Stories tagged with Africa

Mar 3, 2010 LR Liberia

By Karen Buxton, KF10, Liberia

Cecilia Wilson was born in Grand Kru County, Liberia, in 1964.  She graduated from Tubman High School in Monrovia when she was 18, and by the time she was 30 years old, she had two children and she found herself selling rice and oil on the sidewalk at a market just outside of Monrovia.  With the goal of improving her business by moving it off of the sidewalk, Cecilia took out her first microloan of $50 USD from a newly established microfinance institution (MFI) in Monrovia called Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP). ...

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Mar 3, 2010 KE Kenya

Could you imagine having to do all your communication in writing, on actual paper?  Or writing a check for every transaction or purchase that you made?  Frankly, I don’t even remember how to write a check!

Anne, former Kiva fellow at SMEP and I shuffle loan forms to choose borrowers to randomly audit for Kiva

Everyday in Kenya, paper loan...

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Mar 3, 2010 CM Cameroon

By Dennis A. Espinoza, KF10, El Salvador

Imagine you are a mother or a father to both a son and a daughter.
If you only had enough money to send one of your two children to school, which one would you send?

This question was asked to potential microfinance borrowers at a training session led by GHAPE, a microfinance institution (MFI) and Kiva Field Partner based in Bamenda, Cameroon.

The most common answer among the group of 30+ prospective borrowers was my son but I also heard my daughter, the oldest, none and a few others.

The “right” answer was...

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Mar 3, 2010 SN Senegal

By Sam Trauffer, KF10, Senegal

When a lender looks at the profile of a borrower on kiva.org, he is fed with lots of information about this individual. The reverse is not always the case, as Taylor Akin pointed out in her great blogpost. At least with lenders who have created a personal lender-profile, it is possible to create a two way communication which fulfills Kiva’s goal of connecting people through lending. Kevin Chaissan demonstrated a beautiful example in his post.

When I visit clients to get information for journal updates, I take a printout of their profile...

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Mar 3, 2010 BJ Benin

Alidé’s Kiva coordinator spends a lot of time on the Kiva site, mainly from the back end, uploading profiles and journals.  But she’s never experienced what it’s like to be a Kiva lender, an experience I wanted to give her thanks to the $25 Kiva gift certificate I’d received at training. Getting her to use it has been a challenge.

I gave her a print out of the certificate on my second day, but she kept putting off when we’d use it.  Last week when there was a lull in work, but solid-seeming electricity, I decided it was time.  She didn’t seem happy about my decision and begged for...

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Feb 2, 2010 LR Liberia

Karen Buxton, KF10, Liberia

The Liberians United for Haiti Relief Concert took place last weekend at one of Monrovia’s large outdoor stadiums.  “Please give to Haiti!  We know what it is like to have nothing, so let us give to a country that has just been devastated,” cried the Master of Ceremonies.  The boisterous crowd raised their hands and cheered in approval.

(Photo courtesy of John Briggs, KF10)

Several thousand...

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Feb 2, 2010 SN Senegal

By Nick Malouin, KF10, Senegal

Whether at home or abroad no one likes to see people begging for money. In the countries where most Kiva Fellows come from it’s a sad sign of social dysfunction and a failure to provide adequate opportunities for everyone. But in the developing world could it actually be a sign of progress? After all, if a country can support begging, then it must be generating income beyond mere subsistence.

In Togo, where I spent my first three months, this seemed to be the case. Even in the major towns and cities I saw very little begging and...

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Feb 2, 2010 KE Kenya

Hezron Murinde is a happy man. After 20 years of subsistence farming in a hilly region of Kenya’s Central Province, he’s earning a profit. It started with a chaff cutter. A chaff cutter is a big, cranky device that chops feed into small enough pieces for livestock to eat (and livestock eat a lot). The chaff cutter led to the cow. Not just any cow, but a high-yield dairy cow that produces enough milk to out-gross all the maize and beans Hezron grows across acres of land.

Hezron and...

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Feb 2, 2010 KE Kenya

So imagine your first week as a Kiva Fellow placed at a microfinance institution in Nairobi, Kenya.  Think about what the place may look like, how the people will greet you, and the overall atmosphere of the office.  Now scrap all that, because my first few days at Juhudi Kilimo have been so far above and beyond anything I could have imagined.

The real inspiration for this blog is my new co-worker Steve, the office DJ at Juhudi Kilimo who plays music all day to keep everyone relaxed and at ease.  Now I was expecting some local artists and...

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Jan 1, 2010 TG Togo

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

There is a lot of hype surrounding microfinance.  For some, microfinance is an effective tool used to promote large-scale poverty alleviation. For others, it is simply considered a way for moderately poor individuals to better their own situations. If you’re reading this blog, you likely fit somewhere on this spectrum of belief that microfinance does at least some good. While the degree to which microfinance impacts the lives of the poor is often debated, the hype remains fairly constant. But can microfinance really live up to the publicity that...

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