Stories tagged with Rwanda

May 5, 2016 RW Rwanda
Xaverine is the answer you will most likely get in Nyamasheke, a remote village in west Rwanda.

Xaverine and her knitting machine


The mother of eight taught herself how to use the knitting machine four years ago in the hopes of bringing in additional income to her large family. She has now secured contracts with local schools to knit the blue and white striped sweaters for all the village kids.

Not only does Xaverine support her own family, she wants her business to help the... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2016 RW Rwanda
There is a wide array of tasks a fellow can be assigned during one's time in the field. One task I have found most meaningful is "Borrower Verifications," more affectionately known as BVs at Kiva. Most fellows traded in corporate offices/cubes to serve with Kiva; seeing BV on your work plan is a guaranteed change in scenery (literally) from office cubical walls to the beauty of being in the field. 

I want to share “A day in the life” of my life as a Kiva Fellow with you during a BV in photos. As context, BV is a randomly generated list of 10 borrowers from a particular Kiva... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2016 RW Rwanda
As I bid a bittersweet farewell to new friends and my Rwandan home, I reflect on a truly remarkable six months and my top 5 wins as a Kiva Fellow:

1. Navigating Kigali like a pro. The streets of a new city can be very confusing, especially to a directionally challenged person such as me. Compared to the well-organized grid system of NYC where I lived before, Kigali streets spool around roundabouts and curve with the thousand hills, making it look more like an abstract art piece from above. For a Kiva Fellow trying to live on a budget, and as the... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2016 RW Rwanda
Olive is only 24 years old but has already seen her business grow from strength to strength. What is the secret to her success? Eggs!

Olive showing off her stock


Three years ago, only 21 at the time, Olive started selling rice and vegetables at the market. Two years later she had managed to save up enough profits and take out a Kiva loan to set up her own wholesale business selling eggs.

Eggs are a staple food in Rwanda – high in nutrition, easy to cook and quick to eat – a clear... Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2016 RW Rwanda
The borrowers who I find most inspirational are the ones who go the extra mile to innovate in the hope of achieving a more sustainable income for themselves and their families. However, this commitment usually requires more up front capital than a Rwandan household has available.

That is where Kiva’s field partner Urwego Opportunity Bank comes into play, as it seeks out the innovative women of Rwanda. I had the pleasure of meeting two of their long terms clients – Laetitia and Delianne.

Laetitia invested in a cassava leaf grinder... Continue Reading >>
Dec 12, 2015 RW Rwanda
Traveling is a feast for the mind, eyes, soul, and most of all, stomach. This is a post about what has kept my stomach happy in the last 3 months in East Africa; I’d like to share five East African foods that I’ve enjoyed.

1. Let’s start with the ubiquitous staple dish, the star player in almost every local restaurant – a heaping plate of various starches/carbs with a side of one or two pieces of meat if you want to treat yourself. This is a dish intended for the working man, strangely devoid of the... Continue Reading >>
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 >>
May 5, 2013 AZ Azerbaijan, CL Chile, GT Guatemala, KE Kenya, RW Rwanda
Kiva works with over 193 Field Partners in 68 different countries. As Kiva Fellows, we have the privilege of working directly with these partners in their offices.  You can bet that the definition of "office" ranges pretty wildly across the globe, from cubicle hell to patios with mountain views.  We wanted to open the door (no pun intended) to our offices  and work lives to show you what they are like--the good, the bad, and the "that's interesting".

Why... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2013 GO Global Update

The view on sub-Saharan Africa is changing. No longer do stories of tribal wars, starving children and endemic diseases dominate the updates from the region. A new, more hopeful and optimistic picture is emerging; a reality of solid GDP-growth, more widely practiced reasonably free and fair elections, and a wealth of natural resources that range from oil and gas to diamonds and rare minerals.

... Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2013 RW Rwanda
A result of entrepreneurial success - a cow like this is worth $800

In a post-conflict country like Rwanda, the level of innovation and entrepreneurship, especially amongst women, continues to amaze me. Urwego Opportunity International has more than 50% female borrowers. Many women, post-genocide, embarked on the entrepreneurial route as a way of supporting their families and move towards a more prosperous future. I am curious to hear their stories, and how their lives have improved as a result of hard work and... Continue Reading >>

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