Living in the developed world, we become accustomed to convenient filters that give us what we want, sidestepping some unpleasant truths. Meat is a delicious hamburger with fixings in a toasty bun, for example, and not the carcass at the neighborhood carnicería with flies swarming around it. Clean, potable water is just a slight turn of the wrist away while disposing of waste requires tossing garbage bags on the street or pushing down ever so firmly on the toilet lever. While Nicaragua lacks many of these fundamental filters that make life easier for both the microfinance...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Nicaragua
What do Miskito, Rama, Garifuna, Spanish, Creole, and English have in common? Well, nothing really, besides the fact that you can hear all of them within a block in Bluefields, on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua – a place where international organizations and tourists rarely venture. While a number of these languages are, in essence, subsets of others, I am hard pressed to come up with another place of such linguistic variety (no, Times Square doesn’t count). Bluefields is, without question, a sociolinguist’s paradise.... Continue Reading >>
By Meg Gray, KF11 United States
Since I started my third stint as a Kiva Fellow at Opportunity Fund, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the differences between microfinance in the USA (Opportunity Fund is located in the Bay Area) and microfinance in Central America (I previously worked in Nicaragua and Costa Rica). Then I met Monica, an Opportunity Fund client, and was immediately overwhelmed by how similar her business was to other...Continue Reading >>
By Gabriel Castillo, KF11, Nicaragua
Note: At the time of this blog posting, the Nicaraguan currency, the Cordoba, is about 21 to 1 US Dollar.
It had been a long week and I had looked forward to getting away for the weekend. The plan was to grab a book and spend a relaxing couple of days in “La Boquita,” a beach about 20 km from Diriamba, the small town where my grandmother’s from. My plan was to relax and not think about work. Soon I would learn, however, that when your work involves development and you are living in a developing country, getting away...Continue Reading >>
Many Kiva users may be familiar with the general act of lending through Kiva, but what about the stories that are posted to Kiva’s website? Where’s the action? Where’s the drama? What kind of work goes into providing the content on a Kiva entrepreneur’s profile and who are the players? Well, you’ll have to wait for the drama (there, at least you have suspense). For now, I will give you a quick narrative of a typical event and illustrate the players. The event took place last week.
I had just received an email about a duplicate loan that one of the Kiva Field Partners (aka...Continue Reading >>
By Gabriel Castillo, KF11 Nicaragua
At 6am I was in Guatemala, a few hundred meters from the border with El Salvador. Later, crossed the borders into El Salvador and Honduras. It is now 10pm and I have made my way into Nicaragua. My final destination is just under 4 hours from here, in the Nicaraguan Capital of Managua.
Just a few weeks ago I was in San Francisco, California training to be a Kiva Fellow. Now, It has been 10 days and 3,500 miles since I set out, on motorcycle, from San Francisco, to start my placement as a Kiva Fellow in Nicaragua.
It is...Continue Reading >>
By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua
Many blogs have been written on the subject of borrower verification visits. In the borrower verification (BV) process, ten borrowers are randomly selected from the institution’s list of current loans and visited to confirm that what Kiva has posted on the website is what is actually happening in the field. To avoid various levels of fraud, neither the borrower nor the institution are supposed to have much notice of the visit (several days maximum, for planning purposes). Due to these factors, BV is typically the one project in which we...Continue Reading >>
By Bryan Goldfinger, KF10 Nicaragua
In the nearly eight months that I have been a Kiva Fellow, I have noticed that an increasingly common response people have when I tell them we fund microfinance institutions is: “that’s great, but aren’t those guys just getting really rich by charging the poor tons of money on their loans?” It seems as though recent press has given microfinance somewhat of a tarnished reputation.
It is often the case that unless one is directly involved in an industry, it is difficult to know what exactly is going...Continue Reading >>
By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica
One of the benefits of being a Kiva Fellow for more than one placement is getting to see how different MFI’s (microfinance institutions) with very different models all fit under the microfinance umbrella. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology. I just finished up my second full placement as a Kiva Fellow and along the way I also visited a third MFI for a week. For those of you just getting started with microfinance or for those who are interested in seeing the diversity amongst Kiva’s partner’s, I thought a brief rundown of a few MFI models...Continue Reading >>
By Monica Hamlett, KF10, Managua, Nicaragua
I mentioned in a previous blog that the field partner I have been working with, ADIM in Managua, Nicaragua, hosts education seminars for their clients. Last Friday I had the opportunity to participate in their Human Development course.
ADIM publishes various workbooks for these courses, holds very regular classes, and takes the education portion of their role very seriously. From the very beginning I have been impressed by the social aspect of this microfinance institution, but yet, this role they take is the same...Continue Reading >>