Stories tagged with Azerbaijan

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,...
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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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May 5, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

As I wrap up my time as a Kiva Fellow with Norwegian Microcredit (Normicro) in Azerbaijan, I realized that I cannot adequately summarize in words the knowledge I’ve gained on microfinance and Azerbaijan, things and places I’ve seen, and people and entrepreneurs I’ve met.  For to share about microfinance in Azerbaijan, one must place it in the context of the country’s historical and current political and economic situation.  Besides, the previous Kiva Fellow in Azerbaijan had already written an excellent blog on this topic.  (See: ‘The Role of Microfinance in...

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Apr 4, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

The biggest holiday in Azerbaijan is Novruz. This spring event has its roots as a pre-Islam New Year celebration. It officially begins on the spring equinox but the celebration ramps up much earlier with large street bonfires every Tuesday for the month preceding Novruz. Each week represents a different element: earth, water, air, and fire. Much of the community comes out for the bonfires to socialize and listen to music. Tradition calls for fearless youth to jump across the bonfire regardless or how large it is. On one occasion I witnessed a boy run through a fire along a burning pole...

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Mar 3, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

On Sunday, I had the privilege of spending time with an Azeri woman over lunch and walking around Baku.  For the record, I am female. I met Ulviyya on a bus a few days ago when I saw her reading English vocabulary from a dictionary that was falling apart to pieces and started talking to her.  We parted shortly after but before doing so, Ulviyya jumped on the opportunity to practice her spoken English.  She took down my mobile number and invited me to lunch on Sunday.    

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