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.Continue Reading >>
Stories from Kenya
So imagine your first week as a Kiva Fellow placed at a microfinance institution in Nairobi, Kenya. Think about what the place may look like, how the people will greet you, and the overall atmosphere of the office. Now scrap all that, because my first few days at Juhudi Kilimo have been so far above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
The real inspiration for this blog is my new co-worker Steve, the office DJ at Juhudi Kilimo who plays music all day to keep everyone relaxed and at ease. Now I was expecting some local artists and...Continue Reading >>
by Avani Parekh-Bhatt, Kiva Fellow at SMEP in Nairobi, Kenya.
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...Continue Reading >>
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...Continue Reading >>
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...Continue Reading >>
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. “...Continue Reading >>
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...Continue Reading >>
By Rachel Brooks, KF9, Faulu Kenya
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...Continue Reading >>
By Maia Pelleg, KF9, Kenya Agency for the Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET)'
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...Continue Reading >>
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...Continue Reading >>