Update from the Field: World Happiness, Food Aid + When Beauty and Poverty Collide

Compiled by Allison Moomey | KF16 & KF17 | Bénin

Jamie enjoys the view on his way to visit borrowers in one of the Philippines' most beautiful but poverty affected areas.

Now there comes a time in every Kiva fellow’s life when… he or she begins contemplating, analyzing, and trying to make sense of the past few months’ experiences. We’ve learned how to navigate busy streets, seen joyful faces, and witnessed trials in the lives of clients. From transportation to foreign aid, we’ve gained a little insight, and many of us now have deeper poverty alleviation thoughts rolling around in our heads. While our fellowships may not have given us an answer as to how to sustainably develop a country’s economy, they have raised a lot of valuable questions for us to contemplate. Read this week’s posts to check out perspectives on the World Happiness Report from the country ranked lowest, reflections on aid, development and agriculture, creative transportation, and the reality of poverty amidst beautiful beach landscapes.

Watership Down and the World Happiness Report
Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo
Mike shares his perspectives on the World Happiness Report from the country ranked lowest, Togo. He looks at the role of aid, international development projects, and of course microfinance.

Food Aid: Feeding Bellies, Starving Markets?
Ryan Cummings | KF 17 | Liberia
Ryan poses the complicated question of international aid’s role in development. Although it feeds hungry stomachs, is it a sustainable and beneficial practice?

Public Transportation in Santo Domingo
David Gorgani | KF 17 | Dominican Republic
After a short break in the States, David reflects on the vast differences between public transport in the US and the Dominican republic. Although the latter may be less spacious and more chaotic, it effectively and efficiently meets the unique needs of the many people who call Santo Domingo home (or travel destination).

The Best Business Trip Ever, Part II: Talibon to Calituban, Guindacpan, and Bilangbilangan Daku Islands
By Jamie Greenthal | KF 17 | Philippines
In the midst of uncomfortable transport, Jamie takes a minute to look at his beautiful surroundings and examine the dichotomy between a beautiful beach town perfect for wealthy tourists and a people living in isolation who depend on its resources for survival.


Updates from the Past Month:
Update from the Group Loans, Barriers to Microfinance + How to Visit a Borrower
Non-Financial Services, Employment Discrimination + The Dark Side of Sustainable Tourism
Tropical Business Trips, Less Exhilarating Fellow Roles + Education Inspiration
Finding Epiphanies, Sharing Wisdom + Standing Up to Sassy Nigerian Mamas


Plus more pictures from the past week:

A BRAC employee shows one of the MFI's agricultural projects - Ryan Cummings, Liberia

Santo Domingo's impressively modern metro - David Gorgani, Dominican Republic

A road being constructed from Lomé through Bénin to Nigeria - Michael Slattery, Togo

Fisherman getting ready for their day's work - Jamie Greenthal, Philippines

About the author

Allison Moomey