Mary is 38 years old and mother to a 7 year old child.
In just over 2 years she has gone from selling vegetables at the roadside to being the proud owner of a hair salon with 2 employees, and has plans to open another shop in the near future.
“I always wanted a hairdressing salon. At first, whilst still selling vegetables, I diversified...Continue Reading >>
We've all heard this many a time and every time the unexpected occurs, it catches us by surprise. We feel like we've lost a bit of control (if only for a short moment) because we were so meticulous about our planning and we wonder how we could of found ourselves in such a situation. This is especially true when you're on the road; sometimes the unexpected can become a pleasant surprise, where you get lost in a city, but are still able to maintain a sense of calm, as you... Continue Reading >>
I’ve been on quite a few roadtrips in my life, but this past month in Timor-Leste I embarked on the ultimate roadtripping adventure, complete with dusty dirt roads, winding seaside cliffs, steep rocky mountains, new friends picked up along the way, overnights in obscure places, a five-song Bob Marley playlist, and many, many unexpected road blocks. The route was designed with one mission in mind: to meet ten Kiva borrowers and verify that their information was accurate on the Kiva website (and to chat and hear about how the loan has helped their business!). The task sounded easy enough. Since... Continue Reading >>
There are two very fun parts about my Kiva fellowship: working in NYC and interacting with Kiva lenders about Accion East clients. I have been a Kiva lender since 2011, but it wasn’t until I joined Accion East as a fellow that I started participating in Kiva lending teams. When an Accion East staff member asked me what a lending team was, I said “basically, you can talk to and lend with people... Continue Reading >>
Kiva lenders make loans to individuals seeking to improve their business. They support expanding access to capital for these entrepreneurs. Most people know Kiva for its work across the globe – but did you know that includes the US? Kiva works with US-based microfinance institutions to address the lack of access to capital small businesses face around the world. In the US, we hear a lot about the importance of small businesses. The vast majority of these small businesses employ fewer than ten... Continue Reading >>
Life under a mosquito net is anything but ordinary; it’s extraordinary. You may think of it as simply an encased existence for the sole purpose of rest without interruption from animals (I would say insects, but that doesn’t include reptiles) that have the potential to disturb your sleep or pass along potential ailments…but it’s so much more than that. First, let’s consider the preparation that goes into constructing this life. After purchasing a (hopefully) sizeable net, it should then be... Continue Reading >>
Here’s a pop quiz question: how do you find a borrower in rural Kosovo? How about when no one has their address, and the loan officer handling their case has left the microfinance partner organization you’re working with? Part of a Kiva Fellow’s job is to conduct something called a borrower verification, or BV. A BV is an audit of sorts; fellows are tasked with tracking down ten borrowers and checking to make sure that the information that Kiva has on file matches reality. The tricky part is that borrowers can be difficult to find. This is particularly true in Kosovo, where, if granted the... Continue Reading >>
A severe drought has affected Nicaragua during 2014 on what is thought to be the worst in the last three decades. In response, rural communities have started managing their natural resources better and designed strategies to implement a change in rural Nicaragua. During one of my visits to a borrower I found an inspiring story of a group of women having training sessions on food preparation and cooking tips. They mainly work with three native products that grow abundantly in central Nicaragua: Pejibaye, Yuca, Quequisque. Continue Reading >>