Stepping out onto the streets of Azerbaijan’s capital city is a quick way to gain insight on the local economic situation. The streets of Baku, much like other large cities, are plagued with traffic and drivers who use their horns more than they obey any sort of traffic laws. The mixture of vehicles that fill the roads is telling of the wealth disparity. Public transport is accomplished by aging mini-buses called marshrutkas plying the streets in all directions. Larger city buses are mostly absent so these marshrutkas provide the most comprehensive city transport in Baku. Although bus...Continue Reading >>
Or as locals would say hello in Ronga: Shawane!! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Beatriz, originally from Brazil, and will proudly be a Kiva Fellow with Hluvuku-Adsema in Mozambique for the next 4 months.
I have arrived 2 days ago and so far so good! Hluvuku seems to be an outstanding organization. Fast growing since its establishment in 2004, today it has more than 2,000 clients and an outstanding loan portfolio of almost $1.0 million dollars. Hluvuku mission is to promote social and economic...Continue Reading >>
Along with its microfinance unit, CRAN also sponsors social development projects. CRAN has built 5 schools in Ghana and has provided a community with clean running water. I recently got an opportunity to visit a CRAN sponsored school in the Abaenu community. To get to the village a 4×4 vehicle is a must. Once you turn off the nicely paved road headed to Accra, you embark on what is only comparable to a roller-coaster ride. For about 3 miles the truck bounced up-and-down, sided-to-side and every other way imaginable. After we arrived at the existing school it was apparent...Continue Reading >>
TANZANIA. Last week, I was given the opportunity to train BRAC Tanzania staff on Kiva in Kibiti, which is located about 150 km outside of Dar es Salaam. Riding from the noisy, congested (yet still completely lovable) city to the luscious green countryside brought refreshment to my senses.
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Struggles. That’s what came to mind during my first days in Ghana. The struggle to find my way around to light a candle when the electricity had failed again. The struggle to keep my body hydrated in the heat and humidity. But, much more, it was the heart wrenching struggles of those around me. The crippled man trying to navigate the cratered streets and bloodthirsty taxidrivers. The mother balancing what amounts to a small woodshed of goods on her head while carrying a baby on her back and trying to contain a curious, energetic boy. Around us all, the sun was struggling...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been in Ghana now for one month and I realized I’ve been slacking in keeping up my journal, so I’m posting several random experiences I’ve had so far.
On most days I go out with a loan officer to take pictures of clients who are requesting loans for their businesses or have already taken a loan and we go to follow-up on their progress. The first problem you encounter when trying to find someone is there are no street names or addresses whatsoever. We had to find 11 borrowers who were all located within one small segment of Cape Coast, but...Continue Reading >>
I am writing from Buffalo NY upon the completion of my three month commitment as a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. I want to use my final post on the Kiva Fellows Blog to thank the people who made this one of the most significant and rewarding experiences of my life.
KIVA.ORG: First, thank you Matt and Jessica Flannery for inventing Kiva. I have great admiration for what you started, especially since you invented an entirely new model of microfinance funding. Without your effort and...Continue Reading >>
Things at CRAN have been pretty hectic the past couple weeks. At the end of February, CRAN is having an international rating done. This basically announces to the entire microfinance world how well CRAN is run as a MFI. A good rating could mean new sources of capital as well as world-wide acknowledgement of CRAN as well as one of the top MFIs in Ghana. However, a bad rating would be a set back for the organization and would dampen spirits within the organization. All CRAN employees have been working extra hard the past several weeks to ensure they...Continue Reading >>
This past weekend was very exciting for Tanzania. As a part of President Bush’s tour of Africa, he visited Dar es Salaam. It was the first visit by an American President, since Clinton’s visit in 1998.
With typical Tanzanian hospitality, Dar was ready for the occasion, and I couldn’t help smiling… Banners were strung up that featured the Stars and Stripes crossed with the Tanzanian flag, and welcomed “Your Excellency President Bush.” Billboards were scattered throughout the city featuring a panorama of Kilimanjaro, with an artist’s rendering...Continue Reading >>