Stories tagged with Uncategorized

Oct 10, 2012 BF Burkina Faso

Diana Biggs | KF 18 | Burkina Faso

I’d like to think the title of this post sums up my experience in Burkina Faso – perhaps even both professional and personally. I’ll focus on the former here and try to take you through my journey.

Expectations: As a Kiva Fellow, it’s likely you’re a Type A (if on the quirky end), dedicated, well-traveled, highly educated young person, perhaps an experienced professional looking to Pivot (see Patrick’s post for more on that) or mid-studies in a Masters program. Whilst...

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Oct 10, 2012 GO Global Update

I recently ran a quick survey of my fellow Fellows to find out what we were all doing at the age of 17. We generally consider ourselves a pretty ambitious, well-travelled, well-read bunch; these days, at least. Responses I got spanned the following:

‘I was sneaking into bars in Costa Rica, where I was studying abroad. Upon my return, I was plotting my next escape from my boring hometown.’
‘Slowly slowly subbing all the liquor in my parents’ cabinet for water’
‘I was at Miss Porter’s School for Girls, sneaking off in...

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Sep 9, 2012 NI Nicaragua

He is named Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum and is on the Forbes 40 under 40 list.
It is easy to become impressed, maybe intimidated by a person that holds such accolades. But Premal Shah, president of Kiva, is the last person to become intimidated by. However, impressed? Yes, highly. And he was coming my way to Nicaragua.

Premal Shah’s lender page on Kiva. Note that he made over 300 loans.

The only time I...

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Sep 9, 2012 ZA South Africa

In January of this year, a fatal stampede occurred at the University of Johannesburg while students and parents waited at the University’s gates, anxious to secure one of several hundred last-chance places. The stampede left one dead and several injured, and is a tragedy emblematic of the societal difficulties engendered by lack of access to education in South Africa. Last year, About 85,000 students had applied for the roughly 11,000 seats available at the University of Johannesburg; 20,000 more than the previous year. While access to education is tough to come by, there are organisations...

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Sep 9, 2012 KE Kenya

“Work collectively, live individually”

-  Tomáš Baťa, Founder of Bata Shoes

There’s a term I learned at Kiva training – “PIVOT”.

I think it’s a cool word.  For me pivoting evokes digging in one foot, turning on the spot, and heading in a completely different direction.

In Kiva Fellows training it was used to refer to the change in direction that Kiva was undertaking – motivating their current partners and bringing on new...

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Sep 9, 2012 KE Kenya

One of the most effective ways of improving Kiva’s relationship with its partners is travelling to the branches and providing Kiva Training.  Kiva training involves a refresher for the Credit Officers – the ones who make microfinance really work on the ground – about what Kiva is, how it works, why it’s important, what they need to do for a Kiva loan and finally – taking GREAT photos!

Now, I’m not a natural photographer, but as you can see from some...

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Aug 8, 2012 KE Kenya

My Fellowship workplan has been focused a little more on the technical side of things, with more application programming and appraisal analysis than borrower verifications. From such projects, and also because I come from a banking, lending and risk management background, it seems fitting to at least put forth some observations regarding the use of credit scores across the Kenya micro landscape. However, the way we approach credit scoring in the USA is almost opposite from current practices here, where aggregated financial data at the individual level could still be years away....

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Aug 8, 2012 UG Uganda

On my seemingly endless journey from NYC to Kampala, Uganda, I barely slept at all.

Free movies on the plane, my recently updated Spotify playlists, even SkyMall – none of it appealed to me.  Why?  I was so engrossed in my book, Freedom From Want, that tells the story of BRAC and how it evolved from a small, temporary solution to a devastating cyclone that hit Bangladesh in 1970 to today being the largest development organization in the world by many counts.

We all are familiar with Bangladesh’s other major development...

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Aug 8, 2012 KE Kenya

Sitting in the Virgin Atlantic flight to London after 10 weeks in the field, I knew of one thing with absolute certainty – Kenya will rightfully own a piece of me forever.

Never have I found myself in a new country, expecting it to change me. But Kenya surpassed all unreasonable expectations. Seeing such diversity of nature, living in local communities, soaking in the culture, meeting small people with big dreams… I transformed myself.

All because I followed a basic survival model I like to call -

The...

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Aug 8, 2012 GO Global Update

Julie and the “PV girls” of BRAC Uganda’s ELA program

This week has only brought us one blog from our fellows in the field, but it is definitely worth a read. Julie Kriegshaber, our fellow in Uganda has been working with BRAC Uganda and has seen firsthand the positive effect that its Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program has had on the local community. In her blog post “Empowering Women through…...

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