Jun 2, 2009 GH Ghana

By Nancy Tuller, KF8 Ghana, Africa

“Akwaaba!”  (Welcome!), I heard, over and over in my first few days here in Ghana, and what a wonderful welcome it has been!  When I stepped outside the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, my heart lept at the feel of the warm and humid summer night clinging to my skin and the cacophony of voices in Twi, which is the most commonly spoken language here in Ghana.  It sounded to me like a kind of chaotic harmony, blending perfectly with snatches of disparate Ghanaian music coming from various vehicles as I left the airport for my hotel.  Every face...

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Jun 1, 2009 ID Indonesia

By Zev Lowe, KF 8 Indonesia

The US dollar has recently risen significantly against many currencies. When I arrived in Bali to begin my Kiva Fellowship with DINARI Foundation, I received 10,295 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) for each of my US dollars. This is 10% higher than a year ago, when the US dollar was worth 9,350 IDR.

How does this fluctuation in exchange rates affect Kiva lenders, partners, and borrowers? Does this mean that an Indonesian farmer or food vendor is left having to bear the burden of the strengthening dollar?

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May 29, 2009 PE Peru

What is your dream for your future?  As a Kiva Fellow living in Puno, Peru, writing journals for Kiva and Manuela Ramos entrepreneurs, this is a question I have asked approximately 150 women.  Over the last three and a half months, one of my main responsibilities as a fellow has been to meet the entrepreneurs of Manuela Ramos who have been funded through Kiva and to write journals about their lives, their businesses and the loans that help them succeed in these businesses.  In order to gather the information needed to write these journals, I travel to bank meetings or to the entrepreneur’s...

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May 29, 2009 KE Kenya

By Brett Dobbs, KF7 Kenya

While an estimated half of Kenyans with AIDS are receiving anti-retroviral treatment, only about a third of Kenyan children are. In a Feb. 5th 2009 report issued by Human Rights Watch, the authors listed two primary reasons for the gap in care. The first, familiar to those in micro finance, is the lack of access to major health centers. Like banks, the best hospitals are located in major urban centers and cater to the slim minority that can afford steep hospital bills.

Second, many caregivers do not take their children for testing because of “stigma...

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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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