Stories tagged with Senegal

Jan 1, 2010 SN Senegal

By Nicki Goh, KF9 Senegal

Now that I am well into my second month here in Senegal, I thought it was worth sharing a little background on the MFI where I am working.

Senegal Ecovillage Microfinance was set up in 2004 by an American volunteer, John Fay, who was carrying out an economic assessment of the village of Louly Ngogom in Senegal. Following interviews with the villagers, John decided to set up a small micro-loan pilot programme to meet the demand for financial services in otherwise un-served communities. In that first year of 2004, he lent...

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Jan 1, 2010 SN Senegal

By Ilmari Soininen,  KF9  Thies, Senegal

Of the forty-eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, how many would you guess have a Mcdonald’s? Why would one care?

Thomas Friedman, the columnist and author, posited “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s”. If one had missed the lesson on causation versus correlation back in statistics class, the answer to ending conflict in Africa would be simple. Step one:open a Mcdonalds in every country on the continent....

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal

By Ilmari Soininen, KF9 in Thies, Senegal

Christmas kicks off a serious week of celebration for Senegal’s Christian minority. Dispersed families unite, meaning a series of sept-place, clando and bus rides from the capital. Like in many parts of the world, roasted chicken (or turkey) is an important part of the Christmas menu here. The bird is carefully prepared, and cooked to tender perfection. Chicken is not an everyday treat for most of Senegal. Indeed, it is quite a luxury item. But why is this so? And can this tell us something about the country’s...

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal

By Nicki Goh, KF9 Senegal

Last week, I took my first field visit to the southern Casamance region of Senegal. Separated from the north of the country by the Gambia, the large Diola population of the Casamance region is primarily involved in fishing, rice cultivation and tourism. However, many SEM borrowers have other types of business: they sell vegetables, make clothing, rent bikes and bake bread. They make their livings providing new goods and services to their communities all thanks to loans that they have had from SEM and Kiva lenders.

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal

By Nicki Goh, KF9 Senegal

After more than 2 months of waiting, the time has finally come for me to put into practice all that I learned back at the KF9 training week in San Francisco. As I sit here at the beginning of my second week working at Senegal Ecovillage Microfinance (SEM) I remember the nervous anticipation and excitement that I felt back in September when I embarked upon this Kiva journey – a journey which has so far included two flights and 3000 miles in a converted Army truck.

During the past 5 weeks that I have spent travelling through West Africa prior...

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal
Ilmari Soininen KF9  UIMCEC Senegal

 

Many developing countries were just beginning to recover from the havoc caused by sky-rocketing food and fuel prices, when the last F-bomb hit – the financial crisis. A year in, what are the effects on Kiva’s borrowers, partner MFIs and the diverse array of countries we work in? Is there reason for optimism for the future?

Credit institutions issuing loans to local clients and then shuffling the risk to investors in the four corners of the world – hmmmm sounds oddly familiar. Fret not, Kiva is not responsible for the...

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Nov 11, 2009 SN Senegal

Ilmari Soininen

KF9  UIMCEC  Dakar, Senegal

Topping up one’s phone credit is never a problem in Dakar – on every street corner you will find one, or usually three or four young men hawking the same exact Orange Telecom cards. They offer the exact same cards, in the exact same spot, at the exact same time. Peanut vendors are equally ubiquitous, often stationed only a feet away from each other, selling the same peanuts, in the same 50 Franc increments.

These vendors often rarely have many other avenues for...

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Jul 7, 2009 SN Senegal

By Abby Gray, KF6/7, Togo & Senegal (now in New York)

In Dakar, this ad provoked vandals to rebel against the culturally inappropriate image. In New York, it wouldn't get a second glance.

If you have to deal with culture shock after 8 months of living in West Africa, New York is one of the most dramatic places to do it. On one hand, the vibrancy and energy of pedestrian-filled, trafficky New York streets isn’t all that different from the dusty...

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May 5, 2009 SN Senegal

My memories of the last eight months away from home are a jumbled mass of color, freedom, fear, patience, frustration, and energy – raw, shifting memories that have not yet arranged themselves into neat, packageable stories that I can pull from the shelf at parties when I get home.

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech on the Togolese Roadside

I have tested my sense of self against new backgrounds, ripped away the familiar context of home to hold my idea of “Abby” up...

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Apr 4, 2009 SN Senegal

"Tea"

Over tiny cups of scalding, frothy sugar water that Senegalese people call “tea,” I have a chance daily to sit around with my fellow MFI employees and talk microfinance. The other day, I was sipping my tea with Moussa, a loan officer, and he told me about how credit is established in Senegal.  Now, in America, a credit rating is a logical thing, based on the percent of your total credit you’re using, the type, duration and size of your credits, and your...

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