Stories tagged with Africa

Aug 8, 2009 BJ Benin

By Andrew Whiteman, KF8

             My fellowship in Benin is nearly over.  It has been ten weeks of hard work, but I have learned a ton and I have great stories to take back to the US.  Some everlasting memories  include taking a baboon for a walk (yes, on a leash), being told that I could only wear a speedo at the swimming pool, and visiting a sacred forest, the home of a tree that was once a king.  More importantly, now I better understand my reason for being here.  During my first few weeks, when everything was stressful and confusing, I remember writing in my journal, “Why I...

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Aug 8, 2009 TG Togo

By Abby Gray, KF6 Togo and KF7 Senegal

How a Kiva Fellow Alumna’s non-profit organization, SunPower Afrique, is shedding light on MFIs in West Africa

“Beep,” complained my laptop, unhappy about its sudden switch to battery power.  The fan above me whirred gently to a stop, no longer drying the beads of sweat incessantly forming on my forehead.  “Page can not be displayed,” grumbled Firefox.  My internet connection was gone, along with any hope I had of uploading my stack of borrower profiles to the Kiva website.

I walked out into the hallway and found...

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Aug 8, 2009 GH Ghana

By Nancy Tuller, KF8, Ghana

Fuseina is the kind of person that you want in your life.  She is kind, gracious, friendly, confident, warm, generous in spirit and loving, all at the same time.  Our short visit together reminded me of the reason I am here, and the reason I love this work (if you can call it that!), and the reason I so admire what Kiva is facilitating.  This is human connection at its finest.

This connection is what drew me to microfinance 15 years ago.  When Kiva came up with a way to personalize that connection even further with their online lending to specific...

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Aug 8, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8,  Kenya

Kenya’s post election violence is probably far from the minds of most people in the world. After all – the contested election and its ensuing rioting happened in late 2007, and that was years ago. (See Former Kiva Fellow Zack Turner’s blog post from 2008 here, describing the conflict.) Surely you’d think that people were recovering from the trauma and have moved on with their lives.

Yes and no.

In my first several weeks of borrower interviews, a few borrowers brought up the violence when asked I about their challenges. ...

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Aug 8, 2009 MZ Mozambique

By Cameron Morris KF8, Mozambique


Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe, right? Well, yes and no. Although that text is lifted directly from the about us section of Kiva’s website it doesn’t tell the complete story. If your zeal for Kiva has lead you to spend late nights combing through Kiva loans you may have also noticed loans for housing, education, and personal use. Alas, how is building...

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Aug 8, 2009 BJ Benin

By Andrew Whiteman, KF8 in Benin

A view over Dantokpa Market, where many Alidé borrowers sell their goods

 

One day, I walked into one of Alidé’s offices in Cotonou to work with the loan officers.  Right inside the gate, in the outdoor waiting area, I saw about thirty women seated patiently in perfect rows.  Everyone was wearing their best pagnes, brilliantly colored Beninese fabrics, so I could tell that it was an important day. 

After working...

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Aug 8, 2009 LR Liberia

This place is like no country I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been fortunate to see over 130 in my 20+ years of adventure travel.The history of Liberia is unique in Africa because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of the few countries in Africa without roots in  European colonialism.   Liberia did not exist as a country until it was colonized by freed American slaves in 1847, forming a government based on the US system.  The capital city is named after President James Monroe and the monetary currency is the Liberian Dollar.

This government...

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Aug 8, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Susan Arthur, KF8 (Kiva Fellow 8th Class) in Nicaragua

This week marks World Breastfeeding Week prompting me to contemplate how microfinance and breastfeeding play important roles in alleviating poverty.

More than 80% of Kiva entrepreneurs are women, many of whom are mothers with home-based businesses where they can easily satisfy their baby’s hunger and provide for their optimal growth by breastfeeding.  Indeed, on a few occasions, Kiva field partners have posted profile photos on Kiva’s site of borrowers nursing their babies.

Could breastfeeding rates...

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Aug 8, 2009 KE Kenya

By Jaclyn Berfond, Laura Buhler, Alison Carlman, Joel Carlman and Cameron Morris

Last weekend the East African Kiva Fellows delegation descended upon the bustling streets of Kampala, Uganda and the banks of the Nile River for two days of intense knowledge transfer and mild revelry. We spent hours discussing the importance of data validity in performing operational cost analyses and tried to debunk the myth that OpenOffice does not properly save .csv files for uploading repayment information to PA2. We also had a little fun. We left Kampala feeling...

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Jul 7, 2009 BJ Benin

 

Like most of Africa, Benin’s education system is riddled with problems. Its educational woes start at the primary level. The main language of instruction in Benin is French.  Educational resources written in Beninese languages hardly exist. Therefore, children whose native language is Fon or Yoruba have to learn material while trying to understand a new language. This problem is particularly evident in the rural north of Benin.  As a friend of mine said to me, it would help if more students started school in their native language and gradually transitioned to French....

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