Megan Tatman Montgomery

Fellows Blog Posts by Megan Tatman Montgomery

Jul 12, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Megan Tatman Montgomery, KF8 Costa Rica

Microfinance involves a tremendous amount of legwork.  While Kiva is all about facilitating connections between borrowers and lenders, it’s important to recognize the hard work of those in the field that make sure your money gets to microentrepreneurs that need it the most.  Here is a brief glimpse into EDESA, Kiva’s field partner in Costa Rica, with a little more about how the organization works and the people that are working hard to alleviate poverty in Costa Rica.

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Jun 19, 2009 CR Costa Rica

As I described in a previous blog post, EDESA (Kiva’s field partner in Costa Rica) works with a network of Community Credit Enterprises (ECCs by their Spanish acronym).  To reiterate a bit, the ECCs are small, grassroots microfinance organizations formed by rural community members.  FINCA Costa Rica provides extensive training in these communities to teach members how to work together to create and run a profitable business that provides financial services among other things.  I recently visited one of the oldest and largest ECCs, La Asociación de Productores de El Sauce (The Association...

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May 1, 2009 CR Costa Rica

I’ve just arrived at my fourth and final placement as a Kiva Fellow.  Less than two weeks ago I was wrapping up work with ADEPHCA in Nicaragua and, following a week of whirlwind travel through southwestern Nicaragua, I arrived to start my first week with EDESA in Costa Rica.  Based on initial impressions, ADEPHCA and EDESA have very little in common other than the fact they are both identified by somewhat confusing acronyms and are both quite small organizations in the world of microfinance.  But that is where the similarities end.  ADEPHCA is based out of Bluefields, Nicaragua: a town of...

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Apr 17, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Perhaps it depends on the context.

Now having served as a Kiva Fellow at three of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions (MFI) in three distinct locations, I have seen a wide variety in the types of businesses Kiva lenders are funding.  I have also seen many, many situations where one client has several businesses.  In a recent blog post, Stephanie Koczela, a Kiva Fellow in Uganda, very articulately explained how and why microfinance clients often have a variety of businesses.  As she describes, not only is this the reality, it actually makes a lot of sense and helps these clients...

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Apr 3, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Having spent two months in Bluefields, Nicaragua now, I have been struck by the near absence of two characteristics common in impoverished areas: illiteracy and child labor.  This statement is based purely on my own observation.  Unfortunately very little statistical data exists for this region.  Nevertheless, what I have seen here in terms of these two particular, yet intimately related, challenges to development is one of very few things that gives me hope and even a little optimism for future development here.

When interviewing recipients of Kiva loans, I often ask the client how...

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Mar 20, 2009 NI Nicaragua

You go and talk to them, of course. 

 

But how do you know if they’re telling the truth?  How long do you wait on their promise to pay?  What if these promises go on and on without being fulfilled?

 

How do you gauge how committed they are to eventually paying?

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Mar 13, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Preface: I recently posted a blog describing some of the unique challenges people in Bluefields must deal with.  I’d like to encourage those of you that haven’t already seen it, to first click here to get a bit of context before reading this post.   

 

Microfinance faces some unique challenges in Nicaragua, and especially in the southern Atlantic Coastal region.  This is my third placement as a Kiva Fellow (...

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Mar 6, 2009 NI Nicaragua

I sat down to write this post at least five times. I want to tell people a little about Bluefields, Nicaragua and the challenges that exist here, but that’s not easy to do. Bluefields is unlike any place I’ve ever been, and I’ve travelled and lived abroad quite a bit. At one point, I thought I’d try to find some statistics to paint a picture of the poverty here. At another point, I just started rambling about specific things that I’ve seen and experienced. Then I thought, maybe pictures are the way to go. None of these approaches...

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Feb 6, 2009 NI Nicaragua

My name is Megan Montgomery, and I am writing from Houston International Airport on my way out for five and a half months of adventures as a Kiva Fellow. I am in a unique position, as this is my second time to have the privilege of serving as a Kiva Fellow. I spent last summer working at Kiva Field partners Friendship Bridge and FAPE in Guatemala. I enjoyed the experience immensely, but felt there was still much to learn. Therefore, I head out once again to see microfinance in action, liaison between Kiva and partner MFIs, and hopefully help these MFIs learn more about Kiva and how best to...

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Aug 11, 2008 GT Guatemala

 

Two weeks ago FAPE launched a new program. After months of fighting bureaucracy, they finally got permission to give loans to female prisoners at the Centro Preventivo de Rehabilitación Santa Teresa (loosely translated, the Santa Teresa Prevention Center for Rehabilitation). The program was kicked off with a weeklong training called ISUN (Inicie su...

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