Stories tagged with agriculture

Aug 8, 2015 RW Rwanda
This summer, I have the privilege of working with one of Kiva's Field Partners, Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB), in Kigali, Rwanda. As part of their semi-annual roadshow, the UOB management team traveled around Rwanda visiting each of the 13 branches and meeting borrowers. While UOB's default rate is low, 2.1%, the most recent roadshow focused on defaulted group loans (see definition below) with the desire to understand (1) why groups default and (2) how this can be prevented in the future.

Defaulted Group Loans: Loans...
Continue Reading >>
Jul 7, 2015 US United States

Blair, a successful Kiva Zip borrower, microloan evangelist, and bug expert.

If you see a bug in your house, do you reach for a can of Raid? Blair Leano-Helvey, a Kiva Zip borrower in Louisville, KY, wants you to know there’s a better solution. Better for you and your family, better for the planet, and better for small business....

Continue Reading >>
Jun 6, 2015 ML Mali
Imagine you’re a Malian farmer. Once a year you plant your corn, your sorghum, your peanuts, your millet. You pray for solid rainfall and a large enough harvest to feed your family for the year. Once you harvest your crops and sell what you can, you fret about how you’ll manage your money over the next several months, when your income is sporadic and unreliable. Since you live in a rural area, very far from the nearest paved road, storing your money in a bank isn’t really an option. And of course you support your family and friends when they get sick or encounter some other financial burden.... Continue Reading >>
May 5, 2015 HN Honduras
Los Pinos Monquecagua Group in their potato field

As a Kiva Fellow working in Honduras, I have had the opportunity to visit an array of impressive borrowers, a large number of whom are smallholder farmers. Although their stories are inspiring, a common theme many have shared with me is the adverse impact of the middleman.

Locally referred to as an “intermediary” or “coyote,” the middleman will often be the only viable option many smallholder farmers have for both the purchase of agricultural inputs... Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2015 KG Kyrgyzstan

As the first microfinance institution in Central Asia to receive a full banking license in November 2012, Bai Tushum Bank has transformed itself from having 400 clients and a US$600,000 portfolio in the year 2000 to more than 28,000 clients and a US$102 million portfolio today.

I had the opportunity to chat with Gulnara Shamshieva, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bai Tushum Bank, on how the organization has kept social mission at the heart of its growth in the last 15 years and where it is heading in the next five years.

Gulnara Shamshieva has been the... Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2015 KE Kenya
For three days in February, I visited Kiva borrowers in Nyanza Province near Lake Victoria in the southwest of Kenya. The visits took me to the city of Kisii and the nearby towns of Nyamira and Kenyenya via countless pickup truck, boda-boda, and matatu rides. Although it was invaluable to see a side of Kenya other than my base of Nairobi, the remoteness of the region gave me a new appreciation for the hard work that Kiva partners put in to service our clients.

A typical farm road in Kisii County
... Continue Reading >>
Feb 2, 2015 KG Kyrgyzstan

It is a delight to meet Munara. She is 60 years old, chatty and bubbly, ever ready to pose for photos and talk about her family and farm. Her personality seems to rub off on her family, both her sons, Tolon and Bakyt, also have warm personalities. They ask many questions about Kiva and the Internet.

Her husband, Abakir, is more quiet, but is still very eager to put on his best fur hat to match the beautiful scarf that his wife has put on for the photo below. They live in a small one-bedroom house in a village in Kyrgyzstan. The kitchen is built as a part of the... Continue Reading >>
Nov 11, 2014 PY Paraguay
So we've all been there. At least I have. I'm starting up the Kiva website to go look for a new borrower to support. I might click on one of the pictures right on the homepage, because something catches my attention. A smile, an animal that snuck onto the image, a background that looks intriguing. But I'd quickly get on to the filters, and the first one I check is always the same: only show me loans of women borrowers. How discriminatory, right? So like I said, I'm guilty of the same crime, but instead of just arguing with gender equality, let me give you two good reasons to support a...
Continue Reading >>
Jun 6, 2014 US United States

If you ever get the chance to visit Richmond, you will most likely spend some time in an area called Carytown. Strolling down West Cary Street you can linger at restaurants, and shop in one of the many locally owned establishments on the street. You will also see not one, not two, and not even three, but four grocery stores all within a few blocks of one another. There is certainly no shortage of access to fresh food in this area.

Other areas of Richmond aren’t as... Continue Reading >>
May 5, 2014 UG Uganda
John Bosco and me in his farm as he proudly holds up his Kiva Profile

Sitting across from John Bosco in the living room of his modest home in rural Uganda, I smiled as he introduced me to his two youngest children. He then told me how he’d used his Kiva loan to purchase fertilizer and a pesticide spray pump to improve his farm. When I asked him if he had any other sources of income he beamed proudly before reviewing his businesses: poultry, pigs, a fish pond, goat trading, and plantain and coffee farming.
... Continue Reading >>