bkbriankelly

Fellows Blog Posts by bkbriankelly

May 10, 2010 LK Sri Lanka

By Brian Kelly, KF10, Sri Lanka

People always enjoy picking things apart from a distance.  To me it seems like microfinance has taken a bit of a beating in the last eight months or so.  Most probably that’s because it was about eight months ago that I became immersed in this world when I started my fellowship as a KF9, my first foray into the industry.  But I also think it’s because of the rapidly growing attention microfinance has gotten over the last half-decade, from a nobel prize, to the proliferation of interesting organizations like Kiva and other online funders...

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Apr 12, 2010 LK Sri Lanka

By Brian Kelly, KF10, Sri Lanka

Upon arriving here at BRAC Sri Lanka in February, a brand new Kiva pilot partner, I was all ready to lace up my loan posting shoes and hit the ground running.  And my MFI was ready and waiting for me.  BRAC Sri Lanka decided to designate two districts as “Kiva” districts and upload borrowers from these regions to the website.  BRAC offers similar products within each region, so the “Kiva regions” were all set to have a reduced interest rate due to the fact that the money from Kiva to finance these loans...

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Mar 24, 2010 LK Sri Lanka

By Brian Kelly, KF10, Sri Lanka

Sometimes you think you are equipped to take on a difficult situation and use your experience and skills to dive in headfirst and solve it, or at least provide some help to improve upon the current status quo.  It may be a situation you’ve seen before, or one where you know your skill set or knowledge is applicable to improve it – at least if you were tackling this problem in a familiar and native environment.  And that’s exactly the problem right there, and why as a Fellow I’m having to throw some things out the window.

In October I...

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Mar 3, 2010 LK Sri Lanka

By Brian Kelly, KF10, Sri Lanka

Well it’s about time I joined in on the fun.  It seems to be a rite of passage for fellows stationed in the tropics.  When regularly consuming the fellows blog as an eager Kiva Fellow applicant, I seemed to often come across many of the “malaria! ugh!” or “a trip to the hospital in Kenya…” genre of blog posts from prior fellows succumbing to the fun and lovely illnesses that are new to many westerners in exotic locations.  It almost seems clichéd to write a KF blog...

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Feb 12, 2010 LK Sri Lanka

A map of Sri Lanka with magnets representing areas served

By Brian Kelly, KF10, Sri Lanka

I apologize for the awfully-punned title but I really couldn’t resist.  Coming down from a humidity-induced fog, I can’t be expected to think clearly or use proper blog-titling judgment at this point.  I’m writing this post from beautiful Colombo, Sri Lanka, as I look out the door to a coconut tree from the head offices of brand new Kiva partner, BRAC Sri Lanka.  Not only...

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Dec 22, 2009 AM Armenia

By Brian Kelly, KF9, Armenia

After making several visits to various borrower communities in the rural villages throughout Armenia, I started to notice a familiar figure emerge.  Each village seemed to have a mayor.  Not a mayor in the traditional, sash-wearing, top-hat donning, political scandal-causing sense, but a mayor of microfinance.

In these villages usually there is a central gathering place, often a community center where the credit officers meet borrower groups to finalize paperwork, originate loans, provide information on the...

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Dec 18, 2009 AM Armenia

By Brian Kelly, KF9, Armenia

I have alluded to it several times in the past in some of my posts.  While maybe writing a sentence or mentioning a few words here or there, I think it deserves its own post because it’s turning out to be one of the central themes of what I have learned here about microfinance in Armenia.  The Human Factor.

Understanding your constituents is a vital part of doing business anywhere.  I think in microfinance this becomes especially important, specifically in regard to the customers.  Understanding their needs and capabilities is paramount...

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Dec 6, 2009 AM Armenia

By Brian Kelly, KF9, Armenia

The symbol of Karabakh, grandmother and grandfather

I wrote about a week ago before embarking on a trip to Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region southeast of Armenia known as being a conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  I left in hopes of better grasping the political melee between the countries in the South Caucasus and how this plays into the Armenian identity.  Hopefully this would garner some insight into the role of...

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Nov 26, 2009

By KF9, All Over The World

Happy Thanksgiving!  We KF9′ers thought we’d put together a collection of thoughts on Thanksgiving (sorry to those who don’t partake in Turkey day!) from our respective locations all over the world.  While we may not get to celebrate in our traditional way or be with family, I think its safe to say we are all extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve as Kiva Fellows and to have such wonderful readers on this blog! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and gobble gobble.

In no particular order:

Alana Solimeo, KF9...

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Nov 25, 2009 AM Armenia

By Brian Kelly, KF9, Armenia

Mt Ararat lies just across the Turkish border, miles from Yerevan, Armenia's capital

Since arriving in Armenia, I’ve tried as much as possible to be a sponge.  Attempting to soak up everything there is to know about microfinance, cultural tendencies here, and especially current political happenings. Coming from the United States, a relative kindergartener historically-speaking compared to cane-wielding Armenia, and without a...

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