Total and Babyloan: Helping to Write Happy Endings


Francis lives with his wife and five children in Kenya, where he works in transportation. Thanks to Total and Babyloan, he hopes to build an anaerobic digestion plant, which breaks down organic matter to form biogas. In doing so, he aims to recycle household organic waste while at the same time saving money, thereby securing his family's financial stability.

Bertha is 52 years old. She lives in a village in southern Peru, where she raises sheep and cattle. Thanks to Total and Babyloan, she hopes to soon be able to invest in a solar water heater to make life easier for herself, her husband and her two children, all while protecting the environment.

We could also mention Lydia, Jackson, Placido and many others. What these people all have in common is that, with the help of Total and Babyloan, they would like to improve their daily lives thanks to a microloan. But what is an oil and gas major doing with Europe's leading crowdfunding platform? Quite simply, both are dedicated to stepping up energy access to the disadvantaged while offering related financing solutions. Babyloan founder Arnaud Poissonnier tells us more about the origins of the partnership below.

What is Babyloan?

Arnaud Poissonnier / Babyloan is a website that was set up in 2008 to enable the general public to lend money to micro-entrepreneurs all around the world. With Babyloan, you can select a micro‑entrepreneur whose project interests you and choose to lend him or her money, interest free. We call this a "philanthropic loan". Once you have been repaid, you can lend your money again to support another project. This means that your money circulates, allowing you to use the same initial amount to finance several people and encourage entrepreneurship among local communities.

How did you get involved with Total?

A.P. / We met at the Convergences forum, which aims to bring together players from the private- and public-sectors as well as from charities, academia and the media, with the aim of fighting poverty, exclusion and climate change. The conversation started naturally from the shared observation that certain people in rural and peri-urban areas in Africa, South America and Asia faced difficulty accessing energy, mainly due to the lack of suitable financing solutions. We quickly decided to work together on a project to develop the first crowdfunding-based microcredit platform specializing in access to energy.

What progress have you made so far?

A.P. / The platform is up and running, with 53 projects financed to date. Lenders have shown great interest in the concept. Our main challenge at the moment is to find local microfinance institutions that meet our criteria and can finance energy access projects. We are very selective to ensure the maximum number of loans are repaid. We started out working with two organizations in Kenya and Peru, but we're now looking for new partners in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America so we can expand the platform and reach a far greater audience. But to do that, we need your help!