Fellows Blog Posts by Philip

May 22, 2012

Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine

In my last post, I examined the extent to which the lending programs of Kiva’s Palestinian partners FATEN and Ryada can be said to empower women. One characteristic that both programs share is that they only make individual loans. But microfinance doesn’t have to be done at the individual level, and there can be significant advantages to adopting a group lending approach to empower marginalized social groups. With this in mind, I’m excited to introduce you to the Deir Bzei Women’s Cooperative. They’ve leveraged...

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May 16, 2012 AZ Azerbaijan

Compiled by Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine

We’ve all had these moments: Trying to impress a native speaker with our ability to speak their language, we compose an elegant sentence in our minds, open our mouths, and… proceed to swallow our feet whole. Indeed, we Kiva Fellows have had no shortage of these incidents – we’ve twisted and tortured whole phrases so that they come out no better suited than to embarrass and offend.

So here are a few stories of us Fellows shattering our carefully constructed, professional identities with a spectacular...

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May 11, 2012

Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine

A couple of years ago, Mohammed Al-Shawaf, a Kiva Fellow serving in Palestine previous to me, wrote a thoughtful post on the complexities of implementing a women’s empowerment agenda through microfinance. Having served my placement at the same MFIs as him, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about FATEN and Ryada’s women empowerment initiatives and implementations. The two institutions are far apart in their models, with each carrying associated benefits and disadvantages. I also had the opportunity to meet with a women...

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Apr 6, 2012 PS Palestinian Territory

Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine (Update: Photo links fixed)

Now that Spring time is in full bloom here in Palestine, the truths about a pair misconceptions I held before arriving have become unavoidable. First, that the ecology here is actually quite conducive to agriculture, and second, that most of the West Bank is in fact not under the jurisdiction of Palestinians.

I had originally intended to write only about my surprise about how green the land can be in Spring, but I believe that such a post would be dishonest. It...

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