Mar 23, 2009 VN Vietnam

Ms. Nguyen Thuy Minh, a Kiva borrower with SEDA

One of my main roles as a fellow with SEDA in Vietnam is interviewing borrowers and then writing a journal update so that lenders can see how the borrower is doing. I have many questions that I like to ask most of the borrowers and one of my favorites is quite simple: What did you do before you started this particular business? This question is great because it really helps me learn about the person I’m interviewing; their...

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Mar 22, 2009 PE Peru

As a Kiva Fellow volunteering for a Microfinance Institution (MFI) in Puno, Peru, one of my responsibilities is to interview women entrepreneurs who have received loans from the MFI, Manuela Ramos, and Kiva.  During the interview the goal is to obtain their photos, learn how the woman used the loan, and gather more information about her life – her hopes, dreams and hardships.  With this information I can, and other fellows and MFI employees can, provide a follow up to the people who have made loans to these entrepreneurs through Kiva...

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Mar 21, 2009 GT Guatemala

Warning: this post has absolutely nothing to do with microfinace. Just gives you a glimpse into what is involved with taking a hot shower here in Nimasac, Guatemala.

When I was first accepted as a Kiva Fellow,  I was asked if I had any “special” requirements. My response was that I wanted to be relatively safe and be able to take a hot shower.

Taking a hot shower is no simple matter in Guatemala. First of all, most homes do not have running water. (this includes the family that I am living with). So, in that situation, here is how you get to take a hot shower....

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Mar 20, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Hi Kiva fans!

My name is Brent, and I’m a member of this class of Kiva Fellows that you haven’t seen on the blog yet. Yeah, my start got a little delayed. But I’d like to think of myself as fashionably late, and getting here just as the party is in full swing. Except that unlike most, this is a party I was actually invited to.

I’ve been placed with AFODENIC, one of Kiva’s field partner’s based out of Managua, Nicaragua. AFODENIC is actually a catchy acronym for...

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Mar 20, 2009 NI Nicaragua

You go and talk to them, of course. 


But how do you know if they’re telling the truth?  How long do you wait on their promise to pay?  What if these promises go on and on without being fulfilled?


How do you gauge how committed they are to eventually paying?

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Mar 20, 2009 ML Mali

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Koumantou, Mali to visit with several solidarity group clients of Soro Yiriwaso.  The women of the Groupe Kokatia graciously allowed me to film the financing of their loan.  Solidarity loans are used broadly at Soro Yiriwaso, and among many of Kiva’s field partner institutions. The strength of a community of women is indeed universal!

I hope that you will enjoy this short movie—the magnicent colors and smiles, in particular.

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Mar 20, 2009 LB Lebanon

Beirut was recently ranked on top of a New York Times list of places to visit in 2009. The reason, luxury hotels, the nightlife, and Lebanon’s vast historic heritage spanning centuries of civilization. That’s not the Lebanon I saw last week during my first field visit. Instead, I went to the southern suburbs of the city, also know as “the suburb” (in Arabic, El-Dahyeh).

My MFI, Ameen, was kind enough to arrange for me to be driven to one of two of its branches in Burj Barajneh where I met the loan officer. I was grateful to be driven here since as soon as we entered the area I...

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Mar 19, 2009 NI Nicaragua

I have been working with ADIM in Nicaragua for just over one month now, enough time to get a pretty advanced rough picture of how this organization works. It has been an interesting four weeks, the first two of which found me frantically trying to keep up with the high-speed pace and lively Spanish chatter of Javier Flores, the organization’s Credit Manager, who is also responsible for managing much of ADIM’s relationship with Kiva. I also found myself with a bit much downtime, which, ironically, stressed me out since I had so much to do during the three months I would be in Nicaragua. We...

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Mar 19, 2009 RW Rwanda

I’ve always been curious about what happens when microfinance clients open businesses in places where there is very little capital. Many operate small shops of household necessities but the placement of such stores is generally based more on proximity to home than a strategic evaluation of which part of town is most profitable. So how do they cope if their customers can’t afford to buy anything? Last week, I got my answer: credit.

Pen and Paper: How to issue credit, the old...

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Mar 18, 2009 PE Peru

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?-it’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

-On the Road by Jack Kerouac

No quote better summarized my feelings when I left the Bay Area to start my fellowship with Kiva in Peru.  This video is a glimpse into my crazy adventure...

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