Oct 15, 2014 GO Global Update, KE Kenya

Resourcefulness is perhaps the most essential trait for any entrepreneur.  In Nairobi’s Kibera district, the largest slum in Africa, that trait is apparent everywhere you look.  In an environment where most residents earn no more than $2/day, resourcefulness is the means for survival, and entrepreneurship a vessel for hope.  Traveling around Nairobi, and Kibera in particular, evidence of this “scrappiness” permeates the sights.  Security spikes made of broken shards of glass line the walls of housing compounds.  Houses are quickly erected with a patchwork of... Continue Reading >>


Oct 14, 2014 KE Kenya

“What if I told you that we provide 0% interest loans for you to grow your business?” was usually the most controversial question during my speaking engagements.   “What’s the catch?” usually followed up my statement. “There is no catch, we are just trying to really outreach to entrepreneurs that need small loans and don’t have access to credit, we trust you will appreciate this loan and repay it back”. Silence filled the room while I continued to explain…   Sounds too good to be true? Well is it too good and it is also true… Kiva Zip is really revolutionizing the micro-lending... Continue Reading >>


Oct 12, 2014 GH Ghana

Microlending in Action
As currently the only Fellow serving in West Africa, I feel quite responsible for ensuring that I do my absolute best when representing not only Kiva (#KivaLove) but also my field partner and my American homeland. (My current partner is a microfinance organization called Grameen Ghana that serves clients in the Northern Region of Ghana. It is not affiliated with the Grameen Foundation but rather - per the organization’s Credit Manager - follows the model of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.) You... Continue Reading >>


Oct 8, 2014 GO Global Update

Here we are in the BIG APPLE, a city that plays hard and works even harder. It’s been a busy first month of my fellowship and things aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. The NYC Zip team here has set the pace – hint; it’s not slow- and I have hit the ground sprinting. Last month, Kiva Zip hosted an event in partnership with Small Business Solutions of NYC. Over 30 business professionals came to hear a Q&A Panel about microfinance. This is where I got to hear first-hand testimonial from one New York’s most recent successfully funded Zip entrepreneurs. Gisele Eboma of Surfing... Continue Reading >>


Oct 8, 2014 AZ Azerbaijan

Thoughts on my first week in Azerbaijan and working with the wonderful people at AqroInvest. 
The inspirational Mr. Ayyub
So finally after weeks struggling to get a visa I eventually arrive in Azerbaijan. I somehow manage to navigate the creaking Baku metro system and find my way to the AqroInvest office. But what next? Well….the people are unbelievably friendly.  It’s like one big happy family. There’s a real sense of unity and team spirit. I’m immediately invited to dinner and have the opportunity to... Continue Reading >>


Oct 8, 2014 JO Jordan

     The difference between Islamic finance and “regular” finance is this: generally, in Islamic finance, risk and profit are shared between lenders and borrowers thereby tying the success of lenders to borrowers. It has grown steadily since the emergence of large Islamic banks in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s and opens a new avenue for current cash-only populations (Garrett 2011). This is particularly true for the poor and less educated who face many obstacles to benefiting from modern institutions, including a reluctance to participate in culturally and religiously condemned... Continue Reading >>


Oct 7, 2014 JO Jordan

Near the Mediterranean Sea, Jordan shares many of the regions culinary traditions, such as fresh veggie based dishes filled with healthy fats like olive oil. With only a handful of ingredients, Bamia comes together quickly and easily. While traditionally made with lamb, goat, or chicken, my recipe is a vegetarian version. Serve over rice, with fresh bread, or on its own. It's a quick meal for a Kiva Fellow on the go! Serves 2 Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups fresh okra stemmed and washed 3 tomatoes, diced 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil Salt and black pepper to taste... Continue Reading >>


Sep 28, 2014 CO Colombia

 
After spending 3 great months with Interactuar in Medellin, I never would have imagined I´d have the privilege to meet these three Colombian Kiva borrowers with such unique businesses.  Not only are Interactuar´s mission, microfinance products and business development services outstanding, they serve some of Colombia´s hardestworking and kind people working to provide for their families...and the families of their neighbors. Allow me to introduce you to three Colombians I´ll never forget.
 
ABADIAS... Continue Reading >>


Sep 25, 2014 GO Global Update

I have been in Kenya for almost 4 months now for my fellowship. Some of my time was spent in Nairobi, and some in western and rural parts of the country. Getting around by motorbike (“piki piki” or “boda boda”) is a way of life in Kenya. But I’ve never seen a female driver. Granted, it’s not an everyday occurrence in the western world either, but motorcycles in general are also not nearly so common. Arriving in Kisumu, I thought I’d give it a try. After moving into my apartment I stepped outside to head for a grocery store. I saw a man with a kind face starting up his boda and decided to... Continue Reading >>


Sep 23, 2014 GO Global Update

Those of you who know me well know my love for lingustics, and learning  languages around the world. My Kiva Fellowship was a perfect opportunity to nurture this passion of mine further. Since I arrived in Kenya, I've been learning the beautiful language of Swahili. When you love learning languages, it also makes you also meet some amazing local people that you develop bonds with ...

Meet Michael, he is one of many cab's drivers that work with Kiva in Kenya! He picked me up this morning for work and said "Nina, it's been a long time, a week since I saw you...

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