Apr 22, 2016 RW Rwanda

There is a wide array of tasks a fellow can be assigned during one's time in the field. One task I have found most meaningful is "Borrower Verifications," more affectionately known as BVs at Kiva. Most fellows traded in corporate offices/cubes to serve with Kiva; seeing BV on your work plan is a guaranteed change in scenery (literally) from office cubical walls to the beauty of being in the field.  I want to share “A day in the life” of my life as a Kiva Fellow with you during a BV in photos. As context, BV is a randomly generated list of 10 borrowers from a particular Kiva partner that... Continue Reading >>


Apr 19, 2016 RW Rwanda

As I bid a bittersweet farewell to new friends and my Rwandan home, I reflect on a truly remarkable six months and my top 5 wins as a Kiva Fellow: 1. Navigating Kigali like a pro. The streets of a new city can be very confusing, especially to a directionally challenged person such as me. Compared to the well-organized grid system of NYC where I lived before, Kigali streets spool around roundabouts and curve with the thousand hills, making it look more like an abstract art piece from above. For a Kiva Fellow trying to live on a budget, and as the locals do,... Continue Reading >>


Apr 12, 2016 SN Senegal

Imagine for a moment that you live in a village with no electricity.  When the sun goes down each evening, you rely on the light of fires or flashlights as you cook your evening meal. Your children must study before the sun goes down, or else use the dimly glowing light of a cell phone to illuminate their work. And speaking of cell phones, the only way to charge yours is to travel to a charging station in the nearest town, pay a fee, and wait while your battery replenishes.   Now imagine that you are suddenly offered an affordable, safe, comprehensive way...
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Apr 12, 2016 RW Rwanda

Olive is only 24 years old but has already seen her business grow from strength to strength. What is the secret to her success? Eggs!
Olive showing off her stock
Three years ago, only 21 at the time, Olive started selling rice and vegetables at the market. Two years later she had managed to save up enough profits and take out a Kiva loan to set up her own wholesale business selling eggs. Eggs are a staple food in Rwanda – high in nutrition, easy to cook and quick to eat – a clear winner in the eyes of the locals.... Continue Reading >>


Apr 11, 2016 GO Global Update, UG Uganda

In my first 2 months in Uganda, I’ve met some incredible borrowers. I’m preparing to highlight these inspiring stories shortly. But before I do that, I have a tangent story. This might be a little unusual but… Agnes, my feature profile for this blog post, is not a borrower. She is a mother, sister, student, and a bad-ass woman. And the Branch Manager of the Masindi branch of Hofokam (the partner organization that I am volunteering with in Uganda as a Kiva Fellow). I heard about Agnes from everyone before I visited Masindi, a district northwestern part of Uganda: “Oh you’ll have so much fun... Continue Reading >>


Mar 31, 2016 CO Colombia

During my recent visits with borrowers from Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), a Kiva Field Partner based in the Coastal Region of Colombia, I was fortunate enough to meet Miriam, an innovative craftsperson, mother of two, and vivacious conversationalist. Miriam has officially been in business making handbags, skirts, hair accessories, and other products for about 20 years in Cartagena de Indias, but she has been honing her craft for an impressive 42 years, since childhood.  
One of Miriam's products and...
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Mar 30, 2016 MX Mexico

Mexico is peculiar in its cultural richness due to its variety of ethnical groups, in history there have been among 60 diverse indigenous people that speak about 100 different native languages. A particular group that has transcended and managed to preserve its traditions and essence are the Waxaritaris, commonly known as Huicholes. They are originally from the state of San Luis Potosí but migrated towards the North of Mexico, locating themselves today in Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.   During my visit in Nayarit, I met Micaela whom had recently...
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Mar 28, 2016 CR Costa Rica

“She was always fighting for women.” So said Elsa of her late mother, Lilliam. Elsa’s mom was a fierce advocate for women in their community of Upala, an agricultural zone in the northern region of Costa Rica. Elsa is now following in her mother’s footsteps, leading a local credit union that lends to, and is run by, only women. It is called Efecu. Efecu is one of the local organizations that finds borrowers to connect with Kiva and distributes Kiva loans. Elsa, her mother, and other leaders of Efecu saw supporting women as absolutely critical. “We wanted to empower women, who are often... Continue Reading >>


Mar 10, 2016 RW Rwanda

The borrowers who I find most inspirational are the ones who go the extra mile to innovate in the hope of achieving a more sustainable income for themselves and their families. However, this commitment usually requires more up front capital than a Rwandan household has available. That is where Kiva’s field partner Urwego Opportunity Bank comes into play, as it seeks out the innovative women of Rwanda. I had the pleasure of meeting two of their long terms clients – Laetitia and Delianne. Laetitia invested in a cassava leaf grinder
...
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Mar 4, 2016 GH Ghana

For those of you who have never had Ghanian cuisine (and I'm sure there are many of you) there are three main things you should know about Ghanian cuisine:
  • It is mostly starch (rice/plantain/cassava/maize/yam etc)
  • The portions are large enough to feed a small army
  • I don’t love it
  • The main component of Ghanaian dishes is the starch, and there are not many vegetables.  Starch usually makes up more than 70% of the meal and often is the name of the dish, even though there are other components.  The starch is either made of rice,... Continue Reading >>


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