Call me a skeptic, but I’m generally not one for clichés. You know how sometimes you read about situations where even though people don’t speak a common language, yet somehow, everyone understands each other? That’s not exactly my experience in Senegal. While the official language here is French, which I speak passably, the more common language is Wolof, which is spoken by the Wolof people and increasingly, almost everyone else in Senegal, though depending on where people are from, they may speak one of a dozen other languages on a regular basis. I spend a lot of my time confused....Continue Reading >>
HKL, the MFI that I am at for my first Kiva Fellowship, has Kiva loans all over Cambodia, which means if I want to visit with a decent number of Kiva borrowers I have to do a fair amount to traveling. Last week I did my first of several week long excursions to a branch office, this time in Siem Reap. Some of you may have heard of this town before as it is the home to Angkor Wat:
Needless to say I did not complain when it was decided that this would be going...Continue Reading >>
“Be late, but get there”
This sticker, prominently displayed on the dashboard of the Mombasa bus, did not inspire much confidence that we would reach our destination in a timely manner, but it at least reassured my safety a bit more than another common sticker – “drive it like you stole it.”
Occasional Frequent maniacal driving aside, you are also most likely already aware of the fact that things in East Africa rarely operate in a way that someone from the United States (my home country) might call prompt. This has proven to be a way of life that is right...Continue Reading >>
Many people have expressed desire to see more Haiti loans. In response, I would like to explain what is currently taking place. Presently all Haiti loans must go through the Esperanza office in the Dominican Republic. This is because the Esperanza Haiti office (located in Cape Haitian) is not yet a recognized MFI. Kiva and Esperanza are working to finalize this and train staff on Kiva protocol. Not being a recognized MFI has limited our ability to post Haiti loans. BUT, I can say that starting in April (and beyond) we will begin to regularly post Haiti Esperanza loans. Instead of rushing...Continue Reading >>
One of my main roles as a fellow with SEDA in Vietnam is interviewing borrowers and then writing a journal update so that lenders can see how the borrower is doing. I have many questions that I like to ask most of the borrowers and one of my favorites is quite simple: What did you do before you started this particular business? This question is great because it really helps me learn about the person I’m interviewing; their...Continue Reading >>
As a Kiva Fellow volunteering for a Microfinance Institution (MFI) in Puno, Peru, one of my responsibilities is to interview women entrepreneurs who have received loans from the MFI, Manuela Ramos, and Kiva. During the interview the goal is to obtain their photos, learn how the woman used the loan, and gather more information about her life – her hopes, dreams and hardships. With this information I can, and other fellows and MFI employees can, provide a follow up to the people who have made loans to these entrepreneurs through Kiva...Continue Reading >>
Warning: this post has absolutely nothing to do with microfinace. Just gives you a glimpse into what is involved with taking a hot shower here in Nimasac, Guatemala.
When I was first accepted as a Kiva Fellow, I was asked if I had any “special” requirements. My response was that I wanted to be relatively safe and be able to take a hot shower.
Taking a hot shower is no simple matter in Guatemala. First of all, most homes do not have running water. (this includes the family that I am living with). So, in that situation, here is how you get to take a hot shower....Continue Reading >>
Hi Kiva fans!
My name is Brent, and I’m a member of this class of Kiva Fellows that you haven’t seen on the blog yet. Yeah, my start got a little delayed. But I’d like to think of myself as fashionably late, and getting here just as the party is in full swing. Except that unlike most, this is a party I was actually invited to.
I’ve been placed with AFODENIC, one of Kiva’s field partner’s based out of Managua, Nicaragua. AFODENIC is actually a catchy acronym for...Continue Reading >>
You go and talk to them, of course.
But how do you know if they’re telling the truth? How long do you wait on their promise to pay? What if these promises go on and on without being fulfilled?
How do you gauge how committed they are to eventually paying?... Continue Reading >>
A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Koumantou, Mali to visit with several solidarity group clients of Soro Yiriwaso. The women of the Groupe Kokatia graciously allowed me to film the financing of their loan. Solidarity loans are used broadly at Soro Yiriwaso, and among many of Kiva’s field partner institutions. The strength of a community of women is indeed universal!
I hope that you will enjoy this short movie—the magnicent colors and smiles, in particular.'... Continue Reading >>