Chasing Kenyan loan defaulters is a tall order
By Silas Nyamweya
Education: I attended Kusumek Primary School, Kaplong Boys secondary school (Kericho County) and Moi high School-Kabarak. I later joined Egerton University and obtained a BA in Economics. Currently finalizing MA in Economics at Kenyatta University.
Experience: I have worked with Unilever as sales representative, Supa Brite Ltd as a sales representative, Faulu Kenya as a Development Officer, World Vision as Agency Manager, World Concern as a Program Manager in Somalia, Transparency International as a Program Officer, African Population Health and Research Center as Monitoring and Evaluation specialist and currently with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) as a Clinical Program Manager.
Awards/recognition: I have been cited and honored for being the founding member of Kenya monitoring and evaluation forum and founding director for Insight Africa.
First job/salary: I worked as a teacher in Kericho technical institute but after a period of 2 Months, I was promoted to the role of a headmaster, but I didn’t last as I quit 2 months later to pursue other interests. First pay Ksh. 4,500.
Worst/best job: My worst job was working as an agency manager in Eldoret with World Vision-Kadet. My role wasto manage a loan portfolio with clients who had defaulted, and most could not be traced. Secondly, those who could be traced were quite violent and they would dare me by saying in kiswahili..”siwezi lipa utanipeleka wapi…dai mimi tena uone…I was expected to ensure the repayment rate was brought up to 95% which was a tall order. At some point I began to think about my safety as I chased defaulters who were quite unpleasant, unwilling to repay and always viewed me as an enemy. My best job was working as program manager in Somalia with World Concern, it was great seeing the impact of our humanitarian work transform desperate lives and give hope to the hopeless. It was fun as I had two offices in two countries. I used to work 3 weeks in Nairobi and 1 week in Somalia. There was no boredom being in one specific location. There was great Somali food and was being treated like a king by the communities we were implementing the program make the whole experience quite nostalgic
First/current neighborhood: Riruta Satellite was my first neighborhood but due to perennial water problems and poor road network I shifted to my current location which is upper Kabete. It’s a cold neighborhood which I really like; secondly the air is fresh just like my upcountry home.
Worst mistake: I heavily invested in wheat farming as a first-time farmer, only for the rains to fail and as if that was not enough got hit by pest infestations which ensured I completely came out of that investment with negative returns.
Missed opportunity:. When I was invited to purchase shares of a company which was trading quite low at the time, I declined but later the shares of the company quadrupled
One thing I can’t give away: My faith. I have grown old enough to learn that everything in this life passes away but not my faith.
Most embarrassing moment: Had been invited to make a presentation during a conference, When time came for me to present, the document in my laptop could not opened. Tried several things but didn’t work. I was eventually forced to just give a plain talk which was difficult as I had tables, graphs, pictures and charts to present
One thing I regret: Failure to start in investing in government treasury bills and bonds early
Unforgettable person: Sally Chepkwony, my mother, who single handedly raised a family of 5 boys by ensuring all of them went through school. Being a strict disciplinarian, she couldn’t entertain wayward boys as she emphasized hard work in school, respect to community and commitment to church.
Proudest moment: Being an active alumni of Kusumek primary school supporting the pupils to excel in their studies through giving back to society initiative.
Best advice ever: Life is a race, run on your lane, accomplish your task and move on..(tenda mema nenda zako)