One of the highlights of the Kiva Fellowship is the opportunity to live somewhere far from home and learn about a new culture. I've met dozens of Kiva Zip trustees and borrowers during my three months in Kenya and unexpectedly forged a strong connection with one in particular. I first met Joseph* when he visited the Kiva office for a trustee interview. Joseph has an extensive background of community development and now continues his work as a pastor in Kenya, providing financial and educational services to his community. As a civic leader, he is a typical trustee that puts a great amount...Continue Reading >>
If you ask a group of people what they consider to be the most impressive part about the Middle East, they’ll likely mention something regarding its historical sites or rich cultural diversity. While both factors are obviously worthy of mention, what continues to inspire me about this region is something far more valuable: its women. This might come as a surprise to some, given that the widespread stereotype of the Middle Eastern woman often renders a submissive, taciturn figure consistently dominated by her male counterpart and - even worse - uninterested in improving... Continue Reading >>
Ferguson, the ‘F’ word that’s guaranteed to divide a room into defensive ideological camps along the lines of who was right, who was wrong, and how to make it better. Thanks to the barrage of media coverage since the shooting of teen Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, the blinding national spotlight has caused St. Louis to acknowledge the ugly skeleton in our closet: racism is alive and well. The past 109 days of waiting and wondering built a powder keg of massive proportions. Stuffed full of racial tension, palpable fear, and citywide apprehension, the grand jury... Continue Reading >>
This holiday season, let’s put our dollars where we want them- in the hands of the people building and shaping our communities. Kiva Zip is asking YOU this week; in addition to supporting small businesses by “Shopping Small” on Saturday November 29th- we urge you to invest BIG. Invest your dollars in entrepreneurs all over the country funding loans through Kiva Zip. What’s the benefit to investing? For starters, you get your money back. I don’t think that purse is going to have that... Continue Reading >>
After two months of my fellowship at the Proximity Design, now it’s time to find out how microfinance is used in practice. I went together with the Kiva HQ staff to visit Tha Pyay Kan village in Pyapon Distric which is about 75 miles south of Yangon and serves as a center for collecting rice from the surrounding agricultural areas. It took us three hours by car and another hour by boat to reach the village.
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If you’re thinking about becoming a Kiva Fellow, there are a few invaluable skills you should develop prior to entering the field. This list has been tested and compiled based on multiple fellows’ experiences. If you can nail all five of these skills, you are on your way to becoming an excellent fellow. You’ll do Kiva proud. 1. The ability to shower in a bucket. The skill: It’s very likely that at some point during your fellowship, water for a shower will be unavailable. Sometimes for days. Sometime for weeks. To avoid completely... Continue Reading >>
Mary is 38 years old and mother to a 7 year old child.
In just over 2 years she has gone from selling vegetables at the roadside to being the proud owner of a hair salon with 2 employees, and has plans to open another shop in the near future.
“I always wanted a hairdressing salon. At first, whilst still selling vegetables, I diversified...Continue Reading >>
We've all heard this many a time and every time the unexpected occurs, it catches us by surprise. We feel like we've lost a bit of control (if only for a short moment) because we were so meticulous about our planning and we wonder how we could of found ourselves in such a situation. This is especially true when you're on the road; sometimes the unexpected can become a pleasant surprise, where you get lost in a city, but are still able to maintain a sense of calm, as you... Continue Reading >>
I’ve been on quite a few roadtrips in my life, but this past month in Timor-Leste I embarked on the ultimate roadtripping adventure, complete with dusty dirt roads, winding seaside cliffs, steep rocky mountains, new friends picked up along the way, overnights in obscure places, a five-song Bob Marley playlist, and many, many unexpected road blocks. The route was designed with one mission in mind: to meet ten Kiva borrowers and verify that their information was accurate on the Kiva website (and to chat and hear about how the loan has helped their business!). The task sounded easy enough. Since... Continue Reading >>