Stories tagged with Africa

Aug 8, 2010 GH Ghana

Michelle Baker, KF 11 Ghana/Tanzania

The best part of being a Kiva fellow is meeting with the borrowers.  During my first two months as a Kiva fellow, I had the opportunity to meet with several borrowers to learn how they used their micro loans and to learn about their hopes for the future.  What I found most impressive about many of the borrowers was that although they had very little formal education, they were very business-minded and had big dreams of expanding their businesses.

I would like to share the stories of two business savvy Ghanaian women.    Since they are both...

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Aug 8, 2010 LR Liberia

Esther at a Kiva training

In 1996, Esther Borh was a LEAP borrower.  She used LEAP loans to finance her business selling goods in Redlight Market.  She served as the secretary of a group of four borrowers.  Recognizing her leadership skills, Esther’s loan officer suggested that she apply for an open loan officer position within LEAP.  Esther, who had until this point always been self-employed, says that initially, she was not interested in becoming someone’s employee.  She felt that she would make...

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Jul 7, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

Surfing the tattered pages of this blog, one is able to read about MFIs operating in saturated markets.

Sierra Leone as a whole is decidedly not such a market, but I sometimes suspect that certain segments have reached a point where you get a rapidly decreasing measure of development for your microfinance Leone. A quick survey of the Kiva portfolio of ARD and LAPO, SL reveals that a majority of clients operate businesses in the retail sector and many of these deal in the same products – Maggi cubes, plastic ware, soap, palmoil, smoked fish ect. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong...

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Jul 7, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

I’ve been living in Sierra Leone for the past couple months and have never in my conversations with Sierra Leoneans broached the subject of the fighting and civilian atrocities that shook the country during the late 90s.  I discussed the topic only when friends or colleagues here brought it up.  Was this the right approach, or should I have discussed the topic, heeding US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ advice that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”?

...

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Jul 7, 2010 UG Uganda

By Drew Loizeaux, KF11 Uganda

Conversations about microfinance are a near daily occurrence in the life of a Kiva Fellow. Sometimes they are with happy recipients of loans and other times they are with skeptics who question its value or impact. No matter what the topic or tone, I always learn something new and usually leave with an even stronger commitment to microfinance than before. In hopes to relay this experience, I want to share with you a recent sampling of some of the conversations I have found myself in.

Last week, I was in the field doing a borrower...

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Jul 7, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a dangerous place to drive.  But this isn’t for lack of communication on the part of the drivers.  The chaotic streets of Sierra Leone’s captial, Freetown, are constantly buzzing with honking taxi horns and motorbike horns.

I had always thought that honking was a universal language — kind of like love or music or football/soccer.  It turns out I was totally wrong.  There is so much to learn about honking and I’ve been thoroughly educated since arriving in...

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Jul 7, 2010

When FIFA announced in May 2004 that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup, not just one country, but an entire continent rejoiced. Not only for the football, but for the exposure on Africa and the hope that this tournament would bring big businesses and investments from abroad.

With over 4 billion USD used to improve infrastructure including roads, stadiums, and transport systems in the run up to the World Cup, hosting this tournament was certainly not cheap for South Africa. Ten stadiums were renovated, improved, or built entirely from...

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Jun 6, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna M. Holmes

KF11, Liberia

I am not a soccer, or football as it’s called, fan.  As a basketball fan, I have difficulty getting excited about a sport whose cumulative scores rarely exceed five.  And as an American, I struggle to grasp my head around a sport in which a game can finish and there is no clear winner or loser.  If there is no winner, then the game isn’t over… right?  Someone.  Must.  Lose. (Or is this just me?)  Despite all of this, I still revel in the excitement, camaraderie, trash talking, celebrating, and mid-week bar visits...

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Jun 6, 2010 GH Ghana

By Michelle Baker, KF 11, Ghana

“Azuma blow” refers to locally made soap commonly found in the rural areas of Ghana.   Apparently, the soap is named after the much beloved Ghanaian three-time featherweight boxing champion, Azuma Nelson.  Although every person I have asked has told me that “Azuma blow” is named after Azuma Nelson, the reasons for the soap being named after him have varied.   One person told me that it was because the soap looked like the blow of Azuma Nelson.  Another person told me that it was because the soap is very hard and heavy like Azuma Nelson’s fist blows...

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Jun 6, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna Holmes

KF11, Liberia

Two weeks ago I traveled to Gbarnga, Liberia, a town about 100 miles northeast of Monrovia.  Because the Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) is expecting an increase in the amount of loans that they are allowed to post on Kiva, more branches must be trained in how to do Kiva.  But before they can learn the how, I must explain the what.  This can be a somewhat difficult task when much of my audience is not familiar with the idea of e-commerce, let alone e-lending.  After showing the group of loan officers the Kiva website...

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