Stories tagged with Philippines

Mar 3, 2010 PH Philippines

Vishnu Hariharan, KF10 Philippines

When I read a Kiva Fellows blog, it is a chance for me to switch off from the sparks of self awareness. I teleport across the world for 10 minutes to experience life as another Kiva Fellow – exposing me to the elements shaping the lives of Kiva clients. I would like to expose what I have found to be one of the key elements shaping the lives of ASKI’s clients – El Nino.

El Nino is a seasonal warming of the Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns and is causing droughts in Northern Philippines. ASKI serves over 4,000 Kiva...

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Mar 3, 2010 PH Philippines

If Donald Trump needs new contestants for his show “The Apprentice”, he should look no further than the Rizal province in the Philippines.  After spending nearly a month as a Kiva Fellow interviewing over 40 members of Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI), a Kiva microfinance partner, I can attest these women would give the competition a run for their money.

Picture of Nieva De Leon (ASHI member) and myself

I would describe the members of ASHI as scrappy and determined entrepreneurs who practice savvy business sense. During my interviews with the borrowers, I ask...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

By Eva Wu, KF9 Philippines

Imagine you’re a loan officer who’s working for one of Kiva’s partner MFIs. You’ve been traveling around the field, collecting repayments from quite a few clients over the course of the day. It’s getting late, and you’ve amassed a huge amount of cash – the equivalent of a few months’ worth of income for locals. As the sun begins to set, you realize you’re still at least an hour away from the office – an hour’s worth of travel on your motorcycle, over rough roads that are poorly (if...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

By Eva Wu, KF9 Philippines

Having read Meg’s excellent blog post “Bad Roads, Interest Rates, and MFI Sustainability” and the ensuing comments from Kiva lenders, I admit that I was rather baffled. Particularly by comments that varied upon the theme of: “In the U.S. you can get loans for ~8%! You can get credit for 18% interest, which we find high and oppressive! So how can MFIs charge 36% interest rates on loans to their poor clients, it is usurious, it can’t be justified…” so on and so forth.

I believe that if you were to...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

For all those who have succumbed to playing the late night trivia game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”,  you know it is based on the assumption that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps.  The game is a play on the network idea “Six Degrees of Separation” that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth.

What I have come to realize week one into my placement as a brand new Kiva Fellow is Kevin Bacon is to Hollywood as Kiva Fellows are to the world of microfinance.  Our role is to facilitate ...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

Josh Weinstein, KF9, Philippines

Last week I went to a town called La Castellana about an hour south of Bacolod to visit the NWTF branch there.  I was there to meet a handful of Kiva borrowers and interview them about the progress of their loan.  Over the course of two days, I met six women that currently have a loan with Kiva, and another four that I am going to post to the site this week.  La Castellana is a town in the mountains that is largely supported by agriculture.   It is also one of the major areas impacted by agrarian reform and home to some of NWTF...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

By Vishnu Hariharan, KF10, Philippines

As I sit at a local internet cafe in Cabanatuan city, Philippines (where I am surrounded by five kids all reading out loud from the Kiva Fellows blog site on my computer screen!), I find myself reflecting more on what I hope to learn when I’m in the field.

Back in July when I applied to be a Kiva Fellow, my goals from the program were generally to learn more about microfinance in developing countries and the use of financial tools to enact social change.

From speaking with alumni, Kiva staff and attending training last...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

By Josh Weinstein, KF9 Philippines

The happy couple.

This Kiva Fellows job is unique, in that it offers an endless supply of intellectual stimulation and satisfaction.  Every day, I learn something new about something interesting.  For the time being, what interests me most is microfinance.  My knowledge of microfinance prior to working with Kiva could be described as purely...

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Feb 2, 2010 PH Philippines

The best part about leaving a place is that it generally means you will be arriving somewhere new.  You’re sad.  You’re excited.  You’re a whole bunch of simultaneous emotions.  I want to write this, my first Kiva Fellow’s Blog, while these emotions are still fresh;

while the bitter sweet sound of karaoke is still ringing in my ears;

while the last shot of the night is still processing;

and while the memory of 30 smiling fellows is firmly imprinted in my mind.

First let me tell you why I am...

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Jan 1, 2010 PH Philippines

By Josh Weinstein, KF9 Philippines

I spent the last week with the research department touring the region, tagging along on a market research survey.  On the last day, we were driving through a coastal town when the paved road turned to dirt.  According to the driver and director of the research department at NWTF, when the road turns to dirt, you know you are headed in the right direction.  Sure enough, within a few minutes we reached a squatter community bustling with people.  (In the Philippines, the government protects squatters, and large communities spring up on...

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