We’re not just about spreading the wealth — we’re all about spreading friendship, too. That’s why we make it easy for lenders and entrepreneurs to communicate directly with each other throughout the duration of their loans and beyond. Scroll down to see ambition in action!

Kerry Tiedeman     Feb 23, 2015

My name is Kerry and I'm a Client Relationship Intern for Zidisha in Nairobi, Kenya. Today I had the opportunity to meet with Jared Mokaya, a fairly new member of Zidisha at the Dorman's factory, where he works as a salesperson.

Jared, has been with Dorman's, a coffee roasting company, for a long time. He moved from his town of Yanza to Nairobi years ago, but then was transferred to Mombasa, on the coast. He was living there for seven years working for Dorman's, and was only transfered back to Nairobi five months ago. For him this was a great move, it meant a promotion to a more senior position in the company, and since it is in Nairobi, he is closer to his village (Mombasa is a ten hour bus ride from Nairobi) where there are more opportunities for starting his own business.

Jared found Zidisha through his coworker, Lawrence, another borrower, who I also visited while I was at the factory. Jared was very excited because with the help of Zidisha lenders he had purchased two cows and two goats, which are being taken care of by his father in Yanza. The cows are milking cows and with the milk they produce, Jared is able to sell it to a boarding school nearby. He is also able to use the goat to sell as meat for the boarding school as well. Jared hopes with the profits of this business he will be able to purchase more cows and more goats and expand. Then he says, the business can help him take care of the school fees of his two children. He is about to finish paying his Zidisha loan, and very excited to apply for another one.

We also talked a little about Mombasa, since I'm headed there tomorrow. Jared was extremely helpful in offering to try and help me find a taxi driver from the airport. He also gave me a pound of coffee as a gift. I asked both Jared and Lawrence that if working at a coffee factory meant they loved coffee as much as I do. Jared told me he used to drink four cups just in the morning and trained as a barista for fun, but now the coffee was giving him ulcers. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that!

Animal farming.
Nairobi, Kenya

Kerry Tiedeman     Feb 23, 2015

My name is Kerry and I am a Client Relationship Intern for ZIdisha in Nairobi, Kenya. Today I had the opportunity to meet with Lawrence Mademba at his place of work in the industrial part of Nairobi.

I was particularly excited, because although Lawrence's company works with aquaculture, I met him at his day job, Dorman's factory, that produces coffee. I love coffee, so when Lawrence offered me a latte, I couldn't say yes fast enough. As we sat drinking coffee, Lawrence told me how at Dorman's he works in quality control, but is very excited about the fishing ponds he has constructed, about six hours from Nairobi.

Like many inhabitants of Nairobi, Lawrence is not originally from here. He was born in a village of Kisumu. When he moved to Nairobi, he started off working for Dorman's, but three years into the job found African Heritage. This association has a gallery in Nairobi, and Lawrence worked for them for seven years, painting, which he still does in his free time.

When the economy took a downward turn in the mid 1990's, Lawrence returned to his job at Dorman's. A man with his ambition, he kept looking for potential business opportunities, and in the early part of this decade he saw that the government was encouraging fish farming. Being from Kisumu, fishing is a part of life, however Lawrence had little experience.

Lawrence is thoughtful and very clever. Talking with him it's not surprising that he has taken this opportunity and gone from beginner in a field he barely knew to an expert. He told me how the feed for the fish was quite expensive, however with a little research he has discovered that the waste of chickens will feed the fish. Therefore he plans on purchasing some chickens, and not only will he use them for the aquaculture, but also sell their eggs.

Lawrence is looking forward to his very first harvest in April from the first of his three ponds. It takes 7-8 months to harvest the fish, so this has been a long time coming. He is excited for the possibilities, and hopes that he with his profits, this will help him grow to a total of ten ponds. Right now his father tends to the farm, which Lawrence purposely set up in order for his father to be occupied in his retirement. However, Lawrence hopes to hire more employees as well as inspire his neighbors. So far three neighbors have also started up fish farms. He also wants to encourage thoughtful farming that is not harmful to the environment. He wants to create a program of planting trees and reintroducing wildlife to his village.

Lawrence and I chatted for about three hours. Lawrence sang for me, told me about his wife in children, and when I told him I was California, he said how much he loved Chuck Norris. I then had to tell all of the Chuck Norris jokes I could think of. He also encouraged me with my business ideas as well. I look forward to the next time we meet.

Tender supply
Nairobi, Kenya

Susan Wanjiru     Feb 23, 2015

front display of my shoe business

Increase of mpesa working float and adding shoes
Nyambari Lari, Kenya

Dulo Kikkan     Feb 23, 2015

baby class academic trip (domestic animals lesson) in my school,i ensure that kids are exposed to all possible relevant learning opportunities available to us.

Help me build standard six classroom
Muhoroni, Kenya

Dulo Kikkan     Feb 23, 2015

pupils during academic tour at lake victoria - kenya.

Help me build standard six classroom
Muhoroni, Kenya

Dulo Kikkan     Feb 23, 2015

our introductory class pupils graduate as they joined class one (primary one) January this year (2015)

Help me build standard six classroom
Muhoroni, Kenya

Alice Arindo     Feb 23, 2015

Hello to you all my lenders! I thank you very much for your loan which has helped me improve my medicine stock.I bought syrups , tablets and injectable medicines and now i can treat my patients well and my income has also increased .The earnings i have used to repay my loan and my family now is a very happy one.Thanks and may God bless you!

Purchase more medicine and shelves for pharmacy
Nairobi, Kenya

Kevin Momanyi     Feb 23, 2015

Dear lenders,

It's such a great honor to inform you that my first loan from Zidisha really changed my poultry business in a very positive way and uplifted my living standard. I am proud to say that in December 2014 i managed to sell over 50 well fed broilers at a price of $10 each (Ksh 950) , and i also sold 40 ordinary chicken for $5 each due to the high demand over the festive season. I used some of the profit ($50)to complete repaying my first Zidisha loan, and the rest to cater for my basic needs and buy more chicks and feeds for my poultry business.

To expand my poultry business.
Nakuru, Kenya

Felicia Ameyaa     Feb 23, 2015

Good morning lenders,
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for the enormous support. I can now buy apple in boxes and has really boosted my business. I use the profit to pay for my rent and my good up keep.
God bless zidisha lenders

Marketing fruit from local farmers
Berekum, Ghana

Moses Ongeri Nyabuto     Feb 23, 2015

I want to thank my lenders for supporting my business.
I purchased one equipment that is helping my business a lot. i replaced another meat mincer which had broken down.
the purchase has made my business easier to operate.
The earnings have increased to 2%, it can be more unfortunately the business has been slow due to the January period, but things will be well.
Please Check out my new mincer that i bought with the money from zidisha..

Inventory of meat supplied for my butchery business
Kawangware46, Kenya