Archives For 10 days in Africa

January 13, 2012, 1:17 EST – Byumba, Rwanda

Our day started bright and early this morning. We met Jeffrey Lee, the CEO of Urwego Opportunity Bank, for breakfast. Urwego is one of the largest MFIs in the HOPE network, and under Jeffrey’s leadership it has managed to grow very quickly while keeping credit risk at reasonable levels. There are many best practices at Urwego that can be applied elsewhere in our network. Jeffrey and the entire Urwego staff live out their Christian faith every day while serving roughly 100,000 clients across Rwanda.

Following breakfast we went to Urwego’s offices for morning devotions. There was wonderful music and singing from the Urwego staff. Peter Greer, the president of HOPE International, was the guest speaker for the day’s devotions. Peter lived in Rwanda for three years, and is the only muzungu (affectionate term for “white guy”) I’ve come across in Rwanda who is fluent in Kinyarwanda, the local language. Peter and I are traveling together in Rwanda and will fly to the Republic of Congo tomorrow morning. Continue Reading…

January 12, 2012, 5:02 EST – Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali Parish meetingToday was a wonderful day. I had a chance to visit two Anglican parishes where we met with members of our savings groups. One parish was in downtown Kigali, and the other one was about one hour away from downtown. It was so encouraging to meet the group members and hear their stories. It was also a nice opportunity to get to know our staff better. Chris Ordway and I traveled with Marie Jeanne, our lead trainer for our Anglican Church program; Kayira, our field coordinator for the Kigali diocese; and Panina, who is the director of programs for the Anglican Church in Kigali. Continue Reading…

January 11, 2012, 2:49 p.m. (EST) – Kigali, Rwanda

I arrived in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, in the mid-afternoon today, after about 24 hours on the move. The flights were amazingly uneventful—praise the Lord!—and I’m excited to be in Rwanda for the first time. This is the home of our largest savings program, a church partnership with the Rwandan Anglican Church, and I will spend most of the next two days in the field watching our savings groups in action. I will also be visiting Urwego Opportunity Bank, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the HOPE network. Continue Reading…

January 10, 2012, 7:44 a.m., Dulles Airport – Washington, D.C.

Follow the daily blog of our VP of Operations

Greetings friends of HOPE! My name is Dave Wasik, and I serve as the VP of Operations at HOPE International. My job is to oversee our programs around the world. I joined HOPE in July of 2011 after many years working in banking.

As background, HOPE has two types of programs: microfinance institutions (MFIs), where HOPE provides small loans ($80-$2000) to local entrepreneurs, and savings and credit association programs (SCAs), where we provide operational funding and technical support to catalyze savings groups. In both MFI and SCA programs, we also share the Word of God with our clients and provide them with biblically based business training.

Continue Reading…