Jul 30, 2016 GO Global Update

I can’t read anything. That was the first daunting realisation that hit me as my airport shuttle found a spot in Bishkek’s morning traffic jam. Before moving to Kyrgyzstan as a Kiva Fellow, I had not lived and worked in a country where the official language was not english. In the capital, Bishkek, russian is widely spoken while the native, kyrgyz is prominent in the south. When you’re traveling for pleasure, it is easy to get by with only a handful of useful local words like gelato, bratwurst and phở. Here I was, learning russian Microsoft Excel formulas and trying to do my grocery shopping... Continue Reading >>


Jul 29, 2016 GO Global Update

I arrived in Dar es Salaam in early June, a hot and sweaty mess, after 24 hours of flying time. It is my first time on the continent, meaning that every sight, smell, and experience is a new one for me. This has thus far made for an incredibly interesting, challenging, but ultimately enriching experience. While I have had moments where I have questioned my decision to embark on this journey (several hours on an over-packed dala dala, or local bus, in traffic will do things to your head), I have also experienced some seriously incredible, out-of-this-world moments, that reaffirm why I... Continue Reading >>


Jul 27, 2016 GO Global Update

In anticipation of my fellowship in Peru, I hopped on the computer and began taking a look at potential living situations. All fellowships carry a certain level of ambiguity with them, so signing month-long leases generally doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Fellows are frequent visitors of temporary housing sites such as Couchingsurfing, Airbnb, Homeaway, Hostelrefuge.com, etc. While browsing airbnb.com, I found a private room with all the necessary amenities and a 15-minute walk from work. For just ten dollars a night, I figured it would suffice. Twenty minutes after booking the room, I... Continue Reading >>


Jul 18, 2016 HT Haiti

Outside of Haiti, little is known about these amazing and courageous women who oftentimes put their lives at risk every day to provide a better future for their families. A “Madan Sara” is a businesswoman who will travel to rural regions in the country to buy local goods and bring them to the city markets to sell. Normally, we find two types of Madans Sara: those who are wholesalers and those who work in the retail business by reselling large stocks in smaller portions. It is a profession that is normally passed on from mothers to daughters, and in many occasions...
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Jul 18, 2016 KE Kenya

The majority of Kenyans in rural areas are completely reliant on natural sources for all of their water needs; this includes bathing, washing clothes, cooking, and drinking. Unfortunately, these sources of water are in no way purified or fit for human consumption. Therefore, before it can be consumed, the water must be boiled to kill bacteria. This is an arduous process that not only requires time and money, but also has a lasting environmental impact – as coal is the source of heat for heating the water. Enter Evidence Action – a Kiva partner with a solution that addresses all three issues... Continue Reading >>


Jul 15, 2016 TJ Tajikistan

It is the fifth and last Kiva borrower visit for the day. It is something that we, Kiva Field Fellows, do as part of our placement with microfinance institutions (MFI) around the world. A dusty and bumpy rural road brings us to the village where Habiba, a 52-years old school teacher, lives. A loan officer from one of Kiva’s three partner organisations in Tajikistan, Microcredit and Deposit Organisation Arvand, goes to the door to call for Habiba. A slender woman appears from inside the house and greets us in a soft voice with a kind smile on her lips. Russian happens to be my first language... Continue Reading >>


Jul 11, 2016 ID Indonesia

Tangerang is a large satellite city on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is a beautiful place - very green and lush, with several rivers winding through its many rural villages. I spent 3 weeks working with KSPPS BMI, one of Kiva’s microfinance partners that operates in the region.
A view overlooking the lush greenery of Tangerang
During my time there, I quickly realized that the river was the center of life for thousands of people in Tangerang. On several hour-long drives I would stare out the window and see... Continue Reading >>


Jul 4, 2016 MX Mexico

Sistema Biobolsa's Credit Coordinator, Irene, with Don Antonio, a proud owner of a biodigester (featured in the background). Click here to lend to farmers like Don Antonio.
On a Tuesday night one month ago I arrived in Mexico City, welcomed by a massive down pour (summer is the rainy season here). By that Thursday afternoon, I was attempting to define key metrics for a credit program in Spanish with one of Kiva’s field partners, a social enterprise called Sistema Biobolsa. My head reeled with new vocabulary words, and... Continue Reading >>


Jun 28, 2016 IN India

In the deep south of India there are two Kiva borrower groups that are the hot topic amongst villagers. After spending a part of my day with them, I have dubbed them the Spice Girls. Unlike Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger, and Posh Spice in the 1990s, Sindhu and Uma's groups are gaining notoriety in their respective villages not for their vocal talent but for their masala powder packet business.
Uma and Group- Amudha, Uma, Thara, Thangamani
Masala is the heart of Indian cuisine, it is a medley of grounded... Continue Reading >>


Jun 21, 2016 UG Uganda

The first partner that I worked with as part of my Kiva Fellowship was a small group called YICE (Youth Initiative for Community Engagement). They are headquartered in the village of Kyakatebe (Pronounced Jak-a-te-be) within the sub-county of Nalutuntu within the district of Mubende, Uganda. This village is located about 2 hours west of the capital, Kampala. YICE is a small partner that provides loans to groups of 5 women who are mutually accountable for repayment. They require no collateral to guarantee the loan and they are flexible with repayments based on farming / market conditions. Many... Continue Reading >>


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