October 2016. Three people, one car, and a long day ahead. For the first time of my fellowship here, I will be out of Ouagadougou, for the first time I will be meeting borrowers’ groups. And no less than 4 are scheduled today! I feel so excited to finally be out there meeting Kiva’s and Microstart’s borrowers! Fast forward… October 2016, at the end of a very long day. Three people. One car. 3 chickens. MY chickens. Because I’m Nassara (the local word for “white person”),... Continue Reading >>
“We have very productive land here. We just need enough water to grow our crops” Irene said repeatedly as we were taking a tour of her farm in Kalamba, Kenya. Irene and her family’s primary business is managing their three-acre farm that sits in Makueni County in central Kenya. On their land, Irene grows a variety of crops including peas, tomatoes, maize and mangos. While the family has had several successful months of higher than average yields, Irene expressed her anxiety of having enough water in the coming months as we toured her farm. Irene’s concerns were not unique. I also visited... Continue Reading >>
Tattoos, t-shirts and elaborate sugar skulls have become increasingly popular in art and fashion, but do you know the cultural significance behind these intricate designs?
Dia de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America, though it is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated. Assured that...Continue Reading >>
Coffee options in Monrovia are limited. Nescafe is typically the go-to option. Coffee grounds are sold at supermarkets, but they don't come cheap. There is one store with local Liberian beans, but then you have to grind your beans before making coffee. Who has time for that? So far, I’ve resorted to reusing grounds that I brought from home. This at least gets me my morning kick. But what happens when I want to go to a coffee shop? Where could I go? There are three options I know of in Monrovia. There’s Kaldi’s Coffee, outside of the Royal Hotel, which has amazing pastries and pretty decent... Continue Reading >>
This is Mrs. Giang! Mrs. Giang has two children, a boy and a girl, who she has raised on her own since her husband passed away. She has been managing a successful tofu making and selling business in Thanh Hoa for eight years. Mrs. Giang recently applied for and received a Kiva loan to purchase an additional, newer, tofu making machine. Her old machine would constantly break and even when it did work, it was very slow. ... Continue Reading >>
When most people think of entrepreneurship in developing countries, they do not think of innovation. Even in cases of extreme growth, such as in China, most wealth and development comes from copying what has worked in other places in the past. This is what is known as 1 --> n innovation. No truly new ideas are required; one simply has to copy what has worked n times. 0 --> 1 innovation is qualitatively different: it requires novel ideas. ... Continue Reading >>
I had the opportunity to meet some inspiring fisherwomen in Thanh Hoa this week! Two of them said they were able to quadruple their incomes as a result of receiving loans from Kiva over the course of 8 years. They couldn't ever have afforded to buy the technology, tools and large fishing nets needed to expand their fishing businesses without loans from Kiva. I knew Kiva was impactful, but it's very exciting to see and hear the positive impact in the flesh! (From the left: Nhung, Thuy and Binh) Here are the nets Nhung received with her Kiva loan: ... Continue Reading >>