Fellows Blog Posts by bgoldfinger

May 7, 2010 NI Nicaragua

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua

Many blogs have been written on the subject of borrower verification visits. In the borrower verification (BV) process, ten borrowers are randomly selected from the institution’s list of current loans and visited to confirm that what Kiva has posted on the website is what is actually happening in the field. To avoid various levels of fraud, neither the borrower nor the institution are supposed to have much notice of the visit (several days maximum, for planning purposes). Due to these factors, BV is typically the one project in which we...

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May 4, 2010 NI Nicaragua

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua

In the nearly eight months that I have been a Kiva Fellow, I have noticed that an increasingly common response people have when I tell them we fund microfinance institutions is: “that’s great, but aren’t those guys just getting really rich by charging the poor tons of money on their loans?” It seems as though recent press has given microfinance somewhat of a tarnished reputation.

It is often the case that unless one is directly involved in an industry, it is difficult to know what exactly is going on within that industry. I...

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Mar 1, 2010 NI Nicaragua

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua

Several days ago I woke up at 4:30 in the morning because my high-power fan, which I position directly on me, three feet from my bed, had blown my sheet and fitted sheet completely off the mattress (yeah, I was confused too).  In order to put an end to the hectic sheet flapping, I switched off the fan. Once I had restored order to my bed, I found a comfortable position and tried to go back to sleep. Then, two things happened that very quickly alerted me to the fact that I had forgotten to turn the fan back on. The first was that I had...

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Nov 26, 2009 PE Peru

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF9, Peru

Throughout my “roaming” fellowship, I’ve had a lot of time to think; hours-long bus rides, walks, taxi trips, plane rides, time alone, time surrounded by others but when I felt alone, time spent just waiting, you get the idea. One theme that seems to consistently find its way into my thoughts is movement.

Being dubbed a “roamer,” movement is somewhat inherent in my role. Each new week promises a new microfinance institution (MFI) branch and most likely a new city. Each day promises the visit to new borrowers in new parts of town.  That...

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Oct 22, 2009 PE Peru

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF9 Peru

After my first blog post and the various emails and comments I received in response, I felt an obligation to at least provide somewhat of an update on the “Guinea Pig Situation” here in Peru.  Ironically, after dubbing myself “the Guinea Pig” there seems to be some sort of astrological connection, an alignment of planets, which has been steering me in the direction of various guinea pig interactions (my own curiosity may also have had something to do with this).

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Sep 29, 2009 PE Peru

By Bryan Goldfinger, KF9 (Peru)

At the KF9 graduation ceremony, each newly appointed Fellow received a Thank You card signed by most of the Kiva staff.  Many staff members included a simple message and their signature (keep in mind, each one had to write on 49 separate cards), several included a witty remark and one or two left longer messages possibly containing some parting advice for the field. Although I appreciated each message and signature equally, there was one that stuck out from the rest, not necessarily because of who wrote it, or because it was written in green...

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