Stories tagged with Africa

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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Jul 7, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8, Kenya

Consider yourself warned: this blog talks about maxipads. There. I said it. Now please keep reading.

Perhaps you’ve heard of  the “Girl Effect” campaign.  The “Girl Effect” is a about investing in what Africans call the “girl child” and how that can affect a country’s development.  According to The Girl Effect, an extra year in primary school statistically boosts girls’ future wages by 10% to 20%, and every additional year a girl spends in secondary school lifts her income by 15% to 25%. And you better believe that the size...

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Jul 7, 2009 KE Kenya

By Jaclyn Berfond, KF8 Kenya

As one of the last of the KF8 class to arrive in the field – Nairobi, Kenya to be exact – these last two weeks have certainly been a time of transition for me. So you can imagine my surprise, and comfort, when I found that both the MFIs I will be working with – the Small and Micro-Enterprise Programme (SMEP) and Faulu Kenya – were going through their own transitions…

Before I jump into that, however, let me first introduce myself as a newcomer to the Kiva Fellows blog. My name is Jaclyn, and I come from New York, via Geneva, Switzerland....

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Jul 7, 2009 KE Kenya

By Joel Carlman, KF8 – Kisumu Medical & Education Trust – Kisumu, Kenya

Over the years, there have been many entries on this site (and on many others) about the popular topic of group lending.  The fact that borrowers gather once a week, or once a month to deal with any issues they might have or to keep each other accountable is incredible.  That group lending has tended to lead to higher repayment rates is a fun little factoid that practitioners of microfinance love to point out.  But, that only represents the utility of group lending.  Yes, it works, but...

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Jul 7, 2009 SN Senegal

By Abby Gray, KF6/7, Togo & Senegal (now in New York)

In Dakar, this ad provoked vandals to rebel against the culturally inappropriate image. In New York, it wouldn't get a second glance.

If you have to deal with culture shock after 8 months of living in West Africa, New York is one of the most dramatic places to do it. On one hand, the vibrancy and energy of pedestrian-filled, trafficky New York streets isn’t all that different from the dusty...

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Jul 7, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8 – Kenya

As a graduate student of International Development at an African university, I wish that the answer was as simple as finding the “one thing” to alleviate poverty.  For marketing purposes, NGOs and “experts” tell us that the answer is so simple, whether it’s access to clean water, economic liberalization, universal healthcare, education, modernization, or microfinance. But 50 years of “Development” in practice teaches us that it’s not so black and white.

Kiva will be the first to tell you: microfinance is not the solution to poverty. ...

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Jul 7, 2009 MZ Mozambique

By Cameron Morris KF8, Mozambique

In San Francisco waking up on a Saturday morning and hitting the Noe Valley farmers market is always a good time. Organic, sustainably grown, local produce , grass-fed, free range meat, 30 something couples playing with their toddlers and quaint discussions with local farmers are just a few of the delights. I’ve got a particular soft spot for the ever-popular heirloom tomatoes, I even went so far as to cultivate my own last year.

How does the...

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