Sep 19, 2008 TG Togo

From the first time I happened across the Kiva Fellows website, I knew I had to apply.  Here was an opportunity to witness first-hand the successes and challenges of microfinance (the most promising poverty alleviation strategy I’ve come across), become fluent in French, and be a part of the cross-cultural, astonishingly successful microlending revolution that is Kiva!!  I generally tend to be somewhat pessimistic – my personal motto is “Expect the worst, and you’ll never be disappointed.”  This time, however, against my better judgment, I let...

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Sep 19, 2008 CM Cameroon

This is my first blog as a kiva fellow and as an individual, so perhaps I will use this time to introduce myself to anyone in the internet community who would like to know.  I am Jen McQuhae, 22, from Vancouver Island, Canada.  I recently completed a four year honours degree in international development with a major in economics at the University of McGill in Montreal.  I have been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of my recent past travelling to a number of countries and working in a variety of contexts.  My last adventure was to Kenya and Tanzania where I worked in HIV clinics,...

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Sep 18, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

My name is Milena Arciszewski and I will be serving as a Kiva Fellow for a full year in Bosnia, Kenya and possibly Tanzania and Cambodia.  My first placement is in Zene za Zene in Sarajevo, which targets women affected by the genocide of the 1990s.

I have to say… I am so excited to be doing this!  For two years, I have worked in a cubicle coated with pictures of giraffes and elephants, daydreaming of escaping the office to pursue a career in international development.  The Kiva Fellowship feels like my golden ticket.

Training has been awesome. We eat curry pizza. Shoes...

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Sep 18, 2008 SL Sierra Leone

Everyone can breathe easy again.  After a brief hiatus between Kiva Fellow rotations, you will be experiencing again soon the joys of reading fresh, new blogs from the field in Sierra Leone.  Hi, I’m Adam Grenier and I’m your new Kiva Fellow heading to Sierra Leone, Africa.  You will witness this exciting adventure thru my eyes.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Guinea in the northeast, Liberia in the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest.  Want to see it on a world map?  Check this out.

I’ll...

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Sep 18, 2008 KE Kenya

Jambo everyone! Or, to prove that I’m “in the know”, Mambo!

Okay, so these may be the only two words I know in Swahili at this point, but I am expecting/hoping that my vocabulary will exponentially increase in the next 13 weeks. At this moment, I am sitting among 29 other, and infinitely more interesting than I, future Fellows in a training session at Kiva headquarters. Here at the Kiva office we have been overeating and learning how to be the very best Fellows we can be (which of course includes learning how to post on this blog!).

This initial post is...

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Sep 18, 2008

I’m here at Kiva HQ, training as part of KF6, or Kiva fellows class 6.  Short take: there is an amazing amount to learn before we go into the field, and these Kiva people — staff, volunteers — are amazing.

We’re learning about Kiva, the organization, how it came to be and where it’s going.   We’ve been taught more about microfinance, and how Kiva partners with and works to strengthen the institutions in the field that actually do the lending.  We’re getting a crash course in the technologies that help make this all happen.  And we’re...

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Sep 18, 2008 TJ Tajikistan

Personally, I really enjoy preparing for a big trip to some far away place.  There are so many unknowns: what will I see, who will I meet, what will I eat, and what type of terrifying illness will I suffer?  But preparing for three months in Tajikistan has been a bit different.

With only a little more than two weeks until my departure, I still have a some pretty important items to secure – like a visa and some very very warm clothing.  I am cramming to learn some essential Russian and Tajiki phrases so that I can actually get myself from the airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to...

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Sep 18, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

I’m the only fellow headed to Azerbaijan from Kiva Fellows 6, so I’m pretty excited to bring word of this fascinating region to those of you who make Kiva such a success. I’ll be visiting each of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions in the region to assist them in any way I can, support Kiva, journal and train the MFIs on new software systems being put into place.

I’ve never been to the Caucasus. It’s largely a blank slate to me. What the Lonely Planet, my Azeri taxi driver last night and previous Kiva Fellows in the area, such as Jonathan...

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Sep 18, 2008 UG Uganda

Everyone is this is room is an experienced traveler.  Collectively, we’ve ventured to the farthest corners of the globe.  Most have spent time in the developing world.  Yet, the excitement level is off the charts as we prepare for our adventures.  I’m humbled by the extraordinary company I find myself so privileged to among.  The learning challenge surpasses my expectations; there’s so much to learn!  This the type of volunteer challenge I’ve been seeking.  One that satisfies a profound social mission while providing a meaningful life expereince and a rare...

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Sep 18, 2008

I am Eviatar Frankel, the new Kiva Fellow for Samoa. Starting in October, I will be spending three months working with South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), the MFI there. Afterward, I will probably be going to Vietnam for another three months, but we’re working on that. Currently, I am in San Francisco for a week long training for all the fellows in this sixth class. It’s been a great experience so far- learning all about microfinance and Kiva, meeting some great people, and having some good fun. The amount of information is empowering, but the complexity can be...

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