gathered here in Nairobi and taking the chance to share with summit delegates what Tostan is all about.

Some of the key messages Tostan is sharing at the summit:

1. When providing financial services to those who are poor and do not have bank accounts, it is important for new clients of microcredit programs and the community as a whole to be prepared with education and training. Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) allows individuals to be smart and safe with the loans they take out. Human-rights education, which is the basis of the CEP, is an incredibly important foundation for economic empowerment.
2. Tostan is urging microfinance institutions (MFIs) and donors to promote the connections between MFIs and NGOs working in the community. These organizations provide invaluable training and education, especially in the realms of literacy and new technologies like Tostan’s Jokko Initiative which helps communities to harness the power of SMS messaging.
3. Along with our friends at International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions (INAFI), Tostan and Tostan France are reaching out to the African diaspora and are working to connect immigrants to communities in Africa. In addition, INAFAI is actively working on a solution to facilitate sending remittances from African immigrants in Europe back to Senegalese communities.

On behalf of the entire Tostan delegation, we’d like to thank the partners that helped us get to Nairobi in order to attend this extraordinary event:

Thanks to everyone that made this trip possible!

More exciting news and videos to come!