Microfinance Programmes in UNHCR operations – Innovative Microlending in Kenya – Kiva Zip & RefugePoint
Microfinance is an important part of helping refugees to become self-reliant. Financial services such as savings accounts, credit, money transfers and micro insurance are highlighted in UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Livelihoods (2014-2018), and should be a key element in all comprehensive livelihoods programs. UNHCR works with accredited microfinance institutions globally to provide refugee entrepreneurs with access to these services.
This document examines an innovative method for reaching refugee populations in Kenya through a partnership between Kiva Zip and RefugePoint. Kiva Zip, a pilot program of Kiva.org, is a micro-lending program started in 2005, that connects lenders and borrowers directly. In cooperation with UNHCR and implementing partner RefugePoint, Kiva Zip facilitates loans to refugees in Nairobi.