Dec 3, 2015 EC Ecuador

Nestled in the northern city of Ibarra, a new Kiva partner, CACMU (Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Mujeres Unidas), offers an impressive line of products to the community. The result of 3 organizations coming together 14 years ago, CACMU now offers financial services all over northern Ecuador. I recently joined CACMU in Ibarra, and have witnessed firsthand their dedication to their social mission. To reach clients in impoverished, rural communities, they created a “servimovil” roving branch office, which visits a different town each day. For borrowers who have poor credit, they offer micro-... Continue Reading >>


Dec 2, 2015 KE Kenya

In his first trip to the African continent, Pope Francis began his three-country tour in Nairobi, Kenya, which drew hundreds of thousands of adherents to the country’s capital. In his brief three-day stay in the country, Francis focused on the most marginalized in society, culminating in a trip to Kangemi, one of the 11 slums found throughout Nairobi.  
A market place in the informal settlement of Mukuru kwa Njenga
              In his visit to Kangemi,... Continue Reading >>


Nov 29, 2015 EC Ecuador

San José de Chimbo, my Ecuador Mountain Home
The sun comes on strong.  At 6:30, when my alarm sounds, it's still pale and grey outside, but by 7:30, when I get out of the shower, I have to draw the drapes lest my little third-floor hotel room overheat.  The heavy yellow fabric turns the room golden while I dress.  Dance music fills the building as the receptionist begins cleaning.  I leave my key, bid her good day, and walk downstairs to the street, past the taxi drivers' union and the mysterious "... Continue Reading >>


Nov 25, 2015 NI Nicaragua

It's a decidedly scorching afternoon in the small pastoral community of Puerto Momotombo, located approximately an hour outside of Leon, Nicaragua's university capital. As part of my Kiva fellowship, I've been traversing the country visiting borrowers and observing firsthand the impact their Kiva loan has had on their lives and livelihoods. In Momotombo I'm meeting with Ana Belkys, one of several Kiva borrowers who have taken out a loan from Kiva field partner MiCredito to fund higher education expenses through its loan product, MiCreditEstudios. 
... Continue Reading >>


Nov 20, 2015

With over 2 years living in Brazil and speaking Brazilian Portuguese, I’ve reached the point of conversing where I have stopped literally translating in my head when I speak. I even find my instinctual reaction to come out in Portuguese. Nossa! Opa! At times, however, I have to chuckle realizing the literal translation of some Brazilian terms. I’ve compiled a list of common Brazilian words and sayings that in some ways exemplify Brazilian spirit but simply don’t translate (but I did my best). 1. “Saudade” Literal Translation: Saudade doesn’t... Continue Reading >>


Nov 20, 2015 GO Global Update

It’s been a week when reports of shocking terrorist atrocities (Paris, Beirut, Nigeria – and, as I write, Mali) have been dominating our news bulletins and social media feeds. And it’s been followed, of course, with the usual analysis around how best to tackle the issue: border closures, refugee expulsions, states of emergency and air strikes seem depressingly to the fore.   But in this fevered climate, I found it refreshing to see another different, inspiring approach to the challenge, that is being implemented by Hand in Hand Eastern Africa (HiHEA), one of our Kiva partners... Continue Reading >>


Nov 19, 2015 US United States

In a city like San Francisco where there is a restaurant for every 376 people, it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal. From the flurry of new arrivals on the restaurant scene to the dizzying array of Michelin starred eateries like French Laundry, it’s easy to forget about our local entrepreneurs who are financially excluded from accessing the resources they need to launch and grow their food businesses. Enter La Cocina, a groundbreaking business incubator designed to reduce the obstacles that prevent low-income food entrepreneurs from creating successful and sustainable businesses...

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Nov 17, 2015 PE Peru

            Ebert is waiting for me at 7 am as promised, crouched by his motorbike, his hoodie cinched, looking like a benevolent bandit.  He hands me a helmet, I mount the bike behind him, and we're off to visit Avelino Perez, coffee farmer, way outside Pucará, Peru, as part of my borrower verification.  We stop once for gas and again when the bike stalls three times and won't start.              "I told the boss this bike had problems," he grumbles, shaking his head.  He has a singsong... Continue Reading >>


Nov 14, 2015 KE Kenya

It’s rainy season here in Nairobi, and the dirt roads of Mukuru - one of the largest informal settlements in the city - have turned into thick muddy footpaths and fast flowing streams. The watery scene is a stark reminder of the near total lack of drainage systems and sanitation services, as all forms of waste are distributed in the swampy conditions. According to the UN, nearly 56% of all city dwellers in Kenya live in these slum-type conditions.    The Kiva partner Sanergy is one organization taking on the sanitation problem in Mukuru and other slums throughout Nairobi,... Continue Reading >>


Nov 12, 2015 UG Uganda

There’s nothing more essential to life than water. It composes over half of our human body and it is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell. However, what happens when this critical “ingredient” to survival is not clean? Unsafe drinking water can transmit harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites, all contributing to waterborne illness and disease. Clean drinking water is not something I gave much thought to in U.S. It seemed to always be at hand, in the form of a water cooler, bottled water, or even just tap water. However, this basic commodity back home is something that very few schools... Continue Reading >>


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