Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF15, Ecuador

Kiva borrower Jóse in his store in the Lo Espejo neighborhood of Santiago, Chile

Microfinance is about change- positive change for borrowers, their local economies, and the future of the developing world. This week our Fellows share stories of change across the globe: a brighter outcome for the children of Kiva borrowers in Sierra Leone; transformed businesses and microenterprises in Chile; and a lifestyle of adapting to change, for better or worse, in Lebanon, where resolute entrepreneurs still pay their loans on time.

It’s true what they say- these really are Loans that Change Lives.

The Externalities of it All
Country: Sierra Leone / Fellow: Eric Rindal, KF15

As Eric begins work with his second Kiva field parter, he introduces us to the most meaningful externalities of microfinance (and their parents) in Sierra Leone. Loan by loan, brick by brick, borrowers are building more concrete futures for their children and their country.

Faces from the field: A day of visits and photos from Chile
Country: Chile / Fellow: John Gwillim, KF14 & KF15

From seventy-eight-year-old Jóse to the impregnable Compartiendo Esfuerzo (Sharing Effort) Communal Bank, John gives us a few glimpses of the business savvy of Kiva entrepreneurs and what they’re doing to ensure the success of their micro-enterprises.

Adapting to Change: Lessons from Lebanon
Country: Lebanon / Fellow: Heba Gamal, KF15

Heba downsizes her living quarters in Lebanon, and while she waits for a return to normalcy she observes a lifestyle of adapting to change all around her. As Heba shows us, “it seems like one thing the Lebanese have learned to do over years of conflict and unrest is to adapt. In many ways they’ve made their things fit into many small rooms over the decades, just like  I have this past Sunday.”

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Updates from the past month:

Dangerous Streets, New Vocabulary + A Senegalese Spring
Zulu Weddings, More Country-Specific Microfinance + Fighting Crime 
Roads, Remittances + the “Little Paris” of Togo
New Partners, Country-Specific Microfinance + Stories of a Kiva Fellowship
Mosquito Nets, Rock Climbing + Clearing the Air

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Plus more pictures from the past week:

By John Gwillim, Chile

By John Gwillim, Chile

By Eric Rindal, Sierra Leone


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Prior to working with Kiva, Kate lived in Quito, Ecuador working in environmental management as a consultant for USAID implementing partners in the global south. After earning her B.A. in Political Economy, Postcolonial History, and Development from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in January 2010, she pursued a practice-based understanding of effective tools in development through work with New York based social change organizations and grassroots nonprofit organizations in Guatemala. Kate worked previously with Kiva as a Kiva Fellow in Ecuador and Peru, which fomented her commitment to microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation.