Oct 8, 2016 KH Cambodia

Coming into my fellowship, I was quite aware of some of the challenges of running microfinance operations. I knew that interest rates from certain microfinance institutions can be too high for borrowers to sustain repayments and that it takes a lot of manpower to disburse loans, perform loan assessments, and conduct verifications. But I only understood those factors on a theoretical level.

After being on the ground for almost a month now, I...

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Oct 7, 2016 BR Brazil

Here with Maria Aparecida, one of Kiva funded entrepreneurs in Brazil who benefits from lower interest rates
Most of us have heard at least once about Brazil: this enormously huge country, with crazy amazing beaches, great weather, great people, land of Gisele Bundchen, land of caipirinha and so on. For those who know a bit more about Brazil, perhaps you might know about Dilma Rousseff and its recent impeachment, the ongoing economic crisis that still hasn’t come to an end, the Olympics that were recently hosted in... Continue Reading >>

Oct 7, 2016 VN Vietnam

Kenya dominates mobile money, as there are now more than 26.7 million M-Pesa subscribers in Kenya alone, and these subscribers can now use M...

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Oct 6, 2016 VN Vietnam

Biodigesters meet the triple bottom line (“TBL”) of people, planet and profit, thereby resulting in maximum impact. They not only reduce energy costs,...

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Sep 29, 2016 GH Ghana

There are not many things I will get up at 4:30 a.m. for, but as it turns out, the chance to attend a Dagomba Outdooring ceremony is one of them. I had been invited by my housemate, a former Peace Corps volunteer who has lived in Ghana for seven years. A week earlier a new baby had been born to her host family, so when she invited me to spend a day in the village, I jumped at the chance. Since arriving in Ghana two weeks earlier to begin my Kiva fellowship I hadn’t seen much beyond the city of Tamale, and I was eager...

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Sep 23, 2016 DO Dominican Republic

As a Kiva Fellow in the Dominican Republic, I had the distinct pleasure of working with FUNDAPEC (the funding arm of Action for Education and Culture) and getting to know some of the students it supports. FUNDAPEC has been expanding access to education for nearly 50 years, lending to over 100,000 students since its founding in 1967.  Based on its long-standing positive reputation countrywide, FUNDAPEC has partnered with nearly every university in the DR, enabling students to attend school wherever they want, from agricultural La Vega to the hectic capital, Santo Domingo. After... Continue Reading >>

Sep 22, 2016 KG Kyrgyzstan

(YouTube link below)
Over the last four months, I have been serving as a Fellow with the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), a Kiva field partner in Kyrgyzstan. AUCA is an education loan field partner through which students in need of financial aid are supported with $1,100 USD loans by Kiva lenders. A 4.5 year grace period and 0% interest makes this loan product unique. A key piece of work during my fellowship has been creating a Kiva Community at AUCA. Due to the nature of... Continue Reading >>

Sep 20, 2016 HT Haiti

When the French colonizers settled in the Hispaniola Island, they called Haiti “La Perle des Antilles.” Once you spend enough time in the country, you will find that there is a good reason for calling it as such. For anyone who visits Haiti for the first time, they will be shocked by their first impressions while driving from the airport to the hotel: the narrow and overcrowded streets, the piles of garbage laying at every other corner, the “Blokis” (Haitian creole for "traffic jam") every 500 meters and the countless motorcycles just trying to move forward by invading the other side of the... Continue Reading >>

Sep 12, 2016 KE Kenya

Clean energy is a huge need for rural farmers in Kenya. Only 23% of Kenyans are connected to the grid, leaving the majority of the country without access to electricity. And when 85% of the population lives in rural areas, creating that access is not an easy task. Kiva’s partner, Juhudi Kilimo is well known in Kenya for providing agricultural loans to lift rural farmers out of poverty, (such as loans to purchase dairy cows, chickens, and farming tools).  Although that is still at the core of what they do, they are now offering clean energy loans to farmers.With these... Continue Reading >>

Sep 6, 2016 DO Dominican Republic

Sugarcane being transported for planting during the off season
After a couple of months in the capital of Santo Domingo, I headed to La Romana to visit a more rural branch office of Esperanza, one of Kiva’s partners in the Dominican Republic. For a little less than two weeks, I worked with the exceptionally welcoming La Romana staff to conduct a Borrower Verification (BV), an audit to ensure that Kiva partners administer your loans with the highest integrity.
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