Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF15, Ecuador

A Togolese street vendor: Inventory on the head, baby on the back

Last week our internationally-scattered Kiva Fellows introduced us to some of the men and women that compose the sixty countries in which Kiva works. From the woman in Cameroon who represents the strength of her nation; to the Phillipino men that must migrate from their country to make a living; to the young men and women of Uganda who show us a glimpse of raw entrepreneurialism and hope. We also see how a nation’s people are brought together, whether by a common and incredible credit culture in Nicaragua, or by the dream for Togolese roads to one day connect people, markets, and credit throughout the country. From roads to remittances, Fellows learn there is more to microfinance than world markets and interest rates, and that human factors are tipping the scales of success for microfinance in all corners of the world.

Paving the Way to the Future: Bad Roads, Transportation Costs and Microfinance in Togo (Part I & Part II)
Country: Togo / Fellow: Kathrin Gerner (KF15)

In Part I, Kathrin explains how bad roads impact a microfinance market, through both higher interest rates due to transportation costs and otherwise. But in Part II she explains that revamping these roads proves just as costly to shop keepers, market venders, and Kiva borrowers.

A Different (Credit) Culture
Country: Nicaragua / Fellow: Casey Cline, (K15)
Casey relays the stories of Kiva borrowers who illustrate the power of the credit culture in an altogether different culture, and the incredible strength and determination of clients to repay their loans on time.

More than Microfinance: How BRAC Uganda Empowers Adolescents
Country: Uganda / Fellow: Michele Wehle (KF15) 
When microloans aren’t enough: Michele discusses BRAC’s programs for young men and women, which go above and beyond the role of a micro-lending institution and help Ugandan adolescents to do the same.

Long Distance Relationships: Remittances in the Philippines
Country: Philippines / Fellow: Allie Cook (KF15)
For a developing country with a high remittance rate, micofinance institutions must begin expanding programs to help bring the population home again.

Walking a Mile in Her Shoes
Country: Cameroon / Fellow: Faith Garlington (KF15)
Walking a mile- or more like five miles- of Eunice’s trip to and from the market, Faith learns firsthand the daily trials of the Kiva borrower.

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Updates from the past month:

New Partners, Country-Specific Microfinance + Stories of a Kiva Fellowship
Mosquito Nets, Rock Climbing + Clearing the Air
Instability, Trust, + A New Home

Unsung Heroes, Community Alliances + and Mission Statements Made Reality
Personal Connections, Supply and Demand + A Culinary Excursion

*      *       *

Plus more pictures from the past week:

By Faith Garlington, KF15, Cameroon

ASKI borrower training.

By Allie Cook, KF15, Philippines

By Kathrin Gerner, KF15, Togo

By Kathrin Gerner, KF15, Togo

By Casey Cline, KF15, Nicaragua

By Michele Wehle, KF15, Uganda


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Prior to working with Kiva, Kate lived in Quito, Ecuador working in environmental management as a consultant for USAID implementing partners in the global south. After earning her B.A. in Political Economy, Postcolonial History, and Development from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in January 2010, she pursued a practice-based understanding of effective tools in development through work with New York based social change organizations and grassroots nonprofit organizations in Guatemala. Kate worked previously with Kiva as a Kiva Fellow in Ecuador and Peru, which fomented her commitment to microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation.
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