CREDIT Microfinance Institution, Kiva’s oldest partner in Southeast Asia, and 7th oldest in its portfolio of partners celebrated its third year on Kiva May 3rd, 2009. As one of Kiva’s oldest partners, they have received over $3.1m in loans, making it the most invested MFI in Kiva’s portfolio of MFIs. Through the generosity of over 48,500 Kiva lenders, over 4150 of CREDIT’s clients have received loans ranging from $100 to $1200 helping them run businesses, fix homes, educate their children, supply daily needs, and ultimately enabling them to build a higher standard of living for themselves...Continue Reading >>
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What I’m writing to tell you about is M-PESA! Usually it doesn’t have an exclamation point after it, but I put one there because every time I think about it, I get very excited. M-PESA!
Long story short, M stands for mobile and Pesa is Kiswahili for money. It’s a service that Safaricom, the most popular cell phone service in Kenya, offers (Zain, its largest competitor offers a similar service). Touted as a “branchless banking service” M-PESA users can deposit and withdraw money on their phone by utilizing a network of agents stationed throughout the country – mostly...Continue Reading >>
What do you get when you cross a woman named Matilde Tamon and an organization like Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI)? A love song.
Matilde, who is a spry 75 years of age, has been a member of ASHI for 13 years. She loves to sing, and also loves what ASHI has done for her and the women in her community. Faced with this fortunate predicament, she did what any Filipino would do: she sang about it.
Some years ago Matilde composed a song of gratitude for ASHI, one which she usually delivers a capella. ASHI, a Grameen-style, non-profit microcredit institution that provides financial...Continue Reading >>
Fellow fellow Ashley and I had the honor of celebrating International Women’s Day with GHAPE borrowers on Sunday, March 8th, 2009. It was quite the event: women dressed in kabas, which are the traditional Cameroonian dresses with various patterns and colors, and marched down the main street in Bamenda. Women and men showed up in masses to the parade and many continued the party by drinking and eating with friends.
On a personal note, Women’s Day was one of my favorite memories of Cameroon. There were tons of women out at the restaurants and bars enjoying themselves...Continue Reading >>
On my previous blog post, 77 is never too old to start a business, Jan commented that she would like to see the result of our TLM Kiva T-shirt Bonanza which took place last week (she heard about it by following TLM on Twitter, to do the same go here).
Fortunately, this also gave me the perfect excuse to express my thanks to Jan and John for their unwavering support of Kiva and the Fellows programme. For those of you who don’t know of them, Jan and John are professional grandparents from Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. In between their time grandparenting, lending on Kiva,...Continue Reading >>
When any of us wants to borrow money from the bank, whether it is for a new car or a home, or even to start a business, we expect complete confidentiality from our bank. It’s a private matter between us and the bank staff.
Yet, when Kiva borrowers need a loan, we expect them to agree to have their information posted on the internet for all to see, along with a picture and sometimes even a video. Are we unnecessarily invading their privacy?
Clearly borrowers are not being forced. They have a choice. Indeed, I am told by the loan officers here at Ameen that some people often do...Continue Reading >>
At the beginning of April, Grace and I began an effort to decentralize the Kiva process at Pearl. This is the formal way of saying that we planned to visit the branches and carry out a training program that would make the Kiva process such that we would no longer be required to rip our skirts, miss spending time with our families and friends and spend 4-8 hours per day bumping along the roads of Uganda in taxis (the minibuses that Grace wrote about in a previous post).Continue Reading >>
by Kieran Ball, KF6 & 7
“Poor people are like bonsai trees”, analogises Professor Mohammad Yunus, “Even choosing the best seed of the tallest tree, if you plant it in a small flower pot it cannot grow big. Society is the flower pot, the system we have built that keeps poor people from growing. The seed of the person is as good as the tallest tree, but we must change the system to let each person grow to their potential.”
Whilst Professor Yunus failed to mention that bonsai trees look totally hip on most coffee tables, this is still my all...Continue Reading >>
I’ve just arrived at my fourth and final placement as a Kiva Fellow. Less than two weeks ago I was wrapping up work with ADEPHCA in Nicaragua and, following a week of whirlwind travel through southwestern Nicaragua, I arrived to start my first week with EDESA in Costa Rica. Based on initial impressions, ADEPHCA and EDESA have very little in common other than the fact they are both identified by somewhat confusing acronyms and are both quite small organizations in the world of microfinance. But that is where the similarities end. ADEPHCA is based out of Bluefields, Nicaragua: a town of...Continue Reading >>
As if volleyball and soccer were not challenging enough, imagine playing these sports in long skirts, dress shoes and traditional hats that barely stay on your head in the slightest wind. I have been to and played in sports tournaments my entire life, but until last week I had never experienced a tournament like this!
As a Kiva Fellow working with the Microfinance Institution (MFI), Manuela Ramos, I have the privilege of attending not only community bank meetings, where groups of women come together to take out small loans, but also community events that are meant to empower women...Continue Reading >>