By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF 16, Guayaquil (Ecuador)
Video posts on a “typical day” in the life of a Kiva Fellow are a time-honored tradition on the Fellows Blog. Past examples include the fantastic video blog of Josh Bull (KF6) on a day he spent meeting borrowers in Tarma (Peru); Nick Hamilton (KF14) has created a video blog on his life as a Kiva Fellow in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; and Josh Wilcox (KF9) has published A day in the life of a Kiva Fellow as part of his video dairy that he kept in Ica (Peru).
Many of these past videos highlight the excitement of meeting and talking to borrowers in the field – and for all those Kiva Fellows who are so lucky to have a borrower verification on their work-plan, these personal encounters are an indisputable highlight of their fellowship. Yet, the work of us Kiva Fellows consists of so many other tasks. Some of the more challenging assignments of my own work plan include:
- Evaluating the journals of “my” micro-finance institution and Kiva´s field partner Banco D-MIRO, to identify trouble areas and ultimately raise the journaling rate.
- Analyzing and estimating all the operational costs and the itemized direct cost that arise for Banco D-MIRO as a consequence of working with Kiva, including the time it takes for loan officers to collect information for borrower profiles and journals.
- Thanking five super-lenders with a personal video message and postcards.
- Select and interview ten borrowers to get a sense of Banco D-MIRO´s compliance with the Client Protection Principles.
While not officially part of my work-plan, one of the most time-intense tasks was to help Banco D-MIRO´s Kiva Coordinator Rubi Chaca train new loan officers. Training mostly consists of making loan officers understand: a) how Kiva works, b) why it is important that they help their institution reach the Kiva fund-raising limit, and c) why hundreds of thousand of enthusiastic people are willing to lend $25 and more to complete strangers at the other end of the world.
In total, Rubi and I have visited and trained fourteen agencies in and around Guayaquil where Banco D-MIRO is located. By the time I had given the same presentation three or four times, I began to literally feel like a rock star on tour who is performing the same song over and over, trying to pretend that it is sensationally new and absolutely spontaneous… My colleague Sandra Pina (KF16) has just published a gorgeous blog post in which she came up with the perfect name for these loan-officer-training “performances”: the Kiva Love Tour!
When I headed to Libertad – a coastal town two bus-hours away from Guayaquil – to give yet another loan officer training on October 24, 2011, it was my eighth stop on the Kiva Love Tour. I expected it to be a quiet day with Rubi and her 16-year-old Kiva Intern Joel Kenny Matias who would be filming our work – but it all turned out very differently…
So without any more words, here is my contribution to the video series of documenting a typical day in the life of a Kiva fellow. Like all previous contributors to the series, I am keenly aware that there is no “typical day” for Kiva Fellows. But taken together, the growing number of “typical day”-videos may at least convey something of the diversity, unpredictability, spontaneity, and joy that a day of a Kiva Fellowship entails. Enjoy!'
Emmanuel M. von Arx is a Kiva Fellow working with Banco D-MIRO in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Banco D-MIRO focuses on clients who have long been excluded from the traditional financial system for reasons that include culture, sex, race, poverty, disability, and illness. To learn more, please visit Banco D-MIRO´s partner page on Kiva or become a member of the lending team of Banco D-MIRO, the only provider of special financial services for disabled and HIV-positive clients in Ecuador.