Mar 31, 2016 CO Colombia

During my recent visits with borrowers from Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), a Kiva Field Partner based in the Coastal Region of Colombia, I was fortunate enough to meet Miriam, an innovative craftsperson, mother of two, and vivacious conversationalist. Miriam has officially been in business making handbags, skirts, hair accessories, and other products for about 20 years in Cartagena de Indias, but she has been honing her craft for an impressive 42 years, since childhood.  
One of Miriam's products and...
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Mar 30, 2016 MX Mexico

Mexico is peculiar in its cultural richness due to its variety of ethnical groups, in history there have been among 60 diverse indigenous people that speak about 100 different native languages. A particular group that has transcended and managed to preserve its traditions and essence are the Waxaritaris, commonly known as Huicholes. They are originally from the state of San Luis Potosí but migrated towards the North of Mexico, locating themselves today in Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.   During my visit in Nayarit, I met Micaela whom had recently...
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Mar 28, 2016 CR Costa Rica

“She was always fighting for women.” So said Elsa of her late mother, Lilliam. Elsa’s mom was a fierce advocate for women in their community of Upala, an agricultural zone in the northern region of Costa Rica. Elsa is now following in her mother’s footsteps, leading a local credit union that lends to, and is run by, only women. It is called Efecu. Efecu is one of the local organizations that finds borrowers to connect with Kiva and distributes Kiva loans. Elsa, her mother, and other leaders of Efecu saw supporting women as absolutely critical. “We wanted to empower women, who are often... Continue Reading >>


Mar 10, 2016 RW Rwanda

The borrowers who I find most inspirational are the ones who go the extra mile to innovate in the hope of achieving a more sustainable income for themselves and their families. However, this commitment usually requires more up front capital than a Rwandan household has available. That is where Kiva’s field partner Urwego Opportunity Bank comes into play, as it seeks out the innovative women of Rwanda. I had the pleasure of meeting two of their long terms clients – Laetitia and Delianne. Laetitia invested in a cassava leaf grinder
...
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Mar 4, 2016 GH Ghana

For those of you who have never had Ghanian cuisine (and I'm sure there are many of you) there are three main things you should know about Ghanian cuisine:
  • It is mostly starch (rice/plantain/cassava/maize/yam etc)
  • The portions are large enough to feed a small army
  • I don’t love it
  • The main component of Ghanaian dishes is the starch, and there are not many vegetables.  Starch usually makes up more than 70% of the meal and often is the name of the dish, even though there are other components.  The starch is either made of rice,... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 29, 2016 PK Pakistan

    Rizwana Tabbasum with her products displayed
    Yesterday, during visiting last client of Kiva’s partner, ‘Kashf foundation’ for Borrower Verification Process.  I visited an other Kiva client home, Rizwana Tabasum. Though she was not included in my BV list, I felt fortunate to have a meeting & greeting with this simple lady. After walking from a very congested street of Haripur village, Pakistan, all of my tirdness got vanished once I have seen her excellent work.  The talented lady is making home décors... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 29, 2016 PA Panama

    This week I had the privilege of visiting many Kiva borrowers in the Chiriquí province of Panama. It is a rich area made up of beautiful coast, steep mountains, plentiful farmland, and abundant rainbows.
    A giant rainbow in the skies over Chiriquí, Panama
    In Panama, Kiva loans are disbursed through a local partner organization (named EDESA) to local credit unions, which in turn give loans to their members. In Spanish, these credit unions are called “empresas de crédito," or "ECs" for short.... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 22, 2016 GH Ghana

    Last week I met the ladies of Sorlimor Group in Chorkor, an overpopulated fishing area in Greater Accra.  After numerous tro tros (three in two hours!) the loan officer and I finally arrived at the meeting spot (for more information on tro tros; what they are and what it is like riding them, see Kadri’s blog entry here). At the moment, I am working with ID Ghana (a Microfinance institution that partners with Kiva) who mainly disburse group loans in Accra.  Issuing a loan in a group encourages the borrowers to pay back their loan through light peer pressure - no one wants to let... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 19, 2016 MZ Mozambique

    I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in the wonderful world of Maputo, Mozambique.  Forgetting my old routine and relearning the spicy, Mozambican way of things. 

    Women harvest a piri piri pepper field outside of Maputo
    I was on my first placement in Brazil when I found out I would be going to Mozambique. I began to eagerly dream about my future life in Africa, a new continent for me. My initial worries were practical: Would they understand my Brazilian Portuguese accent? What kind... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 16, 2016 SN Senegal

    A Senegalese man – early twenties, I’d guess – has been running silently beside me for the last three miles as the sun pounds down on us.  He’s wearing a long-sleeved jacket and a drawstring backpack and given that I sweat through my tank top miles ago, I am in awe. As we near the end of the race it becomes apparent that I might place so he begins clearing a path for me to accelerate through the runners ahead of us. I am exhausted but with his encouragement I pick up my pace.  Just before the final turn he congratulates me...
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