Stories tagged with Kenya

Jun 6, 2010 KE Kenya

by Robert Karanja, KF 11, Kenya

Joe Biden, US Vice President visited Kenya in early June 2010. This visit holds lots of weight for the people of Kenya as Mr. Biden is the 2nd highest ranking US Government official after our favourite son – President Barack Obama.

Mr. Biden’s message was very clear as an emissary of President Obama. Reforms are ongoing in Kenya and the fact that a referendum to adopt a new constitution is right round the corner – August 4 says lots about the visit to Kenya.

In any event, Kenya remains a very strategic...

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Jun 6, 2010 KE Kenya

Jenny Jin, KF11- Kenya

It’s an exciting time to be in Nairobi, Kenya right now – especially for anyone who’s interested in development.  This city is filled with passionate locals and expats who are working on social enterprises, green companies, and tech startups of all different perspectives and approaches to tackle big challenges.  I arrived in Nairobi six weeks ago after living in Silicon Valley for the past three years, and I found a city even more energetic about innovation than where I had come from.

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Jun 6, 2010 KE Kenya

By Jeremy Gordon, KF11, Kenya

“People like us can’t get a loan. You have to be a member of a group with an influential person in it—we don’t know anyone like that.”
- Rama

The second day I passed him on my way to work, a man on a bright red and chrome boda boda (motorbike) befriended me. Rama is not a Kiva entrepreneur, and though he has been in this business for just over a year and a half, he rents his bike daily. He’ll spend the full retail price of a new motorbike every year in rental fees.

Before I left Mombasa, I asked Rama if...

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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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