Stories tagged with blogsherpa

Oct 10, 2012 BF Burkina Faso

Diana Biggs | KF 18 | Burkina Faso

I’d like to think the title of this post sums up my experience in Burkina Faso – perhaps even both professional and personally. I’ll focus on the former here and try to take you through my journey.

Expectations: As a Kiva Fellow, it’s likely you’re a Type A (if on the quirky end), dedicated, well-traveled, highly educated young person, perhaps an experienced professional looking to Pivot (see Patrick’s post for more on that) or mid-studies in a Masters program. Whilst...

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Oct 10, 2012 TG Togo

During my first week working with WAGES, one of Kiva’s partner organizations in Lome, Togo, I was surprised by how the organization’s head office has the same modern conveniences and equipment as my previous office United States: air-conditioning, computers with internet access, printers, scanners, and copiers. When I glance over at my colleagues’ computer monitors they are hard at work (with the exception of the occasional facebook update.)

However, this is only the case at the head office. Internet...

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Oct 10, 2012 CR Costa Rica

Costa Rica so far has been nothing short of breathtaking. Those of you who’ve been here will remember its lush green landscapes, abundant tropical fruit, sunny 25oC days that constitute its ‘winter,’ magnificent animals and birds that we in Canada only know from pictures, and a sense of environmental protection that seems to be ingrained in the nation’s conscience.

waterfall in Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja

You may...

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Oct 10, 2012 GT Guatemala

Isn’t she lovely! The view of Sololá, Guatemala

We’re only two weeks into dating and she’s already shown me enough to get my heart racing and palms sweating in anticipation. She’s humble and traditional, yet her raw beauty seduces me at every curve.

Working with a new and ambitious field partner has given me the opportunity to see a few different sides to her already. I’ve visited eleven borrowers in two distinct...

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Oct 10, 2012 GO Global Update

I recently ran a quick survey of my fellow Fellows to find out what we were all doing at the age of 17. We generally consider ourselves a pretty ambitious, well-travelled, well-read bunch; these days, at least. Responses I got spanned the following:

‘I was sneaking into bars in Costa Rica, where I was studying abroad. Upon my return, I was plotting my next escape from my boring hometown.’
‘Slowly slowly subbing all the liquor in my parents’ cabinet for water’
‘I was at Miss Porter’s School for Girls, sneaking off in...

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Sep 9, 2012 NI Nicaragua

He is named Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum and is on the Forbes 40 under 40 list.
It is easy to become impressed, maybe intimidated by a person that holds such accolades. But Premal Shah, president of Kiva, is the last person to become intimidated by. However, impressed? Yes, highly. And he was coming my way to Nicaragua.

Premal Shah’s lender page on Kiva. Note that he made over 300 loans.

The only time I...

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Sep 9, 2012

The words of Arcade Fire’s song Lenin, “cause the money’s all been spent” took on a new meaning as I sat writing this blog. Savings has been on my mind a lot over the past two months of my fellowship — most prominently, in the context of the field and the role that microfinance plays in both teaching and facilitating savings for the poor.

This topic brings a lot of difficult questions: With such extremely small amounts of money available, how does one manage to put anything aside? And yet, without this, what happens when you child falls ill with malaria? How does one get...

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Sep 9, 2012 ZA South Africa

In January of this year, a fatal stampede occurred at the University of Johannesburg while students and parents waited at the University’s gates, anxious to secure one of several hundred last-chance places. The stampede left one dead and several injured, and is a tragedy emblematic of the societal difficulties engendered by lack of access to education in South Africa. Last year, About 85,000 students had applied for the roughly 11,000 seats available at the University of Johannesburg; 20,000 more than the previous year. While access to education is tough to come by, there are organisations...

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Sep 9, 2012 KE Kenya

Varick Schwartz | KF18 | Kenya

Kiva profile photo from mobile app

Juhudi loan officer using mobile app to capture Kiva profile info


When I applied to the Kiva Fellows program, I knew I’d be spending some time ‘in...

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Aug 8, 2012 KE Kenya

My Fellowship workplan has been focused a little more on the technical side of things, with more application programming and appraisal analysis than borrower verifications. From such projects, and also because I come from a banking, lending and risk management background, it seems fitting to at least put forth some observations regarding the use of credit scores across the Kenya micro landscape. However, the way we approach credit scoring in the USA is almost opposite from current practices here, where aggregated financial data at the individual level could still be years away....

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