Stories tagged with Kenya

May 5, 2009 KE Kenya

By Brett Dobbs, KF7 Kenya

While an estimated half of Kenyans with AIDS are receiving anti-retroviral treatment, only about a third of Kenyan children are. In a Feb. 5th 2009 report issued by Human Rights Watch, the authors listed two primary reasons for the gap in care. The first, familiar to those in micro finance, is the lack of access to major health centers. Like banks, the best hospitals are located in major urban centers and cater to the slim minority that can afford steep hospital bills.

Second, many caregivers do not take their children for testing because of “stigma...

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May 5, 2009 KE Kenya

What I’m writing to tell you about is M-PESA! Usually it doesn’t have an exclamation point after it, but I put one there because every time I think about it, I get very excited. M-PESA!

Long story short, M stands for mobile and Pesa is Kiswahili for money. It’s a service that Safaricom, the most popular cell phone service in Kenya, offers (Zain, its largest competitor offers a similar service). Touted as a “branchless banking service”  M-PESA users can deposit and withdraw money on their phone by utilizing a network of agents stationed throughout the country – mostly...

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Apr 4, 2009 KE Kenya

I am living in Kisumu, Kenya. Here is a picture of the street where I volunteer, in the Nyalenda slum.

Walking around the slum, one quickly comes across evidence of the post election violence.  Burned buildings are common.  As are random herds of goats.

White people in Kisumu are usually in self-contained SUVs.  Not too many ever enter the Nyalenda slum.  As a result, as I walk, I am usually chased by children.

If I stay in one place for too long, they gather to stare.

In the slum, you find many teenage girls.  Their stories show...

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Mar 3, 2009 KE Kenya

Neat pajamas. That was one of two things I got out of having Amoebic Dysentery last week. The other, was a new appreciation for the work that K-MET, the development corporation with a small micro-finance wing, is doing.

Bad Food. Neat Pajamas.

I had been in Kisumu, Kenya for nearly three weeks and was really starting to hit my stride when the stomach rumble that is all too familiar to my fellow fellows rudely interrupted me. I’ll leave out the nasty parts but...

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Mar 3, 2009 KE Kenya

“Be late, but get there”

This sticker, prominently displayed on the dashboard of the Mombasa bus, did not inspire much confidence that we would reach our destination in a timely manner, but it at least reassured my safety a bit more than another common sticker – “drive it like you stole it.”

Occasional Frequent maniacal driving aside, you are also most likely already aware of the fact that things in East Africa rarely operate in a way that someone from the United States (my home country) might call prompt....

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Mar 3, 2009 KE Kenya

Not every day as a Kiva Fellow is a good one. There are days when I wait for seven hours for a credit officer to be available to take me to the field to collect journal updates for only two clients. There are hours of intermittent internet in which I am able to load less than one page. There are the clients I meet about whom I would be inspired except that after doing the math I’m not convinced they’ve found a way to run their businesses with a net profit. Luckily, after more than 7 months of victories and setbacks, I think I’m in the black.

Small moments compensate for...

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Jan 1, 2009 KE Kenya

I am volunteering at Kisumu Medical Educational Trust (KMET), which began with the aim of breaking the silence surrounding high maternal mortality from unsafe abortions.  In the Nyanza Province of Kenya, 42% of 15-19 year olds are sexually active, but only 11% use modern contraception.  (Mitchel et al, 2006).  Only eleven percent of sexually active teenagers use condoms, despite the fact that 15% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS.

The KMET office has boxes and boxes of free condoms.  I browsed the selection, impressed.  I felt as though I was browsing the coffee...

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Jan 1, 2009 KE Kenya

“Idhi tich?” Nelson, my compound’s askari (guard), asked as I made my way to the gate. “Adhi tich!” I replied with complete enthusiasm, slightly mangling the Dholuo phrase, but hoping that maybe, just maybe, today I had said it well enough to be understood.

With an encouraging, patient smile, Nelson had me repeat the phrase that explained I was going to work until it was intelligible to him, if not anyone else who might have to suffer the misfortune of hearing my rather hopeless, though enthusiastic, attempts to speak Dholuo.

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Dec 12, 2008 KE Kenya

On November 27-29 ANK held a training seminar for approximately 25 of its borrowers in the Kayole section of Nairobi. Kayole is on the outskirts, about 30 minutes from the city center.

The borrowers were mostly women, and they showed up a little apprehensive as to what they would be doing at the training. None of them have gone through any kind of formal training before and most have them never went to college; some had finished high school.

I was very happy to see that ANK was doing this kind of training. I have long wondered about this gap in microfinance: what good is it...

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Oct 10, 2008 KE Kenya

People always use toothpicks after meals…you don’t “get off” a bus or Matatu, you “alight” (I have actually never heard this word before)…people make “blunders” instead of “mistakes”…Kenya produces great coffee, but since the domestic demand is rather for tea, most places serving coffee here are surprisingly bad…people love eating meat…when I ask people for directions, they assume that I am utterly helpless and may not make it to where I am going…if my colleagues give me directions, they want me to send them an SMS once I arrive, so that they...

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