Jan 11, 2014 GO Global Update

What a journey it has been. On Aug 24 I flew to SF with such anticipation and determination for a life changing experience. I wasn’t disappointed. SF was a week of total emersion in Kiva. It was inspiring to be among such an amazing group of younger people with a passion for alleviating poverty in the world. The average age of a Kiva Fellow at that point was 29. With youth and limited funds they couch surfed, stayed in hostels, mooched off of friends. My hotel was well below the standard Kathleen and I have become accustomed to. I was determined to immerse myself in the...

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Jan 10, 2014 CO Colombia

I sat still listening to Antonio.  His words carefully descended his hand-written business plan. His dreams on paper.  A sip from sugarcane sweetened, hand-squeezed limonada.  The cool stainless steel cup set next to a dormant orchid, one of the countless pots lining the rim of Antonio's flowering patio.  I shifted my weight on the make-shift hardwood bench to get a better view of the family dog frozen in a sun-soaked, belly-rub slumber. On turning the final page, I applauded Antonio with my co-workers.  The scarecrow straw hat shading this... Continue Reading >>


Jan 8, 2014 TZ Tanzania

As I finish my Kiva fellowship in Tanzania, I have mixed feelings.  I am excited to get back to New York with my friends and family but sad to leave the new friends and family I made in Tanzania.  I want to share some of my favorite memories / experiences.  I feel lucky to have had this opportunity to be a Kiva Fellow at Tujijenge and see microfinance in the field.  Below are some of my favorite memories from my Fellowship at Tujijenge Tanzania. 1) Meeting Borrowers One of the reasons I left my job and became a Kiva Fellow was to see microfinance in... Continue Reading >>


Jan 8, 2014 US United States

E. 1st St. Bridge, Los Angeles
Kiva Zip is an innovative pilot program created by Kiva that uses mobile and electronic payment technology to enable direct, 0% interest loans to financially excluded and socially impactful entrepreneurs.  The loans are crowd-funded on Kiva Zip’s website, where anyone with an Internet connection can lend as little as $5 to a borrower of their choice.   One of the principal aims of the program is to expand access to capital.  Everyday,... Continue Reading >>


Jan 7, 2014 ID Indonesia

Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE FIVE This was probably the most anticipated day of my Kiva journey - a chance to go on a field trip with Father Charlie (See Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE ONE for info on Fr. Charlie). One of the newer initiatives that Father Charlie is working on is the transformation of a vast area of useless swampland into fertile farmland.
First site visit. Photo credit: Yungkit
We were told that to get to this area, we would have a bit of a bumpy ride. That was an... Continue Reading >>


Jan 3, 2014 SN Senegal

First and foremost, happy New Year 2014! Wishing you all a wonderful and fulfilling year!! Quite a memorable New Year’s Eve in Dakar, watching impromptu fireworks from the top floor of my residence…   I’ve been meaning to post this dance video for quite some time now. November 2013 was the month I re-discovered Baaba Maal (I was at 2 of his concerts in Dakar!). His name may resonate with some. For world music fans, especially Senegalese traditional music and the sabar dance, Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal are certainly the most popular.   I learnt about the first concert,... Continue Reading >>


Jan 2, 2014 CO Colombia

 
Christmas away from home is bittersweet. As much as I enjoy experiencing new holiday traditions in a foreign country (I was pleased to note that Colombia has many more Christmas lights and fewer jingles), I found myself missing home for the first time as a Kiva Fellow. So, naturally, my immediate reaction was to travel. Big festival in the “Salsa Capital of the World”? Yes, please. And so on Christmas Eve, I hopped on an 11-hour bus ride to Cali.  Cali is the third largest city in Colombia; it is located in the southwestern region of the country... Continue Reading >>


Dec 30, 2013 IN India

BJS is a brand new partner to Kiva, posting their first loan in October of this year, but they have been operating since 2006. BJS believes that providing loans to the underserved is critical, and leads to self-sufficiency, but supplementing with education, health/hygiene training and skill development ensures economic stability. As the organization grows, so do their social services, which they started offering a few years ago. They have arranged everything from eye exam camps and cancer screenings to financial literacy training and jute handicraft sessions for their clients. They even set... Continue Reading >>


Dec 28, 2013 US United States

On Tuesday, I attended the first ever Giving Tuesday 'Jamathon' organized by Full Circle Fund. Kiva was one of seven Bay Area non-profits selected for the competition, and our team consisted of my manager Justin Renfro, four members of Full Circle Fund who have been designated as 'rising leaders', and me. We met a couple of times earlier in the week to establish Kiva Zip's main 'pain-point', expanding our lender base. On the night of the Jamathon, we were joined by two additional...

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Dec 27, 2013 KG Kyrgyzstan

I was in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for just under two weeks, meeting students who have received 0% interest Kiva loans through Kiva partner AUCA. AUCA is one of the top Universities in Kyrgyzstan, and all the student's I've met are thrilled to be a part of this unique American-style University. AUCA attracts students from all over Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and from all different backgrounds.   
 
I met Almaz, who is an AUCA student on a full scholarship, so he doesn't have a Kiva loan. Almaz offered to take me...
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