Stories tagged with Africa

May 5, 2010 UG Uganda

By James Allman-Gulino, KF11 Uganda

It’s now a little more than a week into my Kiva fellowship, and I’ve settled into my work at BRAC Uganda and gotten well-acquainted with Kampala.  The city is a great place – it’s bustling and full of energy, and the populace is very welcoming and outgoing.  Kampala and Uganda in general also enjoys a fantastic climate, and offers a huge variety of great produce – bananas, avocados, cassava, you name it.

But an area that Kampala doesn’t do so well in is public infrastructure.  Electricity and internet...

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May 5, 2010 LR Liberia

One of the reasons I was initially inspired to do a Kiva Fellowship in Liberia is the fact that Ellen Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia four years ago, making her the first democratically elected woman president of any country in Africa.  Having been here for three months, I can personally attest to the fact that Liberia is filled with strong, determined, tenacious, resilient women.  Unfortunately, I can also attest to the fact that there are still significant disparities between men and women here; so much so that it can be unsettling.


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May 5, 2010 BJ Benin

In Fon, Alidé means “a path always exists (for the very poor).”  This is a touching sentiment matched by the equally strong social mission of the Kiva field partner that bears its name.  During my time as the Kiva Fellow placed with Alidé, I’ve been impressed with the institution’s passion and perseverance.  When I meet borrowers, I consistently see illiterate women who are able to send their children to school and praise Alidé for their success.  It’s easy to start thinking, “wow, there’s really something to this!”

But then there are also the times when I step back...

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Apr 4, 2010 MZ Mozambique

By Isaac Iglesias, KF10, Mozambique

I used to work in the loan business area at the London headquarters of a major global bank. Now I get a lot of emails from friends asking me how different traditional credit and microcredit are from a worker’s point of view. I get even more emails from people who are contemplating jumping from traditional to microfinance and asking me about my personal experience.

With all those emails and conversations, and for future reference, I have compiled a list of the 10 main differences I have found between working in the two...

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Apr 4, 2010 LB Lebanon

Generally when I escape to the Beirut Corniche to go running, I try to avoid making contact with the young lovers sharing a romantic moment in their parked cars. However, on this particular day I could not help but get involved as I saw a brawny man repeatedly and violently beating the crying veiled woman sitting in his car. She tried to get out. He locked the door. She was hunched next to the window trembling in fear pleading him to stop. He told her to shut up.


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Apr 4, 2010 BJ Benin

I like my bank in the US.  The staff is nice, they have a lot of ATMs in New York City, they once gave me a fruit basket (long story)…  But I would never think about getting together with other Wachovia customers to toast how much we like banking there.  Yet that’s exactly what a number of Alidé (Kiva’s partner in Benin) clients do regularly.

Most of Alidé’s clients don’t have any traditional collateral so they form solidarity groups to back each others’ loans.  These groups then become friends with other groups and usually a leader emerges that...

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Apr 4, 2010

Just over a week ago, several Kiva staff members and Kiva Fellows (myself included) joined the president of Kenya, the prime minister of Zambia, the queen of Spain, the princess of the Netherlands, the former president of Peru, “inventor of micro-credit” Muhammad Yunus, and over a thousand others at the Africa-Middle East Microfinance Conference in Nairobi.

Not surprisingly, Muhammad Yunus was consistently the most interesting speaker throughout the four-day event (at least in my opinion).  He spoke on a variety of topics – a case study of his company’s...

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Apr 4, 2010 LR Liberia


By Karen Buxton, KF10, Liberia

For Kiva’s field partners to transition from being a ‘Pilot’ partner to an ‘Active’ partner, they must successfully pass a process Kiva calls Borrower Verification.  Borrower Verification entails interviewing a random sample of 10 Kiva borrowers from the same field partner to ensure the information on the ground matches the information on Kiva’s website.  To accomplish this, you must verify the identity of the borrower, the disbursement date, the loan amount, the loan term, the loan...

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Apr 4, 2010 RW Rwanda

By Sara Strawczynski, KF10, Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda

This afternoon I walked the streets of Kigali with thousands and thousands of people, united to commemorate 16 years since the start of Rwanda’s genocide.

A Walk to Remember in Kigali on April 7th, 2010.

In 1994, the very road we walked on was systematically transformed into a terrifying assembly of roadblocks, violence and murder. The entire country was engulfed, and when the...

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Apr 4, 2010 TG Togo

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

Sleep-deprived and over-heated, I sat in front of the fan in the loan officers’ room. I had been waiting for a loan officer at the WAGES branch office in Hédzranawoé for over an hour and sat unmoving as the room buzzed with activity all around me. Loan officers ran in and out, clients sat down and stood up, phones rang and calls were made, passbooks opened and closed, pencils scratched paper, sweat stained foreheads. I looked at the loan officer sitting across the desk opposite me. Adam is one of the kindest people I have met since my time here at...

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