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....Continue Reading >>
Stories from 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...Continue Reading >>
Visiting Kiva borrowers is always a special part of a Fellow’s experience. Fellows are the lucky ones who actually go out and meet the people that Kiva capital helps. In some cases we even get to meet the borrowers who we’ve lent money to directly – see Luan & Olivia’s terrific blog on True Connectedness!
As we ramp up Kiva Zip and assess our progress, we have had the additional pleasure of meeting the dynamic people and organizations that have been endorsed as trustees. These folks are from diverse backgrounds –...Continue Reading >>
Kenya’s got milk alright, and it’s a good thing, because just like good ol’ USA and Starbucks, I’m not sure what people here would do without their twice daily milk tea! Milk is big business; an integral part of Kenya’s expanding agricultural sector.
I just returned from Eldoret and the Kerio Valley and while there, I shot video footage for a new cooling plant loan product at my MFI, Juhudi Kilimo, who specializes in...Continue Reading >>
I lived the life of a Kiva Zip borrower for a day as I rafted down the Nile in Uganda. It all started last weekend when the brave expats of Nairobi and Kampala decided to meet in Jinja. Jinja is a quaint city in Uganda serving the best Rolex, and is also the place where the Nile originates. With every natural wonder of the world comes some adventure – a full day Grade 5 rafting trip at the Source.
As a first-timer to extreme action sports in the water, I decided to tune in to every emotion – the anticipation of a class 5 rapid, the heightened fear every...Continue Reading >>
By Patrick Seeton | KF18 | Kenya
I’ve been in Nairobi for just over two weeks (and more importantly three weekends!) and what has struck me most, beyond the friendliness of the people and the ever-present dust and diesel fumes, is the social scene and its social enterprise scenesters.
Kenya has undergone a transformation in recent years – the removal of long time president Daniel Moi in 2002 and subsequent democratic election of current president Mwai Kibaki was the start in a chain of events that has led to a resurgence in Kenya’s standing in the region...Continue Reading >>
By Muskan Chopra | KF18 | Kenya
During our week of training in San Francisco, we were warned about the ‘trough of disillusionment’, where all will not be smooth in the field. Whether we were going to Kenya, Cambodia, Armenia or Peru, we will wake up to tough days where hot water decides to take a holiday or mosquitos find a way through the bed nets.
I often thought to myself – shouldn’t we instead be worrying about our borrowers’ ‘trough of disillusionment’? What’s a day of cold water baths and mosquito bites when thousands of people in the...Continue Reading >>
Varick Schwartz | KF18 | Kenya
As I walk down the dusty, traffic-choked streets of Nairobi on my way to work, I feel the stress melting away. Another cool morning; Kenyans all around wearing coats and sweaters to fend off ‘winter.’ I’m fine in a light shirt, having grown accustomed to ‘summer’ in San Francisco.
The warmth of the people here is part of the reason that it’s easy for me to release stress, to allow immersion within conditions so different. Smiles beget smiles, for the most part. No one is in a hurry; I haven’t...Continue Reading >>
By Muskan Chopra | KF18 | Kenya
Last week I stood at the Equator in Kenya’s Rift Valley, one foot in each hemisphere, and thought to myself – is it really possible that water can circle clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, just 20 meters apart? Can two such opposing forces of nature occur side by side?
Perhaps the Coriolis Effect is a myth, but I am convinced that opposing traits of human nature coexist beautifully in this country. Known to be one of the most unsafe regions in the world, Kenya...Continue Reading >>
It is estimated that,
- 200 million work hours a day are wasted collecting water
- 11% more girls attend school when sanitation is available
- 1 child dies every 20 seconds from water-related disease – 2 years ago, a child died every 15 seconds
- 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness
Women bear the responsibility of water collection in the vast majority (>75%) of households worldwide and here in Kenya that number is even greater. Water is a basic right in the developed world and a danger and...Continue Reading >>