May 28, 2009 PE Peru

by Rob Mittelman, KF8 Peru

In the immortal words of Austin Powers, “Allow myself to introduce…myself”.  My name is Rob Mittelman from Ottawa, Canada and I’m a member of KF8 headed to Lima, Peru to work with Edaprospo. When I’m not working as a Kiva Fellow, I’m a PhD in Management Candidate at Carleton University.

When I first traveled to South America and was called gringo, I was very defensive. I always thought it was a pejorative term for Americans. I’m a proud Canadian after all; I’m no gringo.

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May 28, 2009 PE Peru

Three months ago, I came to Tarapoto, Peru armed with all sorts of tools to start my Kiva fellowship; cameras, powerpoint presentations about Kiva, books about microfinance, and a ton of information acquired during training at Kiva headquarters in San Francisco. While all these were useful, nothing could really prepare me for the most challenging part of my fellowship; finding the borrowers I had to interview to get journal updates for Kiva lenders. Just as my colleague Emily struggled to find Kiva borrowers in Puno, Peru, I had a similar set of challenges in the San Martin region,...

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May 26, 2009

One evening last week, Brooklyns’ Borough Hall opened its doors to over hundred information hungry entrepreneurs. Nydia Velazquez, A spunky and bold congresswoman addressed the diverse crowd of entrepreneurs.

This is what she had to say…

Nydia Velasquez from Erica Dorn on Vimeo.

  The recovery package has included…

The economic recovery package will enable up to $50 million to be disbursed in small, community-based loans like microloans that are capped at $35,000 each. In addition to this money, $24 million in technical assistance grants will also be...

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May 26, 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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May 26, 2009 LB Lebanon

Courts and stock markets appear to have very little in common. The first are a revered part of most countries’ legal infrastructure; we cannot imagine life without them. The second, seem to bounce from loved to hated and back again in a matter of hours and are often far from respected; some countries even believe they can do without them altogether. But what do they have in common?

They both play important roles in checking the status quo. Both institutions are often the only places that can bring powerful people and institutions to account for their deeds. Courts, with their...

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May 22, 2009

Training week for the 8th class of Kiva Fellows (KF8) is wrapping up our fifth and final day.  We have another remarkable class of 27 people who will soon be heading to 18 different countries to work with Kiva’s MFI field partners.

This morning I got word that a couple of KF7′s were collaborating on a response to this new class of fellows and we made sure that the KF8 trainees watched each hilarious video.

KF8 viewing Brett Dobb's video from Kenya

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May 22, 2009

The members of the seventh Kiva Fellows class (KF7) recently received some rather startling news:  Kiva is sending out reinforcements.  The team in San Francisco rounded up a new bunch of smart, capable, passionate people (creatively referred to as KF8) to fan out across the globe where they will meet Kiva borrowers, write journal updates, post enriching and exciting material to this blog, raise awareness about the work of their respective host institutions, and take cold showers for two to four months.

Upon hearing the news, Brett Dobbs (KF7, Kenya) and I were overwhelmed with all...

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May 22, 2009 KH Cambodia

Over the last three months, four Kiva Fellows (Katie, Julie, Jeff and Drew) have been working and living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We are so lucky to have spent this time together in such a wonderful place. Alas, our time has come to an end but we have put together a video to share both our time at our individual MFI’s and our time together outside of work.

It is unusual for multiple Kiva Fellows to be located in the...

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May 21, 2009 PE Peru

Some of you may be aware of the definition of the Community, or Village, Bank and the role it plays in many Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).  For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, I’d like to offer a brief history of the Community Bank and it’s function in Manuela Ramos, an MFI and women’s movement in Peru.  Although community banks operate differently in distinct countries and MFIs, the origin of the community bank and it’s general functions are usually the same regardless of the place of operation.

The idea of the Community Bank originated with the development...

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May 21, 2009

Arguably the best things about GHAPE is the execution of their social mission. They take a lot of pride in fostering a sense of community that not only educates their borrowers on topics such as loan management and hygiene, but also allows their members to feel apart of a group that shares in their triumphs and losses. GHAPE organizes centers so that borrowers feel comfortable speaking in their center, and at the same time, there is a professionalism during the meetings. Visiting now 12 of the 28 centers, the slight differences in each center shows that GHAPE gives centers the autonomy to...

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