Stories tagged with All

Apr 4, 2009 NI Nicaragua

I recently picked up The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Director for the Study of African Economics at Oxford University and former director of Development Research at the World Bank. It has been a grim and simultaneously enlightening book, dubbed as a must-read by the New York Times and set to become a classic according to the Economist.

In a nutshell, The Bottom Billion states that our perception of development for the last forty years has...

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Apr 4, 2009 ID Indonesia

West Timor is the country equivalent of Robert Downey Senior. The usual reaction is “West Timor? I didn’t know there was a West Timor. But I’ve heard of East Timor so I suppose it makes sense”.

And indeed it does make sense, especially if you live here. West Timor, formerly a Dutch colony until it was un-clogged in 1945, is on an island towards the eastern side of Indonesia (Timur conveniently means “east” in Indonesian) but, it should be stressed, not the most easterly island as that is Papua and or West Papua (to clarify please see www.google....

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Apr 4, 2009

It’s taken me some time to “get my feet on the ground” microfinance wise. So many distractions upon arriving in a new country, community, culture, family–not to mention learning my way around ASDIR, Kiva’s partner bank.  After almost 6 weeks here, this is my first post that focuses on microcredit.

I have visited almost 50 Kiva borrowers since arriving here, but these two stand out for me as exemplifying the role that “having access to credit”  can play in the lives of the hardworking and resourceful poor.

The first, is an interview...

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Mar 3, 2009
The first quarter of 2009 has seen many amazing stories from Kiva Fellows in the field. Let’s take a look back at some of the remarkable blog posts you may have missed! Top 5 most viewed blog entries:

With almost 6000 views, Kieran Ball takes the internet community by storm with his post featuring a phenomenal video tracking a loan from London to Cambodia. You can also view the translated Spanish and French versions of the video here: Un Punado de Dolares/ Une Poignee de Dollars.

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Mar 3, 2009 SN Senegal

Imagine that you’re a young West African woman.  You live in a small village, and you had to quit school at a young age to help your parents take care of your brothers and sisters, so employment prospects are slim.

Your grandmother approaches you with a job offer.  She tells you that, with the career that she has in mind, you could make up to $200 a day, along with gifts of palm oil, yams, and chickens.  You would be carrying on a family tradition, a religious tradition, and a cultural tradition, and the people in your town would respect you and your work.

Sounds good,...

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Mar 3, 2009

After about 6 weeks being out in the field and working with my MFI, I sent the following email to the 7th class kiva fellows:

I have a burning question I’d like to ask all of you: now that you’ve been working with your respective mfi’s for some time now, what do you think about microfinance (in general)? Any good surprises? Any bad surprises?

What followed was a long, fascinating discussion that we thought would be a good idea to publish here. I’ve posted the replies as comments to this post. Hope you enjoy!

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Mar 3, 2009 VN Vietnam

(cont’d from Kiva Fellows IN the field – Part 1)

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Mar 3, 2009 KE Kenya

“Be late, but get there”

This sticker, prominently displayed on the dashboard of the Mombasa bus, did not inspire much confidence that we would reach our destination in a timely manner, but it at least reassured my safety a bit more than another common sticker – “drive it like you stole it.”

Occasional Frequent maniacal driving aside, you are also most likely already aware of the fact that things in East Africa rarely operate in a way that someone from the United States (my home country) might call prompt....

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Mar 3, 2009 PE Peru

As a Kiva Fellow volunteering for a Microfinance Institution (MFI) in Puno, Peru, one of my responsibilities is to interview women entrepreneurs who have received loans from the MFI, Manuela Ramos, and Kiva.  During the interview the goal is to obtain their photos, learn how the woman used the loan, and gather more information about her life – her hopes, dreams and hardships.  With this information I can, and other fellows and MFI employees can, provide a follow up to the people who have made loans to these...

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Mar 3, 2009 GT Guatemala

Warning: this post has absolutely nothing to do with microfinace. Just gives you a glimpse into what is involved with taking a hot shower here in Nimasac, Guatemala.

When I was first accepted as a Kiva Fellow,  I was asked if I had any “special” requirements. My response was that I wanted to be relatively safe and be able to take a hot shower.

Taking a hot shower is no simple matter in Guatemala. First of all, most homes do not have running water. (this includes the family that I am living with). So, in that situation, here is how you get to take a hot shower....

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