For small organizations such as CML, it is very useful to share ideas and thoughts with individuals that have an outsider’s perspective on the business, and to get inspiration from other parts of the world. Moses Nsereko Kayongo, the founder and manager of CML, therefore started a volunteer program in 2012. Thanks to the volunteer program, CML now has an extensive international network that can be used for generating and discussing ideas and strategies. Lenders without borders is an example of something made possible thanks to the volunteer program.
A volunteer program should of course be mutually beneficial and CMLs international volunteers have travelled back with not only practical experience of microfinance but with new perspectives on life. Also local students have been helped through the program. Due to the high youth unemployment in Uganda, students find it hard to gain practical experience. During a volunteer experience, students can apply their knowledge on real cases. In addition, it provides them with a network that can be used when looking for jobs.
Many of the activities that the volunteers have engaged in is charity oriented and goes beyond the activities that a MFI usually do. That made Moses realize that some of the challenges that his clients faces could not been solved by credit and business training alone. Some clients need more help and there are also situations where a grant is better than a loan.
Our photographer Angelina found us through the volunteer program.
As a microfinance institution, CML has a goal that is twofold – both to make profit but also a social oriented mission. This double bottom line cause problems for many similar companies as it is hard to balance between maintaining social and financial efficiency. CMLs solution to the dilemma is to separate these two goals with two different organizations; CML that is run as a profit driven company and Microfinance Volunteers (MFV) that is a charity nonprofit organization.
There are many more organizations in the area where CML operates that can benefit from international exchange of ideas and extra hands helping them voluntarily. MFV has therefor grown to become a platform that connects volunteers to CMLs clients and other organizations in its network. The scope of volunteer opportunities involves things such as working with microfinance organizations, teaching in primary and secondary schools, training entrepreneurship to youth and women groups, working in health centers and working with community environment initiatives or other community-based organizations.
Interested in learning more or in becoming a volunteer? Visit microfinance volunteers website!