It is a bit of a strange site to see German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Brazilian flags hanging from balconies and waving from car antennas all over Lebanon. But this is the excitement that is brewing in Lebanon as it prepares for the 2010 World Cup. Café owners all over Beirut are investing in bigger, better televisions and stocking up on water pipe tobacco and food goods that will surely be demanded by their...Continue Reading >>
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What have I learned about the nonprofit world? It’s complicated. Not the hard to solve kind but rather the kind that consumes a half-century before a dent is made.
The above scene has been painted many times before. And those looking to help often become discouraged when data starts pouring in. However, each small action collectively creates that dent a half-century later. And that dent is the worst case scenario implying plenty of upside potential to accomplish more.
As one contributor to the dent, microfinance assists those...Continue Reading >>
Strong ties to local communities not only allow microfinance institutions to build enduring relationships with borrowers, but also to invest in socially-driven community projects. In many cases, the non-financial services an organization provides can be as valuable as the microcredit it offers. Kiva’s Lebanon partner, Al Majmoua, is an excellent example of how the resources and commitment of a microfinance institution can positively impact and empower an extremely important segment of the population—young people or “il shabab” in Arabic.
Al Majmoua was originally started by Save the...Continue Reading >>
Generally when I escape to the Beirut Corniche to go running, I try to avoid making contact with the young lovers sharing a romantic moment in their parked cars. However, on this particular day I could not help but get involved as I saw a brawny man repeatedly and violently beating the crying veiled woman sitting in his car. She tried to get out. He locked the door. She was hunched next to the window trembling in fear pleading him to stop. He told her to shut up.
...Continue Reading >>
As I strolled casually down this major city street I savored the sweet smells of spices as I walked by small grocery shops, admired the dangling gold earrings and embroidered “saris” of women giggling as they strutted down the sidewalk, and edged closer than I normally would to passersby hoping to catch a few phrases in my mother tongue of Bengali. This would seem like a typical day for a Kiva Fellow cruising the crowded streets of Kolkata...Continue Reading >>
The portrayal of Arab women in the media often leads to the common perception of Middle Eastern women as socially and professionally restricted, and often considered to be second-class citizens. In fact my first-hand experience has proven these stereotypes to be true on several occasions. However, when discussing the elusive “Middle East” region, it is important to acknowledge the varying levels of women’s rights and engagement across...Continue Reading >>
By Sheethal Shobowale, KF10, Bolivia
I met some Dutch Kiva lenders during a trip to Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca in Bolivia who don’t like to loan to groups on Kiva because
Hello! My name is Polai and I am the new Kiva Fellow at field partner AMK. I arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia a little over a week ago. As I start my second week here, I wanted to reflect on my experience so far being Kiva’s first Khmer speaking fellow and a Cambodian-American living here. Here are some thoughts:
- Me as an Asian-American vs. a Cambodian-Khmer-speaking-American. In one instance, I went apartment hunting with my boyfriend (tall white American) here and at one of the apartments when we were introduced to the female apartment manager, the woman glossed...Continue Reading >>
Karen Buxton, KF10, Liberia
The Liberians United for Haiti Relief Concert took place last weekend at one of Monrovia’s large outdoor stadiums. “Please give to Haiti! We know what it is like to have nothing, so let us give to a country that has just been devastated,” cried the Master of Ceremonies. The boisterous crowd raised their hands and cheered in approval.
Several thousand...Continue Reading >>
By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan
The photos on borrower profiles provide a key connection between Kiva lenders and the borrowers they fund, but lending based on snapshots has drawbacks. A photo can convey a lot about a borrower, a culture, a business or a life and create an emotional reaction for the viewer. Yet the very power of a picture can prevent lenders from learning the full story of a borrower and their country.
Azerbaijan’s borrower photos often feature dour men in tweed coats peering out unsmiling from behind bushy mustaches. They stand near a few head of...Continue Reading >>