Sep 12, 2017 TJ Tajikistan

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the new republics had varying degrees of success in adapting to the introduction of capitalism. Tajikistan struggled more than most, compounded by the fact that it suffered a five-year civil war soon after declaring independence. By 1997, a half-million people had fled the country to avoid persecution and poverty. Many ended up in Russia, and the exodus continues to this day.  Although the country is stable now, every year hundreds of thousands of Tajiks work abroad in Russia and other countries as opportunities in Tajikistan are limited. Over a... Continue Reading >>


Aug 25, 2017 CR Costa Rica

Susan Jeannette Fernandez Chavez is a 29 year-old Kiva borrower and artisan whose crafts leave a profound impact on her community. I sat down with her to discuss her journey to the arts, her passion for child development, and the importance of supporting artists.   Check out her crafts here. And yes, she ships internationally!
Susan at work in her studio.
  Me: When did you figure out that you wanted to make art?   Susan: I wanted to create something that was mine, that had my name. At the time I was... Continue Reading >>


Aug 23, 2017 NI Nicaragua

I arrived in Managua on a Saturday night on the 29th of July - my first time in Nicaragua and in Central America. As I was gearing up the next day to start my first week of work with MiCredito, I discovered by chance that Tuesday the 1st of August was a bank holiday in Managua – a festival for the celebration of Saint Domingo, the city’s unofficial patron. I also discovered that the same celebration would be repeated after just 10 days to deliver the Saint back to the church where it was taken from on the first day of the celebration, with a similar ceremony. As surprised as I was, I quickly... Continue Reading >>


Aug 17, 2017 PH Philippines

On a hot and humid Santa Maria afternoon, it seemed only fitting to visit Domingo, who is an ice cream maker in the Philippines. We left the van on the road and walked down the dirt path, navigating mud puddles enroute to his neighborhood. Along the way, there was colorful laundry hanging on fences, neighbors washing up and kids playing while curiously watching us.

We arrived at Domingo’s home, where a large group of his family waited for us...

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Aug 16, 2017 TJ Tajikistan

I must admit, I never expected to have a good time at a circumcision party.  I suppose it helped greatly that the circumcision was not my own, and in fact the deed itself occurred after the party.  Let me back up a bit and explain.
 
I arrived in Tajikistan full of optimism and energy, eager to start my job as a Kiva Fellow. After a few surprises at the airport, I arrived a day later at IMON International - Kiva’s field partner.  They’ve been doing business with Kiva for close to 10 years and IMON has helped Kiva lenders loan...
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Aug 8, 2017 CO Colombia

Drive about 1.5 hours east of the up-and-coming metropolis of Medellín, and you’ll find yourself on tranquil mountain roads in Cocorná, dotted with family farms and handmade houses. Keep your eyes peeled, because Tienda de Paz San Jose doesn’t look like much at first glance. It’s a one-story brick building perched on a hill, seemingly indistinguishable from countless other roadside pit stops in the area. However, inside this unremarkable structure lives the beating heart of a community that has been displaced from their homes by violence three times. Their reaction? To invest in themselves... Continue Reading >>


Aug 1, 2017 CR Costa Rica

I have been in Costa Rica for two weeks and so far I’ve been to a wedding, a baptism, and a birthday party.

Taiwan may be the newly crowned World’s Friendliest Country, but I’d say that Costa Rica gives it some heavy competition.

I had heard something of Tico hospitality before arriving, but I had brushed it off as one of those things that every culture lays...

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Aug 1, 2017 EG Egypt

I had the privilege of being Kiva’s first fellow to work with Together Association for Development and Environment (TADE), our only partner in Egypt. TADE is based in the Minya governate, known locally as the “Bride of Upper Egypt.” 

Minya's Nile corniche, the longest in all of Egypt
Before arriving, all I knew about Minya came from headlines of vicious extremist attacks targeting Christian communities. I was relieved to find an oasis of harmony, where the community ties... Continue Reading >>


Jun 6, 2017 SN Senegal

MEC Aprovag team
Tambacounda, Senegal. Never heard of that place? No worries, I hadn’t either until Kiva sent me to welcome our latest addition in the family, review their operations and help them launch their first agriculture loans on Kiva. The last 5 weeks were such an inspiring adventure, with an amazing team. And so please join me in welcoming MEC Aprovag as a new Kiva field partner in Senegal!
400 kilometres from Dakar, it takes a ‘mere...
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Jun 6, 2017 LB Lebanon

Visiting Borrowers in Biet Ed-Deen, Lebanon When I told my friends and family that I was leaving my job in Washington D.C. to move to Lebanon as a Kiva Fellow, I got the same reaction from everyone: is it safe? Isn’t that near Syria? What's there?  Very few Americans know about Lebanon, and even those who do only know it through the lens of the media: images of war-torn buildings and a refugee crisis too big to handle. So, I will do my best to shed light on my experiences here in hopes that I can tell a story about Lebanon that isn’t told often enough, one of abundant hospitality... Continue Reading >>


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