Dec 13, 2008 SL Sierra Leone

By Adam Grenier, KF6 Sierra Leone

In May 2008, Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) launched an agricultural loan product to clients in the remote farming villages surrounding the city of Kabala, Sierra Leone. The agricultural loan product is designed to stimulate the agribusiness sector. The loan provides subsistence farmers with a capital infusion into their farms for the purpose of increasing their production. Most commonly, the capital is used to purchase seeds, fertilizer and labor. These are the inputs, so to speak. With more inputs,...

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Dec 12, 2008 BJ Benin

Maurice, Alidé’s loan officer, and I ventured into neighborhoods even dirtier and more fly stricken to visit Alide’s clients. On Monday we visited the most intense location ever – the lake country. It reminded me a little of New Orleans. The houses were built on mud and some directly over the lake, the log slats spaced almost wide enough for a foot to fall through. The area was muddy with lots of flies and very poor. We interviewed one of the few male borrowers, Moise Dossa. He was a happy, attractive man wearing robes of flowing colors. In his bare feet, he led us into...

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Dec 12, 2008 GH Ghana

In the United States, my home country, our motto as of late has been change. I have been working at the Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN) in Ghana for almost two months now, and I am just in time to witness some monumental policy changes of its own that will redefine the way CRAN does business and may even give President-elect Obama a run for his money.

Currently, CRAN has seven different branches in three regions of Ghana. Four of its branches are located near the main office around Cape Coast and Elmina, Ghana, two fishing towns that aren’t...

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Dec 10, 2008 PE Peru

Mrs. Rosario Roca runs a bodega in the front of her house on a quiet street in Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru.  After giving an EDAPROSPO loan officer and I Inka Colas (a yellow soda with the taste of bubble-gum, widely considered the national drink of Peru [nonalcoholic, the alcoholic distinction belongs to the Pisco Sour]), Mrs. Roca gave us a snapshot of what it meant to be a small business owner and resident of her neighborhood in Comas.  The hospitality gave it away.

She has spent four years receiving loans from EDAPROSPO and...

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Dec 9, 2008 PE Peru

Blue eyeshadow, I love the way you match the shirt and the shoes just so.  And I love how you pay no mind to that tired faux pas rule cuz you look damn good and you know it, too!

Gorgeous sunsets, you’re the best. How do you do it? Is that what the afternoon rainstorms are for? To set the stage  – everyday without fail – with clouds to hang a gorgeous golden, purple, and rose sunset – a Michaelangelo sky.

“People of the Jungle” – is that what you call yourselves?  Well, that I love – it...

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Dec 8, 2008 ID Indonesia

I first went to Belimbingsari Village for a funeral. The father of two of DINARI Foundation’s staff, Gede Mustika and his sister Yulia, had suffered a stroke and died shortly thereafter. A rented van transported the staff from DINARI’s headquarters, and the mood seemed surprisingly cheerful during the three-hour trip to West Bali. I was reminded of school field trips as people passed around puffed-corn snacks and jokingly reclined their seats into their neighbors’ laps.

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Dec 8, 2008 TZ Tanzania

I had been looking forward to going to the southern city of Mbeya even before I arrived in Tanzania. Mbeya is known for it’s cooler climate and lush vegetation. So when it turned out that SELFINA had branches in Mbeya and the surrounding areas and that journaling needed to implemented in those branches I enthusiastically bought my ticket for a 12 hour bus ride that would take me there.

The first few days were great! I was teaching...

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Dec 8, 2008 TZ Tanzania

Rebeca walks into the SELFINA Mbeya branch with an air and a flair that is hard to describe.  She is here to make one of her monthly repayments.  As this is her third loan, so she knows the routine quite well. 

 

As she settles herself into the chair and rewraps herself in her colorful khangas (traditional Tanzanian cloth with bold and vibrant colors and patterns) we explain that we are would like to spend a few minutes learning how her loans have impacted her life...

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Dec 7, 2008 NI Nicaragua

Part of my job as a Kiva Fellow in Managua, Nicaragua is to facilitate connections between Kiva lenders and the borrowers.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a unique opportunity to participate in a TIME Magazine interview of an enthusiastic Kiva entrepreneur, Freddy Antonio Castillo Luna.

Freddy in his bakery

Kiva lender and journalist Joel Stein had been in contact with Fiona Ramsey, Public Relations Director at Kiva, in attempts to coordinate an interview between him and a...

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Dec 5, 2008 KE Kenya

On November 27-29 ANK held a training seminar for approximately 25 of its borrowers in the Kayole section of Nairobi. Kayole is on the outskirts, about 30 minutes from the city center.

The borrowers were mostly women, and they showed up a little apprehensive as to what they would be doing at the training. None of them have gone through any kind of formal training before and most have them never went to college; some had finished high school.

I was very happy to see that ANK was doing this kind of training. I have long wondered about this gap in microfinance: what good is it...

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