Stories tagged with Azerbaijan

Apr 4, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan

Cows are a perfect microfinance investment, and it’s not just their perfumed smell and cuddly good looks.

As a Kiva Fellow I have gazed upon the ample forms of innumerable Azerbaijani cows. I have sullied my boots in great piles of cow poo and dodged a charging cow with a girlish yelp and extreme lack of coordination that elicited fits of laughter from bemused Kiva borrowers. I have inhaled the pungent scent of cattle in close quarters from the Iranian border to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. I...

Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan

A new study led by University of British Columbia anthropologist Joseph Henrich found that active market participants tend to treat strangers more fairly. To the extent that Microfinance encourages market participation and supplants the need for top-down development models like direct aid, these results indicate that it may also encourage borrowers to adopt fairer attitudes towards those outside of their immediate social circle.

The results of the study (published in Science and entitled “Markets, Religion, Community...

Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan

In the Bilasuvar Region of Azerbaijan a number of Kiva borrowers live in semi-permanent settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their homes during the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

An IDP settlement in the Bilasuvar Region of Azerbaijan

Many of these borrowers have a principal source of income unrelated to their Kiva loan. They work as teachers...

Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan

Microfinance interest rate discussions usually center on how much and often overlook the question of whether poor microborrowers should pay any interest at all. Kiva lenders are a philanthropic bunch. They could eliminate interest rates and cover administrative costs with donations, but for economic and ethical reasons they shouldn’t.

The Economics:

  • Sustainability: The point of microfinance is sustainable development through broader access to capital. Donation capital is fickle, fluctuating and,...
Continue Reading >>
Feb 2, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Peter Marchant, KF10 Azerbaijan

The photos on borrower profiles provide a key connection between Kiva lenders and the borrowers they fund, but lending based on snapshots has drawbacks. A photo can convey a lot about a borrower, a culture, a business or a life and create an emotional reaction for the viewer. Yet the very power of a picture can prevent lenders from learning the full story of a borrower and their country.

Azerbaijan’s borrower photos often feature dour men in tweed coats peering out unsmiling from behind bushy mustaches. They stand near a few head of...

Continue Reading >>
Jan 1, 2009 AZ Azerbaijan

Why is it that when you’re just starting a job, you always introduce yourself to the CEO with spinach in your teeth, or rip your pants pocket, or spill toner on your shirt?

My finest hour was when I was starting on the copy desk at a newspaper, trying to make a good impression as a head-down, able worker, and the copy chief gave me a big story. I had my take-out dinner on my desk. As I stared intently at the screen, trying to be the model of a journalist who’s so totally engrossed in the task at hand he can’t even be bothered to look at his food, I gave my Orangina...

Continue Reading >>
Dec 12, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

(with apologies to Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King)

1. Cats are great city animals.

Cat on car.

At one time, Baku was rat country, so I’ve been told. Someone decided to fix the problem by either introducing cats to the streets or firing all the cat-catchers. You don’t see many rats around nowadays.

... Continue Reading >>
Nov 11, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

I’ve been in Azerbaijan for just over six weeks now, but I this is my first blog post since my arrival.

I haven’t known what to say, really. It’s not that I’ve been awed into silence by the exoticness of this Caucasus nation. I live in Baku, and we have six McDonald’s (so I hear — I’ve managed to visit two). Anyplace with that many McDonald’s fails some kind of exoticness test somewhere. Well, maybe if it was Japan and there was shrimp-burger on the menu, but the most exotic thing you can order at my McD’s is a MacArabic...

Continue Reading >>
Sep 9, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

I’m the only fellow headed to Azerbaijan from Kiva Fellows 6, so I’m pretty excited to bring word of this fascinating region to those of you who make Kiva such a success. I’ll be visiting each of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions in the region to assist them in any way I can, support Kiva, journal and train the MFIs on new software systems being put into place.

I’ve never been to the Caucasus. It’s largely a blank slate to me. What the Lonely Planet, my Azeri taxi driver last night and previous Kiva Fellows in the area, such as Jonathan...

Continue Reading >>
May 5, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

Families in rural Azerbaijan are heavily reliant on farm animals, often just a handful of sheep and a cow, for food and income. Microcredit loans allow enterprising individuals to scale up animal raising activities so that excess milk, cheese, wool, and offspring can be sold for a profit. But where does one go to buy a cow or a half dozen sheep? I learned that once a week as many as 4,000 farmers congregate with their animals to exchange ownership at the Livestock Bazaar. Kiva’s field partner, Aqroinvest arranged for me to meet a client and conduct an interview at...

Continue Reading >>

Pages

LendingOnKiva