Stories tagged with Americas

Jan 1, 2011 HT Haiti

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

Please note that I am living in Northern Haiti, which wasn’t hit by by the January 2010 earthquake, and not in Port-au-Prince.

As I waited for a bus to take me to Trou du Nord, Northern Haiti, I was struck by a curious sight. I was surrounded by hoards of impeccably dressed schoolchildren. Their clothes were perfectly ironed, shoes spotless, shirts tucked in and socks pulled up. They portrayed an elegance of military ilk, if it weren’t for the spectacular collection of hairstyles and bows displayed on the heads of the giddy...

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Dec 12, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

When Julie Ross (Kiva Fellows Program Manager) asked what I would find most challenging about a Kiva Fellowship I think my first response was ‘not being at home for Christmas’.

I LOVE Christmas. Many people think that it has become too commercialized. Not me. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll never tire of the protracted build up; the pomp; the ceremony; the tremendous effort that goes into making this one day special. 70s rock band Wizard sang ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. Although this may seem a little over-the-top, when...

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Dec 12, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

Before beginning my placement as a Kiva Fellow, I tended to view the Kiva model simply in terms of members lending to borrowers and borrowers paying back. It was hard to envisage the intricacies of an Field Partner’s (or MFI) operations and what goes into facilitating a loan. In my eyes the MFI was the middle man; an amorphous mass that made things happen. Of course, the simple fact is that without MFIs Kiva would not exist. They share an equal responsibility with the lenders and the borrowers in ensuring that Kiva’s mission – ‘to...

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Dec 12, 2010 BO Bolivia

Upon starting my fellowship at ProMujer Bolivia in La Paz, I became quickly aware of the fact that this microfinance institution (MFI) offers its customers one thing that the other MFI’s I’ve worked with and observed don’t, namely healthcare services.  In a country where national health data show high infant and maternal mortality, and the lowest life expectancy in Latin America*, the value of these services offered by ProMujer is obvious. However, a part of me questions the notion that a person’s access to healthcare and health services should be so intricately linked to his or...

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Nov 11, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Having spent a lot of time speaking with borrowers during the week, I decided to spend Friday in the office. Kiva Fellows are required to complete an extensive list of ‘deliverables’ and I was aware that I still had a lot to deliver. I had just begun editing a short film when I was approached by Noberto, Esperanza International’s Kiva Coordinator.

“Fancy observing one of Esperanza’s health workers in the field? It’s one of the services we provide and you haven’t...

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Nov 11, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

When Kiva asked whether I’d consider a Fellowship in the Dominican Republic, my first instinct was to head to Google. I’d never been to the Caribbean and knew very little about this small country. After my initial search, Google asked whether I’d like to view some images of the DR and lured me in with 4 or 5 thumbnails. Each contained something that doesn’t exist in my country (the UK): the sun. I don’t think I got past the first page of pictures. I sat there mesmerized by contiguous images of palm trees, white sand and idyllic emerald sea and sent my response to Kiva: “Yes!”

Okay,...

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Nov 11, 2010 BO Bolivia

For me, one of the most interesting and potentially controversial challenges for Kiva’s lending model revolves around the concept of posting photographs and stories about real people, their lives, and their financial activities – and the privacy issues this entails.  There are undoubtedly millions of microfinance clients that live in such remote areas that they don’t know what the internet is, or even if they do, lack knowledge and understanding about the speed and extent to which information can travel. How do we explain to these people how the Kiva model works and how their...

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Oct 10, 2010 CL Chile

By Lorena Gil, KF12, Fondo Esperanza – Chile

I have a love / hate relationship with credit and I doubt I am the only one.  More than anything it’s what credit enables us to do that appeals to us as borrowers.  It can be as simple as giving us the opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts for loved ones or as big as college loans or even a house. If those of us in developed countries cannot function without credit imagine those in impoverished communities.

Andrea (FE...

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Sep 9, 2010 PE Peru

By Julie Shea, KF12

Since arriving at Manuela Ramos’s Puno office on August 12th, I have attended ten Community Bank monthly meetings and interviewed approximately 70 clients. In theory, the routine is the same: I meet up with the Community Bank’s Loan Officer (sometimes as early as 6am because we have far to travel), and we head off to the meeting together, often traveling via ”combi” (small vans) to ”moto-taxi” (motorcycle taxis) to car to ”moto-taxi”…depending on how remote the location of the meeting is, always the trip involves multiple modes of transportation, often it...

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Sep 9, 2010 CL Chile

By Lorena Gil, KF12, Fondo Esperanza – Chile

Each year Fondo Esperanza (FE) conducts a month long campaign (July 15th – August 15th) geared to attracting more socias (borrowers/entrepreneurs) and reaffirming FE’s presence in needy communities.  I arrived to Fondo Esperanza in the middle of the campaign and enjoyed being part of these activities.  

I was also able to see how FE markets itself to the public.  I was quite surprised when I arrived and turned on the television and saw a commercial of FE, how often do you see a commercial of an MFI(microfinance...

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