May 16, 2013
Mrs. Pham Kieu Oanh is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP), a non-governmental and non-profit organization working to nurture social enterprises (SEs) in Vietnam to maximize their chances for success. CSIP is a critical partner providing intensive, early stage support to a select number of social entrepreneurs in the form of financial assistance, mentoring, networking, and promotional campaigns. Kiva is in the early stages of considering how we can partner with CSIP to help bring funding to social enterprises across Vietnam.
May 14, 2013
Global Update, Rwanda
Kerosene is the primary source of light for over a billion people on the planet. Its fumes can cause health problems for those that use it frequently (sometimes children, studying after dark), and the long-run costs can reach a quarter of a family’s income. To top things off, kerosene’s black carbon byproduct is a far greater threat to climate change than carbon dioxide (see article). Despite all these problems, its incrementally cheap price and ubiquity make it popular.
In light of this, numerous clean-energy organizations have stepped up to tackle this problem, trying to...
May 13, 2013
From Azerbaijan, another photo blog! This time, no politics, no opinions - just spectacular views of one of the best regions on the planet. Photos from the northern towns of Sheki, Zaqatala, Qax, and a couple from Georgia.
One point of clarification: any reference to 'Albanian' is about Caucasian Albanian - an ancient civilization that existed in this region, with no relation to today's Republic of Albania.
May 11, 2013
Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Global Update, Guatemala
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We've collected a few of our favorite (and cutest) photos of mothers, grandmothers and their children from the circle of Kiva borrowers around the world.
We hope that you make a this a special day to remember your mothers and any other women who cared for you like a mother!
P.S. A Kiva Card makes a great last-minute gift!
Mother and daughter CAURIE borrowers, Fautou and Sylla in Senegal. Fatou took her last loan to help her son open a small shop.
May 9, 2013
Today in Guatemala's Supreme Court, closing arguments are being delivered in the trial of former head of state, Efraín Ríos Montt on the accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity. This landmark case has taken years of patience and the steady call for justice from the affected indigenous communities of Guatemala. In the following blog post, I will outline how the art of Mayan weaving demonstrates a resilience of character that has enabled the women of Guatemala to endure generations of political violence and oppression. ...
May 8, 2013
As someone who loves to eat, you have no idea how happy I was when I found out I was placed in Hanoi for my Kiva Fellowship. Vietnam has some of the absolute best food in the world.
Vietnamese dishes commonly use lemongrass, fish sauce, ginger, mint, basil, bird's eye chili, and lime in all sorts of delicious combinations. These distinct flavors combined with French influences come together to create dishes so rich and varied in flavor that my stomach actually grumbled when I read the Kiva email saying that I would be spending the next few months in Hanoi. This may...
May 6, 2013
Having lived here for three months now, it's easy to forget how oblivious I was of this country before I arrived. Few even know where Azerbaijan is on a map. You (just about every one of you) has never and probably will never see this place.
So, here is a collection of photos from three months of travels. It’s but a glimpse, an unworthy speck of what can be called life in Azerbaijan. Pictures from Sabirabad, Imishli, Bilasuvar, Agsu, Goychay, Beylagan, and Agjabedi.
Some towns are centuries old; others no more than a decade. ...
May 4, 2013
When you are looking at the Kiva website, you might occasionally wonder: “Is that a real person and are they really getting a loan for what they’re saying?” How does Kiva make sure their partners are doing what they claim to be doing? They send out over-qualified but eager volunteers who ride hundreds of hours on public transportation, drink countless cups of tea, and meet a randomly chosen sample of the borrowers...
Rainbow seen from Matatu near Mwingi town
May 3, 2013
The most compelling benefit of microfinance and the reason I was drawn to the Kiva fellowship is its potential to empower the most vulnerable people around the world, particularly women. It’s no secret that women have the greatest impact on their families and their well-being, especially when they have more control over household finances. Across most of the developing world, this is not the case but organizations that work to reach women in these countries are helping to change that. Solar Sister is one such organization based in Kampala, Uganda.
Approximately 1.6 billion...
May 2, 2013
The website of a foreign-owned diamond mining company in Sierra Leone states, "Our Diamonds Doing Good: Follow our progress as we demonstrate that responsible and sustainable diamond mining can - and will - elevate and empower the people, the economy, and the country of Sierra Leone."
During my second week in Sierra Leone as a Kiva Fellow, I visited Kono district where this company - among others - bases its operations, and if this trip has taught me anything, it is that there is little evidence that diamond mining has brought any positive...