Mar 31, 2009

The first quarter of 2009 has seen many amazing stories from Kiva Fellows in the field. Let’s take a look back at some of the remarkable blog posts you may have missed! Top 5 most viewed blog entries:

With almost 6000 views, Kieran Ball takes the internet community by storm with his post featuring a phenomenal video tracking a loan from London to Cambodia. You can also view the translated Spanish and French versions of the video here: Un Punado de Dolares/ Une Poignee de Dollars.

  • Fistful of Dollars: The Story of a Kiva.org Loan by...
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    Mar 31, 2009 SN Senegal

    Imagine that you’re a young West African woman.  You live in a small village, and you had to quit school at a young age to help your parents take care of your brothers and sisters, so employment prospects are slim.

    Your grandmother approaches you with a job offer.  She tells you that, with the career that she has in mind, you could make up to $200 a day, along with gifts of palm oil, yams, and chickens.  You would be carrying on a family tradition, a religious tradition, and a cultural tradition, and the people in your town would respect you and your work.

    Sounds good,...

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    Mar 30, 2009

    After about 6 weeks being out in the field and working with my MFI, I sent the following email to the 7th class kiva fellows:

    I have a burning question I’d like to ask all of you: now that you’ve been working with your respective mfi’s for some time now, what do you think about microfinance (in general)? Any good surprises? Any bad surprises?

    What followed was a long, fascinating discussion that we thought would be a good idea to publish here. I’ve posted the replies as comments to this post. Hope you enjoy!

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    Mar 30, 2009 GT Guatemala

    **Warning: Do not read if you are my parents**

    Yesterday morning the secretary of FAPE (the MFI I am working with here in Guatemala City) woke up at 4:30am. As she left her house she kissed her 3-year-old son goodbye and told him that if she didn’t come home tonight he should know that she loves him. She then waited at the bus stop for over 2 hours for a city bus to bring her the 5 miles to the FAPE office.

    Guatemala City (“Guate”) is in a public transportation crisis. It’s taken me awhile to...

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    Mar 27, 2009 VN Vietnam

    According to the author of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, Asians are typically better at math because rice farming is so much more labor and time intensive than all other forms of agriculture. While we don’t necessarily agree with the math side of his argument, we agree with the difficulty of rice farming.

    Many of the Vietnamese Kiva borrowers are themselves rice farmers. In order to appreciate and gain a sense of what the life of a Vietnamese Kiva borrower is like, we, the two Kiva Fellows in Vietnam, took the...

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    Mar 27, 2009 VN Vietnam

    (cont’d from Kiva Fellows IN the field – Part 1)

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    Mar 27, 2009 KH Cambodia

    For many NGO’s and even corporate offices, “the field” refers to branch offices and client meetings held outside of company headquarters. “Going into the field” is a very commonly used phrase on the Kiva Fellows blog. This broad definition applies to the work of Kiva Fellows as well, but we get to say we are “off to the field” with extra pizazz because, well – we literally go to the fields.

    Step into my office...

    (You...

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    Mar 27, 2009 KE Kenya

    Neat pajamas. That was one of two things I got out of having Amoebic Dysentery last week. The other, was a new appreciation for the work that K-MET, the development corporation with a small micro-finance wing, is doing.

    Bad Food. Neat Pajamas.

    I had been in Kisumu, Kenya for nearly three weeks and was really starting to hit my stride when the stomach rumble that is all too familiar to my fellow fellows rudely interrupted me. I’ll leave out the nasty parts but...

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    Mar 27, 2009 UG Uganda

    To understand the interest rate that Pearl Microfinance charges its clients takes more than a brief look at a few numbers.

    If you ask someone at Pearl what the interest rate is on Pearl loans, they will tell you “2.5%.” This means that there is a 2.5% per month interest rate. 2.5% interest is charged on the original loan amount rather than the balance remaining – in technical terms this is a flat interest rate rather than a declining interest rate. With a flat interest rate, over in a year, the clients would be charged 30% of the original loan size, and with the declining balance...

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    Mar 26, 2009 TJ Tajikistan

    At 7:15am in the morning, I got into a car with my MFI’s boss and three other employees. They were headed to Kurgan-Tube, a town about 150km from the border of Afghanistan, to check out a few things at their local branch and offered me to come along. Since this would be a good opportunity to meet with a few micro-finance borrowers in that area, I jumped at the opportunity.

    When I got to the branch office, one of their loan officers offered to take me to a handful of his clients that were coming to an end of paying back their loans. These are typical micro-finance customers and...

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