Jan 23, 2009 BJ Benin

Dedokpo Moise, the loan officer at Alide- Dedokpo, and I drove into the neighborhood of Aglas Hlazountas. In the mid-afternoon, the local market was pretty quiet, but we needed to scarf up some Kiva clients to interview, so Moise alerted the leader of the group, the woman selling charcoal. Evidently the word spread fast, because soon the Kiva women were upon us, joined by their entire group. Moise explained that the entire group consisted of 50 women who all shared the collatéral of the loan. Only a few of the 50 women were Kiva.  They came ready to see us with baskets of...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 22, 2009 MX Mexico

The sale of used clothing is one of the top micro-businesses in northern Mexico. The transport of used items across the US/Mexico border keeps some families fed and clothed.

There are those who dabble in the market and may have just a few items. The items might be for sale in front of their house on a clothesline or a blanket on the ground. The individual may have another business going on- a store, food sales or the like. Their items come from a range of sources- maybe their children outgrew it, maybe they need the cash more than the item, maybe they saw a...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 21, 2009 SV El Salvador

My name is Sam Baker, and for the next several months I will be working with Kiva’s field partner Apoyo Integral in El Salvador. Having only been in-country for about a week and recently finished with an orientation of Integral’s microfinancial services, I thought I would take the time to highlight an especially unique feature of Apoyo Integral’s loan offerings in El Salvador: technical assistance in home building. Kiva community feedback coupled with longer fundraising times for home improvement and construction projects on the site suggests a slight hesitation...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 20, 2009 PH Philippines

Sipping coffee in the lobby of the Metro Centre Hotel, I waited patiently to be greeted by my new co-workers from Community Economic Ventures (CEV) here in Tagbilaran.  I assumed I would be easy to spot – lone white guy with luggage – but some 20 minutes past our designated meeting time I started to get worried.  As it turns out, they had been doing some worrying of their own while they waited in the opposite lobby just out of sight.  We may have started off with a stumble, but otherwise things here are off to a running start.

CEV is headquartered here in Tagbilaran City...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 20, 2009 UG Uganda

This is a blog from Grace Natoolo, the Kiva Coordinator at PEARL Microfinance, as part of an occasional series on reflections from the field. Grace worked most recently with KF6 Bill Brick to continue to grow PEARL’s partnership with Kiva:


Working as a Kiva coordinator for a Microfinance Institution is an interesting and fulfilling obligation especially for one that has the interest and capacity to do so. In most cases we get the chance to do what we are supposed to do, interact with clients, take photos, write stories, and make these...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 14, 2009 DO Dominican Republic

Sweet December

My Dominican co-workers wore sweaters to work when temperature fell below 70 degrees in December. “Winter is cold here,” friends and employees told me. While I stuck to my t-shirts in the day, I did cut short my nightly unheated showers.

Mujeres Necesitades outside the Hato Mayor office: these bank members finished a loan in December and took out another, expecting that December would be a better month for sales. Numerous community banks...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 12, 2009 KE Kenya

“Idhi tich?” Nelson, my compound’s askari (guard), asked as I made my way to the gate. “Adhi tich!” I replied with complete enthusiasm, slightly mangling the Dholuo phrase, but hoping that maybe, just maybe, today I had said it well enough to be understood.

With an encouraging, patient smile, Nelson had me repeat the phrase that explained I was going to work until it was intelligible to him, if not anyone else who might have to suffer the misfortune of hearing my rather hopeless, though enthusiastic, attempts to speak Dholuo.

... Continue Reading >>

Jan 11, 2009 HN Honduras

Day in and day out I swerve through Honduran shanty towns, isolated hovels, over exquisite landscapes and into ditches. I can’t open my eyes wide enough, and at the end of everyday I have more questions than the day before. The questions are complex and every one leads me down a rabbit hole. Its starts like this: To begin with, how do we really measure poverty here in Honduras? And once I identify the poor, I wonder, does Prisma reach the poorest of the poor? If not, is it enough that they reach the middle poor, and by virtue of growing small business opportunity, they grow opportunities...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 10, 2009 TZ Tanzania

My life has turned into a bunch of “lasts.”  My last time seeing friends I have made here, my last time gathering around the table with what has become my family, my last time going to my favorite market where they know me by name, my last time swimming in the warm and oh-so-blue Indian Ocean, my last time laughing with others about my attempt to speak and understand kiswahili, my last time holding on for dear life on a daladala (city bus), my last time climbing those 3 flights of stairs to the whitewashed office that is SELFINA (the partner Mico-Finance...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 7, 2009 TG Togo

Three years ago, the streets I drive on today in downtown Lomé were ablaze with burning tires and barricades, as civilians protested the contested results of the presidential election. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the longest ruling leader in Africa (second in the world only to Fidel Castro) had died on February 5, 2005. Two months later, an election pronounced his son, Faure Gnassingbé, the winner, defeating an opposition coalition of six parties.

Continue Reading >>