What do Miskito, Rama, Garifuna, Spanish, Creole, and English have in common? Well, nothing really, besides the fact that you can hear all of them within a block in Bluefields, on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua – a place where international organizations and tourists rarely venture. While a number of these languages are, in essence, subsets of others, I am hard pressed to come up with another place of such linguistic variety (no, Times Square doesn’t count). Bluefields is, without question, a sociolinguist’s paradise.... Continue Reading >>
Stories from Nicaragua
By Gabriel Castillo, KF11, Nicaragua
Note: At the time of this blog posting, the Nicaraguan currency, the Cordoba, is about 21 to 1 US Dollar.
It had been a long week and I had looked forward to getting away for the weekend. The plan was to grab a book and spend a relaxing couple of days in “La Boquita,” a beach about 20 km from Diriamba, the small town where my grandmother’s from. My plan was to relax and not think about work. Soon I would learn, however, that when your work involves development and you are living in a developing country, getting away...Continue Reading >>
Many Kiva users may be familiar with the general act of lending through Kiva, but what about the stories that are posted to Kiva’s website? Where’s the action? Where’s the drama? What kind of work goes into providing the content on a Kiva entrepreneur’s profile and who are the players? Well, you’ll have to wait for the drama (there, at least you have suspense). For now, I will give you a quick narrative of a typical event and illustrate the players. The event took place last week.
I had just received an email about a duplicate loan that one of the Kiva Field Partners (aka...Continue Reading >>
By Gabriel Castillo, KF11 Nicaragua
At 6am I was in Guatemala, a few hundred meters from the border with El Salvador. Later, crossed the borders into El Salvador and Honduras. It is now 10pm and I have made my way into Nicaragua. My final destination is just under 4 hours from here, in the Nicaraguan Capital of Managua.
Just a few weeks ago I was in San Francisco, California training to be a Kiva Fellow. Now, It has been 10 days and 3,500 miles since I set out, on motorcycle, from San Francisco, to start my placement as a Kiva Fellow in Nicaragua.
It is...Continue Reading >>
By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua
Many blogs have been written on the subject of borrower verification visits. In the borrower verification (BV) process, ten borrowers are randomly selected from the institution’s list of current loans and visited to confirm that what Kiva has posted on the website is what is actually happening in the field. To avoid various levels of fraud, neither the borrower nor the institution are supposed to have much notice of the visit (several days maximum, for planning purposes). Due to these factors, BV is typically the one project in which we...Continue Reading >>
By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua
In the nearly eight months that I have been a Kiva Fellow, I have noticed that an increasingly common response people have when I tell them we fund microfinance institutions is: “that’s great, but aren’t those guys just getting really rich by charging the poor tons of money on their loans?” It seems as though recent press has given microfinance somewhat of a tarnished reputation.
It is often the case that unless one is directly involved in an industry, it is difficult to know what exactly is going...Continue Reading >>
By Monica Hamlett, KF10, Managua, Nicaragua
I mentioned in a previous blog that the field partner I have been working with, ADIM in Managua, Nicaragua, hosts education seminars for their clients. Last Friday I had the opportunity to participate in their Human Development course.
ADIM publishes various workbooks for these courses, holds very regular classes, and takes the education portion of their role very seriously. From the very beginning I have been impressed by the social aspect of this microfinance institution, but yet, this role they take is the same...Continue Reading >>
By Monica Hamlett, KF10 Managua, Nicaragua
Nicaragua is in limbo of a new law as we speak, one of the mandates is an interest rate ceiling for microfinance institutions. So I did a little research to keep up with the current events.
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) published a donor brief titled, “The Impact of Interest Rate Ceilings on Microfinance”. Because I know how intoxicating the title is and the temptation to read is nearly unbearable, I will take the liberty of highlighting a few key points.
So, if we put a cap on the rate will we...Continue Reading >>
In this scenario I am Lassie and you are Timmy. I’m all worked up because I’m watching helplessly as a senseless law is passed, a law which has the potential to seriously damage the microfinance sector in Nicaragua and rob many of the poor of financial growth and opportunity. So be patient and listen close as I bark at you…
June 2008: A group of farmers, led by Omar Gonzalez...Continue Reading >>
- ADIM is The Alternative Association for the Integral Development of Women,
- ADIM is one field partner in Nicaragua who works with Kiva – choosing borrowers, taking their pictures, collecting repayments… all the stuff going on behind the scenes,
- ADIM is an awesome microfinance institution, and I’m not the only one who thinks so…
In 2009 ASOMIF (The Nicaraguan Association for Micro Finance Institutions) awarded ADIM “Best Practices in Microfinance for Gender...