Stories tagged with Africa

Jun 6, 2010 TZ Tanzania

By Sara Strawczynski, Tanzania

Yesterday I spent about 12 hours on hot, crowded and bumpy buses in Dar Es Salaam.   At least half of that time was spent idling in traffic jams, an inevitable experience whenever one travels to the far-flung corners of this sprawling city. I was trying to reach a couple of Tujijenge Tanzania clients and interview them as part of Kiva’s borrower verification process (learn more about that by reading some excellent blogs on the topic).  I found one of the two clients I was hoping to meet, so the day was partially successful.

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Jun 6, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

In some workplaces in the west, “Casual Fridays” are a way for office workers to dress down a bit from more formal dress codes.  In Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, office workers have their own version of alternative dress once a week: African Fridays.

Cloth samples in Freetown

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May 5, 2010 UG Uganda

“Just look around, you can see all of our problems. It will take Africa at least 250 years to catch up to the West.”

This statement comes from a Kenyan man whom I met about two years ago while traveling through East Africa. I was passing through Kisumu, Kenya, at the time and somehow got into a conversation with this man at our backpacker restaurant/bar area. He was a Master’s student in Nairobi, home for a week to visit his family, and this hour-long conversation really opened my eyes to a number of different issues.

Now I’m not the...

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May 5, 2010 GH Ghana

By Michelle Baker, KF11 Ghana

I am a Kiva Fellow working at Sinapi Aba Trust, which is located in Kumasi, Ghana in the heart of the Ashanti.  Sinapi Aba Trust is an autonomous private non-for-profit organization established in 1994 with a mission to “serve as the Mustard Seed through which opportunities for enterprise development and income generation are given to the economically disadvantaged to transform their lives.”

When I was in the field, I had an opportunity to see how Sinapi Aba uses it mission to teach and inspire its staff and borrowers.  Here is a list of guiding...

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May 5, 2010 GH Ghana

By Michelle Baker, KF11 Ghana

I spent the entire past week out in the field training branches and meeting with Kiva borrowers, and it was the most inspiring thing I have experienced in a very long time.

The loan officers are some of the most amazing people who I have met. Without their hard work, I am certain that microfinancing would not be possible. The loan officers that I met start their days before 8:00 a.m. and end as late as 11:00 p.m. They do not spend their days in a comfortable air-conditioned office, but instead spend most of their time traveling from rural town...

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May 5, 2010 UG Uganda

By James Allman-Gulino, KF11 Uganda


Some of the best work that microfinance can do is in post-conflict regions, particularly those with internally displaced persons (IDPs).  These people may have been forcibly relocated from their homes and made to stay in makeshift camps because violence was too severe around their villages, as was the case in Northern Uganda during the government’s fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).   The conflict with the LRA had been off-and-on for over twenty years, with the LRA committing many atrocities...

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May 5, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna M. Holmes, KF11, Liberia

When I began working my first office job in 1999 as a college intern, I immediately took note of how central of a role technology plays in the business world.   I have often asked myself, “What did people do before the internet, fax machines, and God Help Us….EMAIL.”  I imagined my mom at her first office job having to walk documents from the first floor to co-workers on the fifth floor or waiting days for a document that someone in the Atlanta office had mailed to her in Boston.  Then I’d roll my eyes at how tedious a process that must...

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May 5, 2010 MZ Mozambique
By Isaac Iglesias, KF10, Mozambique
 
Is football, shall I say soccer, still not big in America? In the countries where I was born or spent most of my adulthood it certainly is. And so it is in Mozambique, where I am based for my Kiva Fellowship at the moment. Mozambique is the country where Kiva operates that is closest to South Africa. Four weeks from today -by the way: today I am seeing my 28th spring feliz cumpleaños to me -, the Football World Cup will start in South Africa and many friends and lenders have asked me...
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May 5, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

In Kenya they’re known as matatu.  In Turkey they are referred to as dolmus.  Here in Sierra Leone they’re poda poda.  Whatever they’re called in whatever place you’ve traveled or lived, the simple minibus represents an effective, if crowded means of basic urban transport.  Additionally, these vehicles represent an instance of private enterprise performing a role that’s often filled by municipal governments in more developed countries.  And in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, minibus...

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May 5, 2010 LR Liberia

By Karen Buxton, KF10, Liberia

Liberians have many expressions that make me smile.  Rather than saying, “How are you?”  they ask “How da body?”  and respond “Body fine-o!”  Rather than “Don’t use your loan for personal expenses – use it for your business,” they encapsulate the notion into: “Don’t eat the money!”

Don’t eat the money is an important concept that is essential for microfinance to work effectively.  Over the past three months, I have observed loan...

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