Alan Mathers

Alan grew up near Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied French and Economics in Scotland, before taking an M.B.A from London Business School. Alan’s career to date has been in finance and management consulting, focusing on programme management of major business change in U.K. and U.S. banking and consulting organisations. In 2014, Alan took a break from life in finance to devote some time to the world of development and social enterprise. Over the past year, he has had opportunities to work with ‘The Ethiopian Education Foundation’ (an organisation in Addis which supports gifted but financially deprived children through education), and with a number of Kivas partners in Zimbabwe and Kenya. These have included Camfed Zimbabwe, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa and most recently, ECLOF Kenya. Alan has been struck by the eagerness and passion with which many in deprived circumstances embrace opportunity. He has witnessed how it empowers innovative, hard-working and intelligent individuals to achieve their full potential, whilst maintaining dignity, pride and self-esteem. He is passionate about the role Kiva is playing in this, and is honoured to have the opportunity to be part of the Fellows programme.

Fellows Blog Posts by Alan Mathers

Nov 20, 2015 GO Global Update

It’s been a week when reports of shocking terrorist atrocities (Paris, Beirut, Nigeria – and, as I write, Mali) have been dominating our news bulletins and social media feeds. And it’s been followed, of course, with the usual analysis around how best to tackle the issue: border closures, refugee expulsions, states of emergency and air strikes seem depressingly to the fore.   But in this fevered climate, I found it refreshing to see another different, inspiring approach to the challenge, that is being implemented by Hand in Hand Eastern Africa (HiHEA), one of our Kiva partners... Continue Reading >>


Oct 15, 2015 KE Kenya

There’s apparently a proverb that says you can’t wash the dust of Africa off your feet. Looking at my laptop, I realise just how dusty a place Kenya is in October. My camera, my phone, my clothes, my shoes – everything seems to have developed a layer of grime that’s gradually getting permanently worn in.

Nairobi has certainly played its part...

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Sep 17, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

A conversation with Angeline Murimirwa, Regional Director of Camfed   Angie Murimirwa is the Regional Director for Camfed, covering the whole of the Africa region.  As part of her high profile role, she has recently returned from a trip to Washington to join a panel with Michelle Obama, on the role of young women in the education of girls.  But Angie’s story could easily have been very different.  Her family (in rural Zimbabwe) did not have the money to pay secondary school fees. Fortunately, her case came to the attention of Camfed, who stepped in and... Continue Reading >>


Apr 28, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

By far the most rewarding aspect of my Kiva Fellowship here in Zimbabwe, is the opportunity to meet individual Kiva borrowers and to understand from them, first hand, how they are using their loans to transform their lives. Sometimes, however, those accounts can be painful to hear. Patience lives in the Gokwe district, in the north west of the country. I was slightly concerned about the trip to Gokwe: anyone I mentioned it to gave me a look of sympathy, mixed with a certain glee, at the prospect of the journey I was in for. I now know why. It’s a vast district, remote and quite sparsely... Continue Reading >>


Mar 16, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

They may be continents apart, but Costa Rica and Zimbabwe face some of the same challenges when it comes to life in a rural community. A lack of electricity means no fridges to keep food chilled. Cooking is often done over an open fire inside the home but, increasingly, the severe health risks (particularly to women and children) of the smoky environment are becoming evident. And there’s unlikely, either, to be ready access to running hot water.
 
How to address such challenges forms part of the research activities of the renowned Earth University in...
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Mar 4, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

We’d left at 6.30 in the morning, and travelled several hours through the district of Guruve, in Northern Zimbabwe, along increasingly potholed, flooded and narrow ‘roads’. Our aim was to visit Melter, one of the young women who have taken a Kiva loan through the local partner here in Zimbabwe, The Campaign for Female Education (Camfed). We’d come to find out how things were going with her poultry raising business. Given the journey, we were at first slightly concerned to find she wasn’t at home: like the other Camfed ‘learner guides’ who receive Kiva loans, Melter is very active in the... Continue Reading >>