Mar 15, 2015 WS Samoa

As I approach Faleula, one of the many villages along the road that circles Samoa’s Upolu Island, I am excited and a little nervous. I am about to meet a Kiva borrower for the first time! I wonder what she will be like; will she be happy to meet me and talk about her business or will she see me as an interruption or even an intrusion. When I arrive at Mile’s general store, she greets me with a warm smile and all my reservations fade away immediately.
Mile in her store
Mile tells me that she has experienced big... Continue Reading >>


Mar 12, 2015 UG Uganda

I traveled north, away from Kampala, towards a small town called Luwero.   After the wall to wall congestion of the city, it was a relief to finally have an open stretch of road with green trees and grassy fields to either side.   I was looking forward to meeting Haruna, a man who had borrowed from BRAC Uganda in the fall of 2014 to revive his sagging poultry business.    Six months later, my task was to see how Haruna and his chickens were faring.
Haruna and his chicken house
 ... Continue Reading >>


Mar 8, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

What better time to showcase the amazing endurance and entrepreneurial spirit of Zimbabwean women than on International Women’s Day?
 
I was fortunate enough to sit down with two groups of women, The Mercedes Club Group and The Divine Touch Group, in Mutare, Zimbabwe. They discussed how the changing Zimbabwean economy has had an indirect impact on their families lives and their decision to start a business.  A few years ago the Zimbabwean economy took a turn for the worse, leaving many people without formal employment and a steady pay check....
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Mar 6, 2015 TJ Tajikistan

I am sitting in a Lada 1500, zooming down a pothole-filled tarmac road in the middle of nowhere, Tajikistan. This is a 2004 Russian-made car, which at its time of production had a few enhancements that included a clock and improved sound-proofing. What it lacked were airbags, seat belts and doors that did not feel like they could fall off anytime. We were going 90 miles an hour, swerving around potholes, in a decade-old Russian car that we would probably not want the insurance company to know about. This is also known as the process of borrower-verification, where we head out into the field... Continue Reading >>


Mar 4, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

We’d left at 6.30 in the morning, and travelled several hours through the district of Guruve, in Northern Zimbabwe, along increasingly potholed, flooded and narrow ‘roads’. Our aim was to visit Melter, one of the young women who have taken a Kiva loan through the local partner here in Zimbabwe, The Campaign for Female Education (Camfed). We’d come to find out how things were going with her poultry raising business. Given the journey, we were at first slightly concerned to find she wasn’t at home: like the other Camfed ‘learner guides’ who receive Kiva loans, Melter is very active in the... Continue Reading >>


Mar 2, 2015 KE Kenya

For three days in February, I visited Kiva borrowers in Nyanza Province near Lake Victoria in the southwest of Kenya. The visits took me to the city of Kisii and the nearby towns of Nyamira and Kenyenya via countless pickup truck, boda-boda, and matatu rides. Although it was invaluable to see a side of Kenya other than my base of Nairobi, the remoteness of the region gave me a new appreciation for the hard work that Kiva partners put in to service our clients.
A typical farm road in Kisii County
Nyanza Province... Continue Reading >>


Feb 27, 2015 IN India

Motbung branch staff along with the Kiva Coordinator and us, the Kiva Fellows!
Last Tuesday, I got the chance to attend a loan disbursement at one of WSDS’s branch offices in Motbung, about 30 minutes from Manipur’s capital city of Imphal. A loan disbursement is exactly what is sounds like, handing out cash to groups of WSDS clients who have applied for a loan, gone through training, and been approved to begin a new cycle. It may sound boring (when is a visit to the bank ever not boring?), but I loved every minute of... Continue Reading >>


Feb 24, 2015 EC Ecuador

Are guinea pigs better served as pets or meals?  This is one question I never thought I would have the opportunity to answer.   It was a sunny Tuesday here in Ecuador and the loan officers and I were headed to go meet with a Kiva borrower to discuss how her business of raising chickens was doing.  Along the way, my stomach began to growl.  I expressed to the loan officers that I was hungry and they asked me what I wanted to eat.  I told them that I wanted to try more of the local food in Ecuador.  They immediately smiled and said had the same idea - cuy.  ... Continue Reading >>


Feb 16, 2015 KG Kyrgyzstan

It is a delight to meet Munara. She is 60 years old, chatty and bubbly, ever ready to pose for photos and talk about her family and farm. Her personality seems to rub off on her family, both her sons, Tolon and Bakyt, also have warm personalities. They ask many questions about Kiva and the Internet. Her husband, Abakir, is more quiet, but is still very eager to put on his best fur hat to match the beautiful scarf that his wife has put on for the photo below. They live in a small one-bedroom house in a village in Kyrgyzstan. The kitchen is built as a part of the living room. There’s a... Continue Reading >>


Feb 12, 2015 EC Ecuador

Danni cooking and preparing for her day's work
After venturing through hours of the greenest landscape over several hills, we finally made it to Borbon, a small city in Northern Ecuador.  Our mission was to find Danni - a Kiva borrower.  However, it wasn't as simple as one may think.  First, we had to climb down a hill into an area of several homes.  The loan officers forgot which direction her house was, so we asked a group of women where Danni was.  After... Continue Reading >>


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