Stories tagged with Americas

Jul 7, 2009 PE Peru

by Rob Mittelman, KF8 Peru

A Kiva Fellow has many jobs. I have well over a dozen different tasks on my workplan.

Some of them bring us great joy and inspiration like interviewing Kiva Borrowers and getting to know new cultures and new people.

Some let us be creative like this blog and all the Flip Camera videos you see.

Some make us feel like management consultants or professors preparing PowerPoint decks and going through trainings with our MFIs on new Kiva policies or web tools.

We write about these experiences because of how fun it is to be a...

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Jun 6, 2009 PE Peru

By Suzy Marinkovich, KF8 Peru

As I sat this morning, drowning in over 50 borrower interviews I’d done that need to be typed and uploaded, I felt overwhelmed with bureaucracy.  Our Kiva Coordinator then walked in to let me know we had five more community bank meetings – FIVE – meaning I had a ton more interviews to do.   For a moment, I actually thought about turning her down so I could catch up on typing up the previous ones.  Regardless, I picked up my scrappy notebook and pen and ran downstairs to meet with the first group of women.

As I interviewed, I...

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Jun 6, 2009 PE Peru

This past week I heard from a friend in the US who got the new iPhone. It looks pretty cool – smaller, faster, and even has the long-awaited cut/copy/paste feature. All for just USD $199…

But what if you used your phone to make a living? What if it had nothing to do with apps, downloading music or texting your friends?

Last week I interviewed groups that were getting loan disbursements and also followed up with existing Kiva borrowers. While the majority of clients were planning buy more merchandise for their general stores or small...

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Jun 6, 2009 CR Costa Rica

As I described in a previous blog post, EDESA (Kiva’s field partner in Costa Rica) works with a network of Community Credit Enterprises (ECCs by their Spanish acronym).  To reiterate a bit, the ECCs are small, grassroots microfinance organizations formed by rural community members.  FINCA Costa Rica provides extensive training in these communities to teach members how to work together to create and run a profitable business that provides financial services among other things.  I recently visited one of the oldest and largest ECCs, La Asociación de Productores de El Sauce (The Association...

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Jun 6, 2009 GH Ghana

By Nancy Tuller, KF8, Ghana, Africa

I have a professor and mentor from my undergraduate days whose advice and thoughts I value and respect so much.  I still communicate with him regularly, and over the years, the topic of interest rates in microfinance has come up repeatedly in our conversations.  This is the man from whom I first learned about community currency, an alternative exchange system used alongside national currencies.  He is knowledgeable about micro and macroeconomics, as well as finance.  However, our conversations about interest rates for microloans always end the...

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Jun 6, 2009 PE Peru

In a desperate last-minute attempt to get my name off the top of the “least-blogging fellows” list and fulfill my grandma’s request for more blogs, I’d like to share some of my favorite photos from my 10-week placement at Asociacion Arariwa in Cusco, Peru.

Arariwa is an amazing organization with an extremely dedicated group of loan officers. I was consistently impressed with loan officers’ dedication to their clients—not just putting in long hours for little pay and running risks by carrying cash, but in some cases even relocating to remote villages in order to serve clients without...

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Jun 6, 2009 PE Peru

¡La selva no se vende, la selva se defiende!

“The forest is not for sale, The forest we defend!” shouted the community of Ayacucho while pumping their fists in the air.  Sweat dripped down their foreheads in the midday sun and not a soul was dressed for a day at the office.   The spirit of the crowd was overwhelming, as if every person had their heart invested in the political crisis unfolding in Peru, no matter its geographic distance from here.

Hours after my arrival in Ayacucho on Tuesday, while I was still entranced by the cultural beauty of the place and...

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May 5, 2009 PE Peru

Three months ago, I came to Tarapoto, Peru armed with all sorts of tools to start my Kiva fellowship; cameras, powerpoint presentations about Kiva, books about microfinance, and a ton of information acquired during training at Kiva headquarters in San Francisco. While all these were useful, nothing could really prepare me for the most challenging part of my fellowship; finding the borrowers I had to interview to get journal updates for Kiva lenders. Just as my colleague Emily struggled to find Kiva borrowers in Puno, Peru, I had a similar set of challenges in the San Martin region,...

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May 5, 2009 CR Costa Rica

I’ve just arrived at my fourth and final placement as a Kiva Fellow.  Less than two weeks ago I was wrapping up work with ADEPHCA in Nicaragua and, following a week of whirlwind travel through southwestern Nicaragua, I arrived to start my first week with EDESA in Costa Rica.  Based on initial impressions, ADEPHCA and EDESA have very little in common other than the fact they are both identified by somewhat confusing acronyms and are both quite small organizations in the world of microfinance.  But that is where the similarities end.  ADEPHCA is based out of Bluefields, Nicaragua: a town of...

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Apr 4, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Perhaps it depends on the context.

Now having served as a Kiva Fellow at three of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions (MFI) in three distinct locations, I have seen a wide variety in the types of businesses Kiva lenders are funding.  I have also seen many, many situations where one client has several businesses.  In a recent blog post, Stephanie Koczela, a Kiva Fellow in Uganda, very articulately explained how and why microfinance clients often have a variety of businesses.  As she describes, not only is this the reality, it actually makes a lot of sense and helps these clients...

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