Stories tagged with Ghana

Apr 4, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve been back in Chicago for about 2 weeks now and have had time to sit and digest my Kiva Fellow experience. Going into this I tried to keep a completely unbiased and open-mind about microfinance. I’m a huge supporter of microfinance, but I have heard critics argue that it does little to actually lift people out of poverty. So I tried to take my opportunity to see first hand how it affects borrowers.

During my 2-month stay in Cape Coast, Ghana I had the privilege to meet over a hundred borrowers successfully running their own businesses. I heard stories of individuals...

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Apr 4, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve visited over 100 clients in the past two months and one of the most common responses to “how are you going to use this loan” is “I’m going to buy in bulk.”   At first, it appeared to me that perhaps this is a common impulse to overstock inventory so a customer never walks away empty-handed.  But, I was quick to learn that this bulk purchasing phenomenon is not driven by concern about product supply but rather inventory cost.  ...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

During the last month, I’ve visited quite a few courtyards, backyards, sideyards, and frontyards. In each one, I can usually count on two things. One is that someone in the group rises to find chairs for the loan officers and myself and places these chairs in a cool, shady spot. The other is the Sinapi cheer. A loan officer walks into the meeting area and shouts, “Sinapi” and claps twice. In response, the group members yell, “Abapa” (Good Seed). This cheer goes through several more iterations...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

Sometimes the end is the best beginning. And, by the end of my first repayment day, a group of four women marched past me, through the hallway and onto the red dirt path outside the house where they had just completed their repayments. As they passed, some were shaking their heads, others were raising their voices in frustration, but they were all unified by their goal – to make a visit on a member of their group who was absent from the repayment meeting and failed to make another repayment again. The rest of the group covered...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

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...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

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...

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Feb 2, 2008 GH Ghana

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...

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Feb 2, 2008 GH Ghana

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...

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Jan 1, 2008 GH Ghana

My name is Dan Strack and for the next 2 months I will be living in Cape Coast, Ghana and working with the Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN).  

CRAN has 7 branches located throughout the central region of Ghana with its main office in Cape Coast.  Cape Coast is a very poor area with some of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered.  The first thing you notice in Ghana and especially Cape Coast, is how...

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Nov 11, 2007 GH Ghana

I’ve been in Ghana for 3 months now. I thought my culture shock stages were over after the tro-tro (mini-van bus) dodging, fou-fou (sticky plantains mixed with cassava) eating, sun burning, marriage proposing, etc etc…, but I was wrong.Last week I started my Kiva internship, which involved me moving from Cape Coast to Sinapi’s head office in Kumasi. When I stepped off of the jammed packed tro-tro and into Kumasi, I thought I was stepping off of a plane...

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