July 19, 2011
Kim Kerry-Tyerman is a volunteer for Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders® initiative, based in Ghana and Kenya for eight weeks to help the BwB team develop relationships with local organizations (companies, associations, microfinance clubs and institutions of higher education) there. She recently posted a blog about her experience working with another BwB volunteer on behalf of Grameen Ghana, helping to implement a financial-modeling approach by Grameen Foundation that we hope to replicate at microfinance institutions (MFIs) throughout the world; an excerpt from that post is below, with a link to the full post. If you'd like to read her first posting about her BwB experience in Ghana, you can find it here.
I’ve been counting down the days to this. Not that thunderstorms, tigernut cocktails and weekend stays at oceanside eco lodges haven’t kept me busy – my stay in Ghana has been a fascinating combination of experiences both new (opening a coconut with a machete) and surprisingly normal (watching too many episodes of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" while dogsitting for a friend). But I’m not here just to drive around with locals to chop bars with dancehall music blaring out the open windows to join in the cacophony of Accra streets. Certainly part of the fun, but not the goal.
I’ve been talking up the Bankers without Borders program to MFIs across Accra, and this is finally my chance to watch it in action. Grameen Foundation asked me to shadow a BwB project for a partner MFI called Grameen Ghana in the northern city of Tamale (surprisingly no affiliation despite the shared namesake). A volunteer from an investment bank in NYC, Noah, is delivering training on a new financial model over a 4-day assignment. This is only the second time this Grameen Foundation model has been passed on to another MFI, but BwB hopes this will eventually lead to a standard for financial projections across the industry.
My role on the project varies depending on who you talk to. BwB would like me to evaluate the project from both volunteer and client perspectives with an objective third eye. Not having a chance to introduce myself during the kick-off meeting with the MFI, however, gave the director the opportunity to task me with a different role. “And Noah has brought this pretty woman,” he announced to the team, “so everything we do will be prettier.” Challenge accepted.