Fellows Blog Posts by donaldhart

Nov 2, 2010 TJ Tajikistan

Microfinance has been featured extensively in the media recently – even making it on to an episode of The Simpsons, where a cartoon version of Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, provides financial advice to Lisa.  The real live version of Mr. Yunus also made headlines in an exchange at the Clinton Global Initiative with Vikram Akula, CEO of SKS, an Indian microfinance bank that raised over $350 million through an initial public offering (IPO) this past July.   The IPO fueled a debate within the microfinance community on governance structures, and whether microfinance organizations...

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Oct 4, 2010 TJ Tajikistan

We often hear about the high transaction costs faced by Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), who are making small loans in challenging economic environments.  A few of my favorite past blog posts on this subject are from Meg Gray and James Allman-Gulino.

It’s also important to remember that when borrowers obtain a loan from an MFI, they face many of these same costs; including taking time out from work for meetings, and traveling rough roads to an MFI’s branch office to apply for a loan or make a repayment.  IMON International, one of Kiva’s Field Partners in Tajikistan, has recently...

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Sep 14, 2010 TJ Tajikistan

What do Hillary Clinton, Dmitry Medvedev, Islam Karimov, and 2 Kiva Fellows have in common?

We all took time last week to wish Tajikistan a happy 19th anniversary of Independence — declared on September 9, 1991.

Tajikistan’s strategic location in Central Asia, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes, has helped make it a key partner for many of the world’s leading powers (demonstrated by the diverse group of politicians sending their regards to Tajikistan’s President). 

As the nation balances diplomatic and economic interests with countries...

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Aug 12, 2010 TJ Tajikistan

By Donald Hart, KF12, Tajikistan 

Central Asia is famous for its hospitality.  As I set out for my fellowship in Tajikistan with minimal, (scratch that, zero) Russian or Tajik language ability – I had little else to rely on. 

My first week as a guest of Farrukh, one of the staff at Kiva’s Field Partner, Humo, has meant the following: 

  • Always being poured the first cup of tea among a group
  • Always being the first to be served a plate of food
  • Inviting me to stay at his home upon arrival
  • Opening his pantry to offer me food
  • ...
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