One of the highlights of the Kiva Fellowship is the opportunity to live somewhere far from home and learn about a new culture. I've met dozens of Kiva Zip trustees and borrowers during my three months in Kenya and unexpectedly forged a strong connection with one in particular. I first met Joseph* when he visited the Kiva office for a trustee interview. Joseph has an extensive background of community development and now continues his work as a pastor in Kenya, providing financial and educational services to his community. As a civic leader, he is a typical trustee that puts a great amount...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Nairobi
One of the best parts of the Kiva Fellowship is the anticipation while awaiting the location of your placement, which could be nearly anywhere Kiva loans are available. Wouldn’t it be great to stroll by the Taj Mahal on the way to work, gallop on horseback through the plains of Mongolia, or take in a sunset on a Samoan beach?
... Continue Reading >>
Resourcefulness is perhaps the most essential trait for any entrepreneur. In Nairobi’s Kibera district, the largest slum in Africa, that trait is apparent everywhere you look. In an environment where most residents earn no more than $2/day, resourcefulness is the means for survival, and entrepreneurship a vessel for hope.
Traveling around Nairobi, and Kibera in particular, evidence of this “scrappiness” permeates the sights. Security spikes made of broken shards of glass line the walls of housing compounds. Houses are quickly erected... Continue Reading >>
In 2009, at the age of 15, Joyce and her family fled the war in Umoja, Democratic Republic of Congo in search of safe land. One day they heard on the radio that there was safety in Kenya. After two months of traveling, they arrived in Nairobi, with only enough money for some food, transport and the clothes on their back.
After registering with the United Nation’s High Commission for... Continue Reading >>
After completing Kiva Fellows Training in San Francisco, and moving my last few possessions into storage in Chicago, it was time to make the 8000 mile journey to Nairobi and start my fellowship! With the exception of some visa troubles at the airport in Chicago, the journey went relatively simply and smoothly; I passed the time pretty effectively with a combination of in-flight movies, coffee and snacks in... Continue Reading >>
Nowhere is the spirit of Entrepreneurship more rampant than in Gikomba market. Gikomba is the largest second-hand clothes market in East Africa. This open-air market located near the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi is home to hundreds of traders. The traders are small retailers that sell second-hand clothing they purchase from larger distributers for a small profit. This is a bustling market and on any day, you can hear retailers shouting over each other trying to attract customers to their stall.
Recently the market has been plagued with multiple disasters.... Continue Reading >>
Moses Ojwang grew up in Kibera and experienced firsthand the need to develop leadership and catalyze change among the slum’s youth. In 2008, he made improving his community a full-time career by joining Carolina for Kibera (CFK), an NGO partnered with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Kiva Zip. CFK works to expand opportunity for all residents in Kibera, and more specifically, to help them become economically independent.
The organization offers three comprehensive categories of service to the...Continue Reading >>
According to UN Habitat, of the four million people who live in Nairobi, over 60% live in slums, 78% of which do not have running water in their homes. Many struggle to pay their rent of $10-35 per month and rarely have enough food to eat. Their children are very lucky if they are consistently able to attend school. For those in better conditions, this reality becomes all the more confronting when these people are your friends and relatives.
So, when Davis Mkoji got a call in early 2012 inviting him to test...Continue Reading >>
How is Kiva Zip, a direct lending program based on the internet and mobile money transfers, working without the aid of micro-finance institutions on the ground? It begins with and is upheld by one important group of individuals: local community members we train to be trustees.As we near our two year anniversary and celebrate our climbing repayment rate, now at 92%, we would like to honor our top-performing partners through a series of... Continue Reading >>
The media hype may be winding down but many of us here in Kenya are still shaken by the Westgate terrorist attack. While my own experience may not be as compelling as those in the news, it has left me with a deeper compassion for those who live in constant fear.
Early...Continue Reading >>