Stories tagged with Kenya

May 5, 2010 KE Kenya

By Steve Grey, KF11, Kenya

“One of the borrowers on this list, Helida, passed away last month.”

Those words hit me like a punch in the stomach.  I was in Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria to work with Kisumu Medical & Education Trust (K-MET), one of Kiva’s lending partners in Kenya.  K-MET is different than most microfinance institutions.  Started in 1996, its mission is to provide quality reproductive health services to the poor through a network of over 450 volunteer community-based health workers.  Since the health workers are volunteers, and often poor...

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May 5, 2010 KE Kenya

By Jeremy Gordon, KF11, Kenya

Yesterday marked big news for branchless banking in Kenya. Safaricom, the company behind the highly successful mobile-money platform M-Pesa, announced its launch of a new service called M-Kesho (kesho meaning tomorrow in Swahili) allowing anyone with a cell phone to begin earning interest on their savings and even to receive a loan.

One of the things that first drew me to opt for a placement here in Kenya was the exciting innovation happening through mobile applications, where Kenya is both a pilot and a hub—pushing limits, and...

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May 5, 2010 KE Kenya

By Jeremy Gordon, KF11, Kenya

Kiva’s success is exciting.  A door is now open allowing us to reach those living in places we can’t easily visit in person and to become personally involved in micro-finance.  Making my first loan on Kiva felt a bit like a rediscovery of the internet. International Skype conversations were impressive, but this was something novel—Kiva allowed me to lend my own resources to help achieve someone else’s goal, and I was hooked.

Because this sort of P2P lending is still new, we can’t yet know the full extent of its impact on the...

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May 5, 2010 KE Kenya

By Jeremy Gordon, KF11, Kenya

Over 500 borrowers and center chiefs gathered in Mombasa

Adet Kachi looked calm but a bit worried. “Not even 50% are here yet,” he said to me as we appraised the meeting hall’s interior. As CEO of Yehu Microfinance, a new Kiva field partner, Adet had reason to be a bit nervous — he and his staff had been working for weeks to prepare for today’s Annual General Meeting. Over 500 center chiefs (each the...

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May 5, 2010 KE Kenya

By Steve Grey, KF11, Kenya

I got to see a fascinating situation last week in Nairobi when I was with Caroline, a local Credit Officer from SMEP (one of Kiva’s lending partners in Kenya).  It was a classic microfinance scenario: What happens when a member of a borrower group doesn’t pay?  But it wasn’t theoretical anymore… it was happening right in front of me.

As you probably know, many microfinance institutions (like SMEP) sign up individual borrowers as members of groups, often 10-20 people.  Rather than providing collateral for their individual...

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Mar 3, 2010 KE Kenya

Seventeen young, scared faces sit around the board room for the full-day training of new marketers. I had been present the day that this new crop of SMEP employees was being interviewed. They had assembled en masse at our head office; many of them looking like the suit they were wearing had been hastily purchased at one of the local secondhand markets in anticipation of their first job interview.  In fact, they were what I refer to as “babies” the young-ish, newly graduated staffers whose faces more often look up at me when I am conducting trainings at the SMEP branch offices all over...

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Mar 3, 2010 KE Kenya

This is a blog that I’ve written in a hurry so as not to let the words swirling in my head escape my fingers on the page. In my tenure at SMEP, I’ve never attended the weekly devotional, held every Monday morning from 8-10 in the morning. I always thought of myself as a secularist, and I assumed that attending would make me uncomfortable – after all, I come from a place where there is separation of church and everything. I’ve grown up in the deeply religious “bible belt” of the Southern United States, and I just assumed that at SMEP, the devotional...

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Mar 3, 2010 KE Kenya

Juhudi Kilimo CFO: Kevin, when you’re out in Litein, make sure you ear-tag at least one cow for our Micro Insurance program.
Me: Ummm yea, I may pass on that one, but I’ll think about it.

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Microfinance… To most people this word is synonymous with providing small loans to very low-income entrepreneurs. But microfinance is so much more than that. It involves...

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Mar 3, 2010 KE Kenya

Could you imagine having to do all your communication in writing, on actual paper?  Or writing a check for every transaction or purchase that you made?  Frankly, I don’t even remember how to write a check!

Anne, former Kiva fellow at SMEP and I shuffle loan forms to choose borrowers to randomly audit for Kiva

Everyday in Kenya, paper loan...

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Feb 2, 2010 KE Kenya

Hezron Murinde is a happy man. After 20 years of subsistence farming in a hilly region of Kenya’s Central Province, he’s earning a profit. It started with a chaff cutter. A chaff cutter is a big, cranky device that chops feed into small enough pieces for livestock to eat (and livestock eat a lot). The chaff cutter led to the cow. Not just any cow, but a high-yield dairy cow that produces enough milk to out-gross all the maize and beans Hezron grows across acres of land.

Hezron and...

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