Stories tagged with Kenya

Jan 1, 2010 KE Kenya

by Avani Parekh-Bhatt, Kiva Fellow at SMEP in Nairobi, Kenya.

The "dodo" bird from SMEP

Jambo! I’d like to introduce myself, My name is Avani Parekh-Bhatt, I’m a 9th class Kiva Fellow  and the last of my class to get to the field in Kenya. I hail from Durham, North Carolina. I believe in the power of human relationships, and grassroots led development, and I want to see the real nuts and bolts of...

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Jan 1, 2010 KE Kenya

By Hanna Azemati, KF9 Kenya

Our first Swahili class in the early morning tranquility of the still shuttered Prestige Plaza cafeteria in Kilimani was interjected with a myriad of embarrassing anecdotes of faux pas called forth by each new lesson that Lucy taught us. As Anne, Rachel and I, the three Nairobi Kiva Fellows, can attest, it behooves anyone new to Kenya to learn Swahili as promptly as possible and not because Kenyans don’t speak English. In fact, most Kenyans speak both official languages, English and Swahili, in addition to one of the sixty regional Bantu, Nilotic...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

Jua Kali translates as under the hot sun in Kiswahili but in Kenya it’s a term meant to describe businesses in the “informal sector.” Jua Kali businesses have slightly less infrastructure than your typical lemonade stand. Often times they are just a blanket or some plastic sheeting on the ground, secured with rocks and displaying some limited inventory. The business location is the side of the road or a front stoop (though it still requires a permit).

Sicily has had a used clothing store for the...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

By Anne Hector, KF9, Kenya

At two months into my Kiva fellowship (and woefully late on my blogs…),  I have now interviewed more than 50 micro-borrowers.  The individuals I have met are always moving and impressive, but Jeska Silivano Mlanya truly stands out for her strength, warmth, and resourcefulness.   Just take a moment and look at that face…!

When I visited the SMEP Mombasa branch to train and went out to the field with Beatrice Mbwika, she said, “I have the perfect client for you to meet.  This is my favorite borrower. “...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

By Hanna Azemati, KF9 Kenya

Nairobi is dangerous, polluted and sinister. Nairobi is generous, beautiful and lively.

I woke up on my third morning in Nairobi to the twittering of a myriad of birds intermingled with roosters crowing, the occasional neighbors greeting one another in Swahili and finally the church bells announcing that I could go back to sleep as it was only 6 am.

But it seems to be as early as this that the city wakes up and gets to work. So I too woke up and decided to explore the Upper Hill neighborhood, where I...

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Nov 11, 2009 KE Kenya

By Rachel Brooks, KF9, Faulu Kenya

You'll never find Samuel's cash

The bed is the most common location, according to the Kenyans I asked. But the specific location varies. You can simply keep it between the mattress and the metal box springs or under your pillow or sheet, or you can be more creative. For instance, wrap the bills in paper and place them under one of the legs of the frame to appear as though you are leveling an uneven bed.

The second most...

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Nov 11, 2009 KE Kenya

By Maia Pelleg, KF9, Kenya Agency for the Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET)

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This video was filmed in response to the following interaction I had with a borrower group outside of Nairobi, Kenya…

“Habari. Nina itwa Maia,” I practice saying as I walk into my first group meeting of the day. A KADET credit officer named Gachi,and I are visiting Kiva...

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Nov 11, 2009 KE Kenya

by Rachel Brooks, KF9, Kenya

My favorite Kiva field partner before I started my fellowship was Kisimu Medical & Education Trust, here in Kenya. At K-MET, microfinance is a smaller part of a community-based health organization. They offer loans to providers (many of them volunteers) so that they can maintain or improve their clinics and services. And they have these wonderfully innovative programs to help women and improve reproductive health.

But as much as programs like these make me go weak at the knees, I’ve also really come around to loving what the...

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Oct 10, 2009 KE Kenya

By Anne Hector, KF9 Kenya

When last I posted (http://tiny.cc/pl68v), I was preparing to plunge into Nairobi traffic with the redoubtable intern, Mary Chege, to visit  the Kitengela branch to gather up loans and work with the lending officers on Kiva postings.

Kitengela is a small town of approximately 8000 located one hour southeast of Nairobi.  Once Mary and I successfully navigated our way there, one of SMEP’s local loan officers, Winnie Mwiti, took us out for the day on her usual rounds.  I had never been to a group...

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Oct 10, 2009 KE Kenya

by Rachel Brooks, KF9, Kenya

Faulu Kenya, where I recently began as a Fellow, has a full-time Kiva Coordinator, Zachary Muriithi. He’s a busy guy. He works long hours at Faulu, manages his several small farms, helps run a home for 24 orphans, and preaches on Sunday. He has old and new friends wherever we go and has become an active user of Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.

Still, Pastor Zach was excited for our first big task: completing a borrower verification process. We randomly picked ten of Faulu’s Kiva borrowers for a mini-audit and then...

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