Stories tagged with Togo

Mar 3, 2010 TG Togo

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

On Thursday March 4th, the second Togolese presidential elections were held since the death of President Eyadéma Gnassingbé in 2005. After 38 years of uninterrupted rule, his son Faure assumed the presidency. Shortly thereafter, he held superfluous elections that resulted in a “democratic” confirmation of his leadership. The country erupted in civil unrest under the pretense of false electoral results, and hundreds were killed in the resulting violence.

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Feb 2, 2010 SN Senegal

By Nick Malouin, KF10, Senegal

Whether at home or abroad no one likes to see people begging for money. In the countries where most Kiva Fellows come from it’s a sad sign of social dysfunction and a failure to provide adequate opportunities for everyone. But in the developing world could it actually be a sign of progress? After all, if a country can support begging, then it must be generating income beyond mere subsistence.

In Togo, where I spent my first three months, this seemed to be the case. Even in the major towns and cities I saw very little begging and...

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Jan 1, 2010 TG Togo

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

There is a lot of hype surrounding microfinance.  For some, microfinance is an effective tool used to promote large-scale poverty alleviation. For others, it is simply considered a way for moderately poor individuals to better their own situations. If you’re reading this blog, you likely fit somewhere on this spectrum of belief that microfinance does at least some good. While the degree to which microfinance impacts the lives of the poor is often debated, the hype remains fairly constant. But can microfinance really live up to the publicity that...

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Jan 1, 2010 TG Togo

This is as close as I can get to looking Togolese!

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

It’s amazing how identity can be so malleable. In a matter of hours, a person can be transformed from local to foreigner, fluent to fumbling, familiar to fascinating, and even from black to white. Anyone who has ever travelled even just a couple hours outside their hometown has experienced this shift. The change in identity may happen to varying degrees, but its unpredictability...

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Jan 1, 2010 TG Togo

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

Picture yourself on a bike riding along a beach. Nice image, isn’t it?

A typical main street in Lome

Now, swap the bike for a motorcycle fishtailing in the sand and replace the crashing waves with revving engines and honking cars. Add dust in your eyes, the smell of exhaust in your nose, and about 30 degrees of heat and you’ve come close to the daily journey of a loan officer in Lomé, Togo.

I know I’m not the first to...

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Dec 12, 2009 TG Togo

Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES). My host MFI for the next 4 months.

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

As I sat in Charles de Gaulle airport waiting for my flight to Lomé, I had already begun to feel out of place. My hair was carelessly sitting around my shoulders, I was wearing old yoga pants and a new pair of Converse, and I was munching on my mother’s half-squished Christmas cake. I looked around me at the crowd gathering to board the...

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Nov 11, 2009 TG Togo

By Nick Malouin, KF9, Togo

There’s something about traveling at high speeds in Africa that allows the mind to open up and do its best thinking. Maybe with the pot holes and daily frustrations left behind the brain can finally concentrate on something else. I had such an experience on a recent weekend trip to Lomé. Traveling at 60km/h, I had two hours to take in the beautiful scenery between Kpalimé and Lomé. The villages, usually a cacophony of noise and activity, had the brief illusion of serenity.

I started thinking about earlier that day when I met a client...

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Nov 11, 2009 TG Togo

Me and the other Africa-based Kiva Fellows (photo provided by John Briggs)

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

In the months of preparation leading up to my Kiva Fellowship in Lomé, Togo I have had plenty of opportunity to practice my take on the taxicab test – a concise explanation of Kiva’s mission and the work of a Kiva Fellow. Upon completing my training at Kiva Headquarters in San Francisco, I felt confident in my ability to accurately explain Kiva’s...

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Oct 10, 2009 TG Togo

By Jessica Chervin, KF9 Togo

Yesterday evening, West Africa made me giddy.

I have been in Togo for almost five months, and in West Africa for almost nine.  Here, my senses are never neutral.  The most lovely moments are tempered by inconvenience.  My daily moto rides to and from Microfund are at once thrilling and relaxing, but the soot and smell of burning garbage, the potholes that make Lome’s boulevards feel like urban mogul fields, and the passage by open landfills smack in the middle of the capital, tinge the experience with unpleasantness.  Sensory and...

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Oct 10, 2009 TG Togo

Since arriving in Togo last week, a lot of my colleagues at FECECAV have asked how I actually got from Toronto to Kpalimé. Luckily, ten minutes into my trip I pulled out my trusty flip cam, which every Kiva Fellow has been given (thank you Flip!), and started shooting. The following 3-minute video is a condensed version of my trip, the full 16 hours of footage is available upon request.

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