Fellows Blog Posts by alisoncarlman

Aug 28, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8, Kenya

“ It’s this place, on the computer… like a bulletin board… where people post stories…”

Explaining Kiva isn’t easy.  It wasn’t easy for me to explain Kiva to my Mom, (no offense, Mom) – so imagine me trying to explain Kiva to a Kenyan farmer who’s never touched a computer and never even heard of “the internet.”

As lenders, some of us hope that Kiva borrowers daydream about us in the way that we daydream about them.  After all...

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Aug 14, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8,  Kenya

Kenya’s post election violence is probably far from the minds of most people in the world. After all – the contested election and its ensuing rioting happened in late 2007, and that was years ago. (See Former Kiva Fellow Zack Turner’s blog post from 2008 here, describing the conflict.) Surely you’d think that people were recovering from the trauma and have moved on with their lives.

Yes and no.

In my first several weeks of borrower interviews, a few borrowers brought up the violence when asked I about their challenges. ...

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Jul 29, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8, Kenya

Consider yourself warned: this blog talks about maxipads. There. I said it. Now please keep reading.

Perhaps you’ve heard of  the “Girl Effect” campaign.  The “Girl Effect” is a about investing in what Africans call the “girl child” and how that can affect a country’s development.  According to The Girl Effect, an extra year in primary school statistically boosts girls’ future wages by 10% to 20%, and every additional year a girl spends in secondary school lifts her income by 15% to 25%. And you better believe that the size...

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Jul 10, 2009 KE Kenya

By Alison Carlman, KF8 – Kenya

As a graduate student of International Development at an African university, I wish that the answer was as simple as finding the “one thing” to alleviate poverty.  For marketing purposes, NGOs and “experts” tell us that the answer is so simple, whether it’s access to clean water, economic liberalization, universal healthcare, education, modernization, or microfinance. But 50 years of “Development” in practice teaches us that it’s not so black and white.

Kiva will be the first to tell you: microfinance is not the solution to poverty. ...

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