Mar 10, 2016 RW Rwanda

The borrowers who I find most inspirational are the ones who go the extra mile to innovate in the hope of achieving a more sustainable income for themselves and their families. However, this commitment usually requires more up front capital than a Rwandan household has available. That is where Kiva’s field partner Urwego Opportunity Bank comes into play, as it seeks out the innovative women of Rwanda. I had the pleasure of meeting two of their long terms clients – Laetitia and Delianne. Laetitia invested in a cassava leaf grinder
...
Continue Reading >>


Mar 4, 2016 GH Ghana

For those of you who have never had Ghanian cuisine (and I'm sure there are many of you) there are three main things you should know about Ghanian cuisine:
  • It is mostly starch (rice/plantain/cassava/maize/yam etc)
  • The portions are large enough to feed a small army
  • I don’t love it
  • The main component of Ghanaian dishes is the starch, and there are not many vegetables.  Starch usually makes up more than 70% of the meal and often is the name of the dish, even though there are other components.  The starch is either made of rice,... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 29, 2016 PK Pakistan

    Rizwana Tabbasum with her products displayed
    Yesterday, during visiting last client of Kiva’s partner, ‘Kashf foundation’ for Borrower Verification Process.  I visited an other Kiva client home, Rizwana Tabasum. Though she was not included in my BV list, I felt fortunate to have a meeting & greeting with this simple lady. After walking from a very congested street of Haripur village, Pakistan, all of my tirdness got vanished once I have seen her excellent work.  The talented lady is making home décors... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 29, 2016 PA Panama

    This week I had the privilege of visiting many Kiva borrowers in the Chiriquí province of Panama. It is a rich area made up of beautiful coast, steep mountains, plentiful farmland, and abundant rainbows.
    A giant rainbow in the skies over Chiriquí, Panama
    In Panama, Kiva loans are disbursed through a local partner organization (named EDESA) to local credit unions, which in turn give loans to their members. In Spanish, these credit unions are called “empresas de crédito," or "ECs" for short.... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 22, 2016 GH Ghana

    Last week I met the ladies of Sorlimor Group in Chorkor, an overpopulated fishing area in Greater Accra.  After numerous tro tros (three in two hours!) the loan officer and I finally arrived at the meeting spot (for more information on tro tros; what they are and what it is like riding them, see Kadri’s blog entry here). At the moment, I am working with ID Ghana (a Microfinance institution that partners with Kiva) who mainly disburse group loans in Accra.  Issuing a loan in a group encourages the borrowers to pay back their loan through light peer pressure - no one wants to let... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 19, 2016 MZ Mozambique

    I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in the wonderful world of Maputo, Mozambique.  Forgetting my old routine and relearning the spicy, Mozambican way of things. 

    Women harvest a piri piri pepper field outside of Maputo
    I was on my first placement in Brazil when I found out I would be going to Mozambique. I began to eagerly dream about my future life in Africa, a new continent for me. My initial worries were practical: Would they understand my Brazilian Portuguese accent? What kind... Continue Reading >>


    Feb 16, 2016 SN Senegal

    A Senegalese man – early twenties, I’d guess – has been running silently beside me for the last three miles as the sun pounds down on us.  He’s wearing a long-sleeved jacket and a drawstring backpack and given that I sweat through my tank top miles ago, I am in awe. As we near the end of the race it becomes apparent that I might place so he begins clearing a path for me to accelerate through the runners ahead of us. I am exhausted but with his encouragement I pick up my pace.  Just before the final turn he congratulates me...
    Continue Reading >>


    Jan 24, 2016 GO Global Update

    In the movie Taken Liam Neeson says, “I don’t have money.  But what I do have is a set of very particular skills that makes me a nightmare for someone like you.”  Kiva is about altruism, not vengeance, but our Fellows are just as skilled (in a non-violent way) as any ex-spy.   Many people assume that all foreign travel is basically a beach vacation, and anyone could do it if they just had the time or money.  One friend asked me, "Apart from speaking Spanish, what skills do you have?"  This got me curious about what special skills my fellow Fellows have, so I... Continue Reading >>


    Dec 29, 2015 CN China

    Microcred China’s main office is in the Nanchong City Hall area. This is the street view in front of the office.
    Happy Holidays! This is the most grateful season in the year and I would like to share how grateful I am while working with our first Field Partner in China. From a commercial banker’s point of view, I was very impressed by Microcred China because they carry solid banking standards into microfinance practices. In other words, they bank for good and really make a difference. Moreover, Microcred China is a... Continue Reading >>


    Dec 22, 2015 GO Global Update

    Queens Courage on display at the sneak preview of Chris's fancy new distillery. Proof + Gauge at the Astoria Distilling Company will be open to the public in January 2016.
    When I called former Kiva Zip borrower Chris Murillo earlier this week, he was taking off his construction respirator as he answered the phone. I could hear things being built in the background, the final touches on what he proudly told me will “be the first official craft distillery in Queens” come January 2016.   Chris is the founder and... Continue Reading >>


    Pages