Through Kiva, lenders are able to reach out to the far corners of the planet and in a very tangible way affect a change. With teleportation technology or a truly global financial system still being a way off, it’s not like your $25 instantaneously appears in your chosen borrower’s hand. There are MFIs who act as facilitators, this fact has given birth to a multitude of discussions concerning distinctions and degrees of P2P, these however will not be the subject of this blog entry. For my purposes it is sufficient that a connection is made – and one is, whichever way you...Continue Reading >>
Stories from Sierra Leone
So Freetown is not much of a town and for a capital city it is pretty dismal. It’s not a bad place though – friendly and if you take care not to step in front of a car, you can walk the streets safely at any time of day. The latter being a lot more than can be said for some of the more prosperous cities on the continent, think Nairobi, Johannesburg etc.
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by Stephanie Meyer, KF9, Sierra Leone
I first met Santos through a mutual friend of ours, Dan, who is here in Makeni working at the orthopedic clinic in town (almost exclusively with amputees). Like many of the adult amputees here in Sierra Leone, Santos has a harrowing war-story to tell that reads like something straight out of the film “Blood Diamond”. This is not what is striking about him, however.
What is amazing about Santos is his ability to thrive. He lives just outside Makeni in the Oslo Amputee Settlement. Oslo...Continue Reading >>
by Stephanie Meyer, KF9, Sierra Leone
I eat at Kumba’s at least three times a week. I’ve always been the type that likes to have my “regular spots” – my coffee shop, my bar, my newsstand. I like to think of Kumba’s as my lunch spot. It doesn’t hurt that everything is so homey. There are only three tables, so people tend to share and chat. By the time I had made three visits, I was granted to privilege of walking through the door to “Eh! Step-nie!” followed by enquiries after the folks I usually eat with and their whereabouts. The food is tasty and...Continue Reading >>
By Ibrahim Oumarr Jalloh, Kiva Coordinator, Salone Microfinance Trust, Sierra Leone
There is a lot of wealth at the top of a palm-tree. Many would like to reap the benefits it possesses.
The palm-wine taper wants the palm-wine, the palm-oil producer wants the palm-oil, the mats designers and broom makers want the palm-leaves – even the snakes and rats want to feed from the palm fruits.
There are no rules about who is allowed to try to climb and reach the top of the palm tree to get what they want, but it is clear,...Continue Reading >>
By Jenny E. Kim, Sierra Leone
My taxi driver Sharif is a 001– he eats 0 breakfast, 0 lunch, and 1 dinner. First started by university students in Freetown, classmates used the labeling system to identify those who were able to share meals and those who could not. The system is a reminder that in Sierra Leone access to basics necessities are limited. Food, clean water, roads, and electricity are all challenges. As the local currency continues its downward trajectory, in no other way does the average Sierra Leonean feel the economic pressures more than he does with...Continue Reading >>
by Stephanie Meyer, KF9
So after three hectic days, 30 hours of flying, a water taxi, a car ride, and a lot of help from friends, I have arrived at my MFI post in Makeni, Sierra Leone, with Salone Microfinance Trust (hereafter, SMT). (Never heard of Makeni? Check it out HERE) Having traveled long-term in Africa before, I was quite proud of the knowledge that I had, and fairly confident in my ability to get around the ins and outs of life in Sierra Leone once I arrived. What I found, however, is that I have a lot to re-learn…
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By Jenny Kim, KF8 Sierra Leone
When I told people I was headed to Sierra Leone to work with a local NGO the universal response was “have you thought this through” and “be careful”. More than 4 years after UN Peacekeeping forces pulled out of Sierra Leone following a brutal and devastating 11 year civil war, people continue to associate Sierra Leone with violence or with the Hollywood blockbuster film Blood Diamonds. I can’t say I was that much more enlightened when I chose to live and work in Freetown, the capital city. After grabbing several books, a couple of...Continue Reading >>
By Adam Grenier, KF6 Sierra Leone
In May 2008, Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) launched an agricultural loan product to clients in the remote farming villages surrounding the city of Kabala, Sierra Leone. The agricultural loan product is designed to stimulate the agribusiness sector. The loan provides subsistence farmers with a capital infusion into their farms for the purpose of increasing their production. Most commonly, the capital is used to purchase seeds, fertilizer and labor. These are the inputs, so to speak. With more inputs,...Continue Reading >>