Oct 24, 2016 VN Vietnam

These entrepreneurial Kiva borrowers from Yên Định, a rural village in Thanh Hoa province, purchased, raised and sold animals in order to pay for...

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Oct 21, 2016 SL Sierra Leone

“Despite the hoopla over microfinance, it doesn't cure poverty”1. The validity of this statement is recognized, and the data; compelling. A simple google search will lead you to a plethora of articles about how microfinance is not as effective as promised by NGOs around the world, and that it is a disappointment in the development field234. However, before you scrap the concept and decide your money is better spent with a foundation, I would like to invite you to consider a different perspective.
The average house cost 120M...
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Oct 20, 2016 BO Bolivia

On waking up this morning, I was surprised to find a message from my co-worker, sent at 5.30 am, that read, “Janvi – there’s a transport strike today, please be careful. Don’t speak with strangers on the street. Honestly, it would be better if you stay home and decide not to come into work.”  
"Protest of Chauffeurs in La Paz" The subtitle of this article explains that the strike has been called on by the Federation of Chauffeurs in La Paz and the residents are extremely unhappy with this "unjust" development...
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Oct 20, 2016 VN Vietnam

Humble, good-natured, reliable. These are the qualities I've encountered in the salt farmers - and Kiva microloan borrowers - I was able to visit this past week in Thanh Hoa province in Vietnam, hence my dubbing them "the salt of the earth." This phrase's ancient, biblical origins harken back to a time in which salt was considered synonymous with value, to the extent salt was sometimes used as currency. The phrase also connotes a preservation of societal values, as salt was widely used, and still is used today, as a preservative. This... Continue Reading >>

Oct 18, 2016 LR Liberia

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the opportunity to try new foods. I’ve never been particularly interested in typical tourist attractions. I would rather explore and wander upon serendipitous experiences. The best way to truly understand what a culture is all about is to sample its cuisine.   Liberia is not particularly well known for its food. It’s a shame though. Trying Liberian food has been a valuable extension of my experience. The dishes are spicy, sweet, and salty; starchy, but full of various meats; and oh so exquisitely prepared and seasoned. Where else could one buy a... Continue Reading >>

Oct 17, 2016 BR Brazil

Kid jumping the rope
It is funny how Brazilians have a different date for almost every typical western celebration. For example, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12th and Father’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of August. Children’s day (Dia das crianças) is a pretty big event in Brazil too and it is celebrated on October 12th. As part of this year Children’s Day, my field partner in Sao Paulo, Banco do Povo Credito Solidario, sponsored a day playing with Brazilian kids (crianças in Portuguese), from an... Continue Reading >>

Oct 13, 2016 BO Bolivia

Meet Javier Alberto Viscarra
Meet Javier Alberto Viscarra. A 49-year old entrepreneur, he recycles hospital waste to develop solutions for unwanted plastic. His product is simple, a machine that breaks down “low density polyethylene” – substance that plastic bottles contain – and recycles them as granules for reuse in the market. He developed his first machine in 2010 when he started his workshop with limited capital and his wife told him - "think of this as your biggest fight, of... Continue Reading >>

Oct 12, 2016 SV El Salvador

With 40 years of experience behind her apron, Maria Dolores used a Kiva loan to transform a small artisanal breadmaking business into an ever-growing enterprise.  Maria continues to use traditional methods, including a wood-fired stove, to produce each high quality loaf just as her mother once taught her.  This traditional method, although time consuming, yields a tasty product favored by Maria’s customers in and around La Union, El Salvador.
Artisanal bread
With her bread sales, Maria can take in up to... Continue Reading >>

Oct 8, 2016 KH Cambodia

Coming into my fellowship, I was quite aware of some of the challenges of running microfinance operations. I knew that interest rates from certain microfinance institutions can be too high for borrowers to sustain repayments and that it takes a lot of manpower to disburse loans, perform loan assessments, and conduct verifications. But I only understood those factors on a theoretical level.

After being on the ground for almost a month now, I...

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Oct 7, 2016 BR Brazil

Here with Maria Aparecida, one of Kiva funded entrepreneurs in Brazil who benefits from lower interest rates
Most of us have heard at least once about Brazil: this enormously huge country, with crazy amazing beaches, great weather, great people, land of Gisele Bundchen, land of caipirinha and so on. For those who know a bit more about Brazil, perhaps you might know about Dilma Rousseff and its recent impeachment, the ongoing economic crisis that still hasn’t come to an end, the Olympics that were recently hosted in... Continue Reading >>