Who We Are
The Kleos Microfinance Group (Kleos MFG) is a Calgary based organization that focuses on direct development aid. The Group is aimed towards improving the living conditions for those people around the globe that are in the greatest need of economic assistance. The Kleos mission of Sustainable Development Through Empowerment and Access is comprised of four principles:
- Sustainability: Kleos projects are aimed at long term growth that affect not only individual members, but their families, communities and future generations.
- Development: Kleos projects are based in regions in the world where the obstacles to economic growth are at their largest.
- Empowerment: Kleos believes that hard work, dignity and pride are essential components of long term development. Therefore, aid is delivered in the form of loans, trainings, and savings programs, rather than handouts. Members are given the opportunity to get themselves out of the cycle of poverty, but understand that their success will always be tied to their own effort.
- Access: Poverty, conflict, corruption and environmental disasters limit many individuals’ abilities to reach their potential. Kleos programming is designed for precisely these ‘non-bankable’ individuals, and removes the conditions that have historically limited their participation in development programs.
What We do
Simply put, the Kleos gives small manageable loans directly to anyone in need. This is done through what is known as the group lending model, which issues loans through community groups. This allows for loans to go directly to those who need them the most. The vast majority of recipients are rural women, as they represent both the most overlooked demographic for economic aid and the more responsible borrowers. Social collateral, through the use of local solidarity groups, is used to maintain repayment and assure a long term series of loans is available to the community. Microcredit loans are not meant to alter established cultural norms or impart a necessarily western economic model into the developing world. Rather, the financing allows for small loans to improve the ability of small groups of people to expand their already established economic practices. The goal of the Kleos Microfinance Group is to create prosperity through unity, hard work and generosity.
How We Do It
The donations collected by Kleos in Canada go directly to the unemployed and underemployed in developing countries and instantly help those individuals gain economic independence. The micro loans provided to the individuals comprising generally five member groups range from as small as $10 to $300 and are utilized by those individuals to start their own entrepreneurial enterprises. Herein lies a core principle of Kleos – that borrowers do not require foreign training to prosper and that the skills required for survival are already possessed by these individuals. Loans are given on a one year term and repaid on a weekly basis at minimal interest. This does away with the problem of having to pay large lump sum payments, that are not manageable for those in poverty.
The Kleos model is unique in that Kleos satellite offices have the autonomy to create and expand programming to respond to the particular needs of their community within the framework of Kleos MFG. Local programming extends to include specific training programs, savings programs, scholarships or any delivery that local offices propose to Kleos MFG for approval. This system allows for programming to be as flexible and unique as the community it serves.
Why It Works
Kleos offers micro loans to those who have no collateral or credit history. Yet microfinance institutions maintain an excellent rate of return. Why? The answer lies in the group lending model. Since loans are given to small groups at once and all have small, incremental payments, they are both individually manageable and collectively looked after. Since properly maintained loans offer the group access to future loans, groups work together to ensure repayment. This strategy also benefits the region as many groups are able to greatly improve the economy of a region as they are able to distance themselves from a life of poverty.