Jun 12, 2009 RW Rwanda

“Allow me to introduce myself”, I’m Laura Buhler, a member of the KF8 class.

I am from Calgary, Canada and have found the transition to life in Rwanda to be very smooth, given just a couple of bumps in the road.

Exactly two weeks in to my Fellowship at Vision Finance Company (VFC) in Kigali, Rwanda, one baggage loss and one hospital visit later, I have settled in to life here in Rwanda. Since arriving, my mind has been flooded with questions and realizations about this new culture. In fact, I am sure that this constant thinking has been the factor that led to my lack of sleep...

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Jun 12, 2009 LB Lebanon

Over 7,000 miles away from San Francisco, I’ve finally arrived in Lebanon to start my fellowship with Al Majmoua , a microfinance institution based in Beirut but with mulitiple branches around the country. Flying from my last connection in Dubai to Beirut, we cross over an endless expanse of desert as we pass over Saudi Arabia and Jordan.  The desert starts to make way to rocky mountain peaks as we fly over Syria and finally I start to see specs of green -al-arz (the cedars) – I’ve arrived.

The noise from the screaming kids (in-flight entertainment system was broken-lovely) and...

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Jun 11, 2009

Tamara Sanderson, KF8 Mongolia

During Kiva Fellows Training, Kiva Fellows Director JD Bergeron emphasized the word connect within Kiva’s mission statement: “to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.”   He said that without the connection factor, Kiva would not exist.

I mentally agreed with him at the time, but after reflecting on my first week in Mongolia, I am realizing the truth of JD’s statement.  Below, you can find a few examples.

Support from Strangers

After 22 hours, 3 flight...

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Jun 10, 2009

Why is it that Kiva gets a bad rep for funding MFIs that give out loans to the people who otherwise would not receive them?! Recently, a blog was written on socialedge.org/blogs about a particular experience a “video journalist” had when she visited MFIs in Cambodia and Mozambique and spoke to “countless Kiva loan recipients” while there. The author’s article was based on the fact that “none of them had succeeded at pulling themselves out of poverty” because of these five reasons:

1) The High Interest Rates Being Charged 2) Inadequate...

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Jun 10, 2009

Maria Shriver and I just made a loan to Elizabeth, the first US Kiva Borrower- next week Elizabeth is cutting my hair!

The adrenaline rush I have right now going onto Kiva’s website and seeing loans for entrepreneurs in the United States might compare with what sports fans feel when they watch a good super bowl game.

It’s so exciting. I log into my Kiva account and can see the borrowers that we have been gathering the last few weeks all the sudden go active on the Kiva website.

Preparing for the U.S. launch has been somewhat of a “top secret” operation over the...

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Jun 10, 2009 PH Philippines

“Kiva Country” is what ASKI-MFI (Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc.) staff like to call the Isabella Province, the region where their Kiva clients live and work. ASKI MFI is a new Kiva partner in the Philippines. Their headquarters are in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija about 3 hours north of Manila, 10 hours if there is traffic and there is always traffic. They’ve been working hard these past months on their Kiva partnership, and are growing quickly. Beyond micro-finance, ASKI also offers many benefits and programs to their clients such as life and health insurance, educational...

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Jun 8, 2009 CM Cameroon

Almost finished with my four months at GHAPE, in Bamenda, Cameroon, I thought I would share with everyone all the “thank yous” I heard while interviewing GHAPE/Kiva borrowers.

To all the Kiva lenders, “I thank them plenty!”

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Jun 8, 2009 KH Cambodia

By design, Microfinance is not sustainable without the dedication of hundreds of thousands of Credit Officers (CO’s) working for Microfinance Institutions (MFI’s) around the world. The Kiva online person-to -person (P2P) lending platform only works because CO’s employed by the 95 Kiva Field Partners in 44 countries are out visiting clients, taking pictures and writing business profiles for our website in addition to their regular loan disbursements and repayment collections. My job as a Kiva Fellow at AMK in Cambodia also relies heavily on the CO’s who bring me out to the field so that I...

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Jun 5, 2009 TZ Tanzania

After reading my post about BRAC Tanzania a few days ago, I imagine that many of you are just chomping at the bit to get more involved with the organization.

Oh you absolutely are, you say?

Well, you’re in luck. There is a BRAC Tanzania Lending Team on Kiva.org that you can join and be surrounded by fellow BRAC Tanzania enthusiasts! We only have 8 members right now, so you should really go to the site, join the lending team and help our BRAC Tanzania Lending Team grow to be as massive as BRAC itself!

Thanks to those 8 people who have joined and together already...

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Jun 4, 2009 NP Nepal

Walking down Ring Road on Monday (the main road that encompasses the cities of Kathmandu and Patan) it felt as though there had been a mass evacuation and I was the only one who didn’t receive the memo. On a road that is usually so congested with traffic that I allow myself five minutes extra travel time in order to cross it, there was not a single vehicle to be seen and ndhonly a scattering of people here and there. The fruit sellers that usually ‘Namaste’ me on my walk into town had vanished and the usual strip of corner shops selling everything from lentils to coca cola had pulled down...

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