Jun 13, 2009 PE Peru

¡La selva no se vende, la selva se defiende!

“The forest is not for sale, The forest we defend!” shouted the community of Ayacucho while pumping their fists in the air.  Sweat dripped down their foreheads in the midday sun and not a soul was dressed for a day at the office.   The spirit of the crowd was overwhelming, as if every person had their heart invested in the political crisis unfolding in Peru, no matter its geographic distance from here.

Hours after my arrival in Ayacucho on Tuesday, while I was still entranced by the cultural beauty of the place and...

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Jun 12, 2009 KH Cambodia

This Wednesday marked a watershed moment for Kiva.org: borrowers from the U.S. made a well-publicized debut on the person-to-person microlending website. It left no doubt that microcredit, seen by many as the province of the poor, had arrived to serve Americans in need.

The floodgates are open, and they sluice both ways.

Kiva’s launch of lending in the U.S. has impassioned many, including a group of people in Cambodia near and dear to me — the staff of Maxima Mikroheranvatho, a Kiva partner microfinance institution where I was a Kiva Fellow from October 2008 to...

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Jun 12, 2009 PH Philippines

Four weeks ago I left my first placement in Cambodia and came to the Philippines where I started my second assignment with Kiva Field Partner ASKI. With each day at ASKI I have been more and more impressed by the dedication of the staff and the amazing programs that they are running.

Last week I started working on a blog post where I plan to conduct video interviews with staff that work on what ASKI calls, their “Beyond Microfinance” programs. These programs include; health insurance, life insurance, community development, housing loans for government built low income housing units...

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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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