Sean Grossnickle
Sean Grossnickle
Senegal 2017
Bonjour! Êtes-vous prêt? Join the excitement as this International Business major travels to Saint Louis, Senegal to empower people through Microfinance and to deepen his understanding of French and African culture.


Je vais essayer d’expliquer le système de microfinance ici. Il faut remarquer que chaque système de microfinance soit distinct. Mais je pense qu’ici il y a un bon système.

Les gens viennent s’ils veulent un prêt. Parce qu’il y a trop de personnes, nous cherchons les gens avec les meilleures idées pour un business. Nous donnons à ces gens le premier questionnaire pour savoir leurs informations de base, comme leurs noms, numéros de téléphone, adresses, dates de naissance, etc. Ensuite il faut assister cinq leçons de business et passer un examen de l’information (qui contient aussi des maths). En attendant l’examen, nous commençons à travailler sur les plans de business officiels et les présentations pour Moctar. Nous recherchons le marché pour découvrir si le plan de business fonctionnera bien, les vrais prix, la disponibilité des produits, etc. Après avoir fait le plan de business, nous allons chez Moctar pour présenter le plan de business (ça n’est pas la présentation officielle, c’est seulement pour le plan de business). S’il approuve le plan, nous retournons au bureau de microfinance et attendons l’examen. La présentation officielle contient le plan de business, le numéro des remboursements, la durée du prêt mais aussi les choses qualitatives comme si la personne a une maison, des dépendants ou assez de motivation. S’il approuve la présentation, nous allons donner un prêt à la personne si elle a déjà réussi à l’examen.

Le procès prend un ou deux mois, et les bénéficiaires reçoit le prêt environ une semaine après la présentation. Pour les femmes, elles prennent l’argent et commence à repayer le prêt un mois après elles l’ont reçu. Parce qu’il y avait des problèmes avec les prêts pour les Talibés, nous devons voir les achats pour assurer que l’argent a été bien dépense. Nous donnons les prêts de 50 000 CFA ($100) à 150 000 CFA ($300) pour une durée au maximum de 15 mois. Les remboursements viennent une fois par mois. Nous collectons les remboursements du premier jour au quatorzième jour de chaque mois. Nous faisons beaucoup de questionnaires ici. Nous donnons un questionnaire dans le période de grâce (le mois avant de repayer), après 6 mois et encore après ils ont fini les remboursements. Après avoir fini les remboursements, les gens reçoivent un certificat qui dit qu’ils ont bien payé le prêt (pour du crédit dans l’avenir).

Les volontaires ici peuvent faire tout, et j’ai signé pour donner le prêt. Je suis comme une grande personne (pour utiliser la phrase du petit prince). Le travail est vraiment comme un stage et je suis heureux d’être ici. Un jour, quand je me sentirai mieux, je vais vous parler plus.


I am going to try to explain the system for microfinance here. Please remember that each system is different, but I think there is a good system here.

People come to us if they want a loan, and because there is are too many people, we look for the ones who have the best ideas for a business. We give these people the first questionnaire to learn their basic information, like their names, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, etc. Next they must attend 5 business classes and pass an exam which covers the information (that also contains basic math skills). While waiting for the exam, we begin to work on their official business plans and the presentations to Moctar. We research the market to see if their business plan is sound, what the actual prices are, the availability of products, etc. After having made the business plan, we go to Moctar’s office to present the business plan (this is not the official presentation, only the business plan). If he approves the plan, we go back to our office to wait for people to pass the exam. The official presentation contains the business plan, the number of repayments, the length of loan but also qualitative information such as if the person has a house, if people are dependent on him or if they have enough motivation to have a business. If Moctar approves the presentation, we give a loan to the person if he has already passed the test.

The process takes one or two months, and the beneficiaries receive the loans around one week after the presentation. For the women, they can just take the money and start to repay one month after they receive the loan. Since there were some problems with the Talibés in the past, we have to see their purchases to make sure the money was well spent. We give loans from 50 000 CFA ($100) to 150 000 ($300) for a maximum duration of 15 months. The repayments come once a month. We collect the repayments from the 1st to the 14th of the month. We do a lot of questionnaires here. We give one in the grace period (the month before repayments begin), one after six months and one more after they have finished all the repayments. After having finished the repayments, the people receive a certificate saying that they paid back the loan (to hopefully help them get more credit in the future).

The volunteers here can do just about anything, and I signed to give the loan. I feel like a big person now (to use the term from the Petit Prince). The work is very much like an internship and I am happy to be here. One day, when I am feeling better, I will write again.

Jake and I

Jake and I

C'est de la poisson/That's fish

C’est de la poisson/That’s fish

Une manifestation pour les certificats de naissance/The Rally to encourage people to register their kids with the state

Une manifestation pour les certificats de naissance/The Rally to encourage people to register their kids with the state

Qu'est-ce qui se passe?/What's happening?

Qu’est-ce qui se passe?/What’s happening?


J'ai entendu la plage?/Did someone say the beach?

J’ai entendu la plage?/Did someone say the beach?

2 thoughts on “Microfinance”

  1. So if you’ve figured out Senegalese toilets, all should be going well! I like the way you are watching/observing and have some friends you can ask questions of to be less of a Toubab. One book you will profoundly appreciate now that you are overseas is an SIM one, I think, entitled “African Friends and Money Matters.” Should be required reading of all kingdom workers. As Ramadan is upon us, I’m wondering how your food situation will change for the month. Do you think your fever was from questionable food you ate when you went out to eat? Are mosquitos plentiful? Do you sleep under a mosquito net? St. Louis looks like a great town, as you said, not too big, not too small, and parts are picturesque. The trash, you’re right, however, is such a spoiler. Odd that the idea of “trash” is one that comes from one’s upbringing and education. One is not born with the idea of what is trash. For those who don’t have that idea, “trash” is simply a neutral element of their environment. For us, it’s objectionable. Right too about all the British vocab. One way French insult them is by calling them “rosbif.” I wonder if the French call us “hamburger.” I’m very proud with you of how well your French is serving you. You will learn SO MUCH this summer.

    1. I really have not idea what the fever was from. The mosquitos are actually not out yet. The rainy seasons should be starting here in a few weeks and then I think I will need to use the net. Hope your summer is going well!

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