We wanted to wish Daniella a very Happy 5th Anniversary as she has been working at the MicroLoan Foundation (MLF) for five years!
Daniella first encountered microfinance whilst working in the international development sector where she “became more and more fascinated by microfinance because of its innovative approach to poverty alleviation”. One of the charities that Daniella got to know was MicroLoan and after talking to CEO and founder, Peter Ryan, she found out about the opportunity to volunteer in Malawi for a year. There Daniella worked on the social performance management (SPM) Programme, which tests and puts in place ways for MicroLoan to measure clients’ poverty status, and works with staff to redevelop the client training programme.
Over the past 5 years Daniella has done a lot of work for the MicroLoan Foundation. As well as being fundamental in setting up the SPM programme, she has worked with staff in Africa to develop a staff training programme. Daniella has helped develop: a Code of Ethics, a pro-poor loan for clients living under the $1.25/ day poverty line and has helped ensure that staff incentives include both social as well as financial targets. Recently Daniella was invited to represent MicroLoan at the Microcredit Summit in Mexico, where she met Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of microfinance and microcredit.
Amongst Daniella’s favourite memories is an interview with MicroLoan clients, sitting on a mat and learning about their lives, families as well as what they liked about MicroLoan or would like to see changed. She notes that they are always extremely welcoming to visitors, with groups dancing and singing to greet them. Furthermore she feels privileged of having worked with staff both in Malawi and Zambia. One memory which sticks out in particular is riding on the back of a Loan Officer’s motorbike. They travelled over miles of winding, bumpy dirt-roads in order to reach clients in isolated areas with poor road infrastructure. This made her appreciate the hard work that Loan Officer’s undertake everyday so that clients in rural areas, where MLF operates, can be reached.
Even with all of these impressive accomplishments, Daniella still feels that “Coming to work doesn’t feel like coming to work, it’s exciting and always an adventure”.