In the United States, during these months a traditional holiday meal usually includes a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, salad, and lots of dessert. For the US holiday of Thanksgiving, this menu is so traditional that many do not even consider being able to fully celebrate Thanksgiving unless there is turkey involved. As most countries have their traditional holiday meals, right now in Ecuador many areas preparing for their traditional feast as the December holidays are right around the corner. Instead of fattening up turkeys like in the US, many small farmers in Ecuador are... Continue Reading >>
People say the train to Mombasa is a poor choice. It is a 16 hr. ride on average (bus is 9 hrs), when or if it leaves the station. Nick-named the “lunatic express” the Kenya Railway was built nearly a century ago and got its name after going insanely over budget. During construction over 2,500 workers died (malaria, lions, exhaustion) in an attempt to expand access to East Africa’s interior. Today the railroad runs between Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu. If it leaves the station and you have some flexibility in your schedule, it’s a beautiful way to see the Kenyan countryside.... Continue Reading >>
Last month, Kiva Zip Kenya proudly hosted the inaugural meeting of our Trustee Advisory board. Six top trustees are now taking on leadership roles as board members, creating more cohesion between key players in the program and helping guide its future.
The board will provide feedback on product changes and participate in decision-making on topics such as communication practices, borrower-trustees, and trainings. Together with Kiva Staff, they will meet monthly to discuss best practices surrounding the Zip program and voice constructive ideas for...Continue Reading >>
As surprised as my family and friends were when I told them that I’m heading off to Kyrgyzstan, that’s about as surprised as my Kiva colleagues were when they found out that I’m also heading to Frankfurt, for a portion of my Kiva Fellowship. At first pass, Germany doesn’t seem like a country that would fit with Kiva’s non-profit microfinance orientation and mission statement. Yet, in Frankfurt, one of the world’s prominent financial centres, an innovative start-up and recent Kiva Field Partner, Yunus Social Business (“YSB”), is pushing the envelope of social business investing, globally and... Continue Reading >>
One of the essential parts of the Kiva Zip model is the Trustee. Trustees are the organizations or individuals that work directly with Kiva Zip and help identify and support borrowers throughout the loan cycle. What those Trustees all have in common is that they are motivated by helping people and changing lives. Apart from that common vision, Trustees can differ a lot in terms of the services they provide. I have identified another commonality among several Kenyan Trustees, though - they not only help people but also the environment!
The Challenge One of the biggest...Continue Reading >>
Buenos dias a todos mis amigos. For the past two weeks I've been working with a tremendous new field partner in San Salvador, El Salvador called CONFRAS. CONFRAS (Confederation of Federations for Agrarian Reform in El Salvador in English) was founded in the 1980's during the El Salvadorean Civil War to further land reform efforts. Since then, it has grown to represent 100+ cooperatives that provide various services to over 4,000 farmers throughtout El Salvador. One cooperative with whom I've been working directly is ACAF. ACAF provides not only microcredit, but technical assistance and... Continue Reading >>
According to UN Habitat, of the four million people who live in Nairobi, over 60% live in slums, 78% of which do not have running water in their homes. Many struggle to pay their rent of $10-35 per month and rarely have enough food to eat. Their children are very lucky if they are consistently able to attend school. For those in better conditions, this reality becomes all the more confronting when these people are your friends and relatives.
So, when Davis Mkoji got a call in early 2012 inviting him to test out the newly-created Kiva Zip program, he...Continue Reading >>