Jun 29, 2018 CO Colombia

Judith beside the sewing machine she bought with her Kiva loan.

My birthday was fast approaching and I was having an emergency. I had nothing to wear. This might seem like a small problem, but here in Colombia, the “rumba” – the party – reigns supreme and if you don’t look fabulous, you might as well stay home. Besides, my birthday was to fall on a Saturday, an astrological phenomenon that cannot be taken for granted. The 23rd of June must be celebrated from the moment it...

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Jun 26, 2018 GO Global Update

Hodrina holding her son in front of her new house.

While the Dominican Republic is famous for Punta Cana and its pristine beaches, its neighbour Haiti is mostly known for being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but both countries have much more to offer than these limiting stereotypes. In the 20th century, as Haiti’s economic and political climates became increasingly dire, Haitians started to migrate to the Dominican Republic. A series of bilateral...

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Jun 20, 2018 GO Global Update

Rwanda's Gihembe refugee camp

The movement of people across and within borders in East Africa since the 1950’s has been significant. Often, movement has been a result of conflict or instability, with people leaving their homes in search of safety.  When the Rwandan Genocide ended in 1994 and the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of the country, those who had fled were encouraged to return home. In the 24 years since the genocide, more than 3.4 million Rwandan refugees have returned home,...

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May 23, 2018 GT Guatemala

Elena (right) and Martina in the cooperative's shop.

Doña Micaela sits on the floor, knees on a straw mat and a spool of cotton thread whittled in her hand. Behind her is a display of natural dyes, labeled for tourists. “Can I please take a picture of you?” I ask her in Spanish. “She doesn’t understand,” her colleague, Doña Elena, answers. Elena translates my words to Tz’utujil, one of the 21 indigenous languages in Guatemala. Micaela smiles and nods. Micaela and Elena are members of Ixoq...

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May 21, 2018 DO Dominican Republic

A colmado’s storefront in the region of Constanza.

Upon arriving in the Dominican Republic, you’re bound to encounter one recurring type of shop…a colmado.   What is a colmado? Well...it's a bit of everything.

A colmado is primarily a local convenience store. It sells staples: from rice and beans to toiletries, cigarettes and alcohol. People can call their local colmado for a delivery. Pretty convenient when you realize you need one more avocado in the middle of making...

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May 17, 2018 GO Global Update

ICT4D can help organizations attain the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals

ICT4D is an acronym that stands for “Information and communication technologies (ICT) for development.” It refers to the use of software, hardware and telecommunications technologies in pursuit of development and humanitarian aid. In March 2018, I had the pleasure of attending the ICT4D Conference held in Lusaka, Zambia, which brought together representatives from NGOs, the private sector and academia to discuss how ICT...

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May 8, 2018 UG Uganda

Doreen at home in Kasese.

Never has the saying, ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation,’ resonated more with me. Before starting my fellowship with Kiva, I always wondered why most lenders loan money to women rather than men. However, the experience of visiting borrowers all over Uganda during this fellowship has given me a totally different perspective, as I’ve now been able to see and experience first-hand how key women are to development...

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May 6, 2018 GO Global Update

Tsalani Bwino means “stay well”, or goodbye, in Nyanja, one of Zambia’s local languages. When I first arrived in Lusaka, I didn’t know how I would spend 2 months here. “There’s nothing to do in Zambia,” a friend helpfully told me when I asked them for some travel advice. It’s true that Lusaka doesn’t have many tourist attractions, and it’s usually used as a stopover point by backpackers on their way to Livingstone or one of the national parks. However, upon arrival my calendar quickly filled with things to do and my time in-country has flown by. It’s now my last week in...

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May 3, 2018 JO Jordan

A group shot with the lovely ladies behind Specific Union for Farmer Women.

Tucked into Jordan’s greater Ajloun Governorate lies Sakhra, a small village with 1 main street functioning as the town's arterial gateway to side-streets dotted with 2 and 3 story houses. It is here that Specific Union for Farmer Women assumes its modest headquarters: 2 offices, a communal space, a kitchen and a bathroom. And while the space may be prudent, it possesses an uncharacteristically...

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Apr 25, 2018 RW Rwanda

It is busy, dark and noisy. There is the intermittent running of a diesel engine as 2 mechanics attempt its repair, and what seems to be an endless stream of men unloading bags of cement into an adjacent shed. About 80 people mill around, chatting and making last-minute phone calls to see where missing group members are. I am in a shed out the back of a small bank branch near the bustling Kimironko market in Kigali, Rwanda. The group I am here to visit, Tuzamurane Group B, are here for a disbursement meeting, where members will sign a group contract and receive loans amounting to...

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