kieranball

Fellows Blog Posts by kieranball

May 8, 2009 ID Indonesia

On my previous blog post, 77 is never too old to start a business, Jan commented that she would like to see the result of our TLM Kiva T-shirt Bonanza which took place last week (she heard about it by following TLM on Twitter, to do the same go here).

Fortunately, this also gave me the perfect excuse to express my thanks to Jan and John for their unwavering support of Kiva and the Fellows programme. For those of you who don’t know of them, Jan and John are professional grandparents from Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. In between their time grandparenting, lending on Kiva,...

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May 4, 2009 ID Indonesia

by Kieran Ball, KF6 & 7

“Poor people are like bonsai trees”, analogises Professor Mohammad Yunus, “Even choosing the best seed of the tallest tree, if you plant it in a small flower pot it cannot grow big. Society is the flower pot, the system we have built that keeps poor people from growing. The seed of the person is as good as the tallest tree, but we must change the system to let each person grow to their potential.”

Whilst Professor Yunus failed to mention that bonsai trees look totally hip on most coffee tables, this is still my all...

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Apr 6, 2009 ID Indonesia

West Timor is the country equivalent of Robert Downey Senior. The usual reaction is “West Timor? I didn’t know there was a West Timor. But I’ve heard of East Timor so I suppose it makes sense”.

And indeed it does make sense, especially if you live here. West Timor, formerly a Dutch colony until it was un-clogged in 1945, is on an island towards the eastern side of Indonesia (Timur conveniently means “east” in Indonesian) but, it should be stressed, not the most easterly island as that is Papua and or West Papua (to clarify please see www.google....

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Mar 5, 2009 KH Cambodia

One testament to the power of the Fellow’s network, as described in Julie Ross’s excellent post The Importance Of My Fellow Fellows, is the existence of these two videos below. No sooner had Abby Gray (KF6) suggested via a mass email that it would be useful to have A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story Of A Kiva Loan in French so that she can show it to her MFI in Francophone Africa, than offers to translate/edit poured in from around the fellosphere. “Spanish would be great too” lead to a similar rumbling from the Latin American contingent.

Within three days I had...

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Mar 2, 2009 KH Cambodia

Kiva Happy Hour in Phnom Penh

I once heard that Kentucky Fried Chicken conducted a market survey on their brand and found that the words “Kentucky”, “Fried”, and “Chicken” each had negative psychological associations. Hence the change to the more deliciously ambiguous “KFC”.

If this is true, then “Kiva Happy Hour” must surely invoke feelings of warmth and joyous goodwill in most people. Take one fuzzy...

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Jan 28, 2009 KH Cambodia

Like the windshield on a motor-taxi in Phnom Penh rush hour, transparency is vital to Kiva’s survival. To give interest-free loans, lenders deserve to know that every cent of their money is being distributed exactly as promised, whilst borrowers have the right not to be misrepresented.

An important aspect of this transparency, and one which Kiva takes very seriously, is the integrity of the data on its website. Allowing inaccurate data is the first step towards encouraging fraud on the site, which would have severe reputational consequences for Kiva.

A key data check is...

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Jan 7, 2009 KH Cambodia

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve explained the concept behind Kiva to family, friends, and people I’ve met along the way, but each time my explanation is slightly different.

This is because Kiva is really quite difficult to explain. It incorporates frightfully odd concepts such as microfinance, acronyms such as MFIs, faux acronyms (“what does K.I.V.A. stand for anyhow?”), frequently confused verbs “lend” and “borrow”, crossovers between banking and charity, international flows of money, interest and yet no...

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Dec 2, 2008 KH Cambodia

In my first week at Kiva’s rising-star field partner, AMK Cambodia, I was lucky enough to go on a two-day trip to the Kampong Cham province with the aim of meeting some Kiva clients and taking some photos for the AMK marketing department.

Over the 36 hours I took around 1500 photos – partly because Cambodians are super photogenic, and partly because 95% of my photos look as though Sambo the Phnom Penh elephant took them (he lacks opposable thumbs). With his eyes shut.

I made this short video of a loan being disbursed to the Sreymom Suong Group. They were pleased...

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Sep 24, 2008 KH Cambodia

Hello! My name is Kieran and I am a Kiva Fellow, sixth iteration. I am currently sitting on a turbulent flight back home to London after an intense week of training at Kiva’s San Francisco offices. I am sad to be leaving, slightly worried about the ancient aircraft I’m on (hoping that the technology is more up-to-date than the Nintendo Gameboy headphones the flight attendant is handing out), but excited about my impending assignment in Cambodia.

The past week has been an eye-opening, exhilarating, and potentially life-changing experience. The outstanding training we...

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