Victoria Kisyombe

Victoria Kisyombe has helped empower women with Selfina, a micro-leasings startup in Tanzania.

Victoria Kisyombe: Education

• 1986; Edinburgh University, Masters degree in Veterinary
• 1983, University of Dar es Salaam, Bachelor degree in Veterinary

Victoria Kisyombe: Early days

Victoria Kisyombe is born in Mbeya, in the southwest of Tanzania. After finishing secondary school, Mbeya moved to Kenya to complete her studies. She returned to Tanzania to register at the University of Dar es Salaam, where she completed her undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine. Like a veterinarian, she returned to practice her profession in her community, mainly agricultural.

In 1991, the death of her husband produced a turnaround in her family. Her husband’s family claimed all of his possessions, as is the custom in Tanzania, leaving her alone with a cow. This unique asset, with her education, allowed him to move forward selling milk and supporting his three children.

Victoria Kisyombe: Career

After the death of her husband, Victoria Kisyombe realized that her circumstances were not unique, and she discovered that many women were in a similar situation or even worse, lacking productive assets.

Given this situation, Victoria offered a solution of microcredits to loan applicants, where the criterion for the credit would be its ability to produce a constant flow of cash. Thus she founded SELFINA, a profit-driven company with a social mission that impacts thousands of women in Tanzania.

SELFINA has helped improve the financial inclusion of women. More than 27,500 women have received credits, and more than $ 17M have been given to women through a revolving fund.

Victoria Kisyombe: Distinctions

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Victoria Kisyombe: Other facts

Victoria Kisyombe’s micro-leasing model has drawn the attention of the World Bank, CNN, Lionesses of Africa and Deutsche Welle, to name a few institutions. In 2010 he received an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award from the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation for social entrepreneurs. In 2014, she received the Global Leadership Award from Vital Voices Global Leadership, founded by Hillary Clinton.

Victoria Kisyombe: Publications

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Victoria Kisyombe: Other links