Fellows Blog Posts by nickhamiltonkiva

May 25, 2011 CO Colombia

By Nick Hamilton, KF13 Haiti and Dominican Republic, KF14 Colombia

This is the final installment of a three-part article on ‘The Pros and Cons of Microfinance – A View From The Field.’ The first concentrated on the pros of microfinance and the second on the cons. This third part will describe what I deem to be the optimum conditions for successful microfinance.

The cons described in Part 2 of this article may come across as quite negative, but at Interactuar (in Antioquia, Colombia – my second Kiva Fellowship) I saw many being...

Continue Reading >>

May 24, 2011 CO Colombia

By Nick Hamilton, KF13 Haiti and Dominican Republic, KF14 Colombia

This is the second of a three-part article on ‘The Pros and Cons of Microfinance – A View From The Field’. The first part concentrated on the pros. The second will focus on the cons.

Most of the cons described below demonstrate one thing; microfinance assists on a micro level but is unable to affect macro-level influences. The latter are the main reason that people are impoverished in the first place.

During my time in Haiti and the Dominican Republic I generally found...

Continue Reading >>

May 23, 2011 CO Colombia

By Nick Hamilton, KF13 Haiti and Dominican Republic, KF14 Colombia

I have now come to the end of my second placement as a Kiva Fellow. I have seen microfinance at work in two organisations – Interactuar and Esperanza International – in three different countries; Colombia, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. My 6-month stint has been an eye-opener. It’s been fun and interesting, challenging and frustrating.

I embarked on this journey knowing very little about microfinance. I had a notion of the supposed pros and cons of this exciting, largely...

Continue Reading >>

May 19, 2011 CO Colombia

By Nick Hamilton, KF14

I have just come to the end of a 3-month Kiva Fellowship with Interactuar, Kiva’s Field Partner in the state of Antioquia, Colombia. I was blown away by this organisation. ‘The Google of Microfinance Institutions,’ I kept thinking to myself. 

Before coming to Colombia I had a firm belief that microloans alone weren’t enough, and that support services such as training and consultancy were key to a micro-entrepreneur’s success. My view has changed somewhat – I now think that...

Continue Reading >>

Mar 28, 2011 CO Colombia

By Nick Hamilton, KF14, Colombia

I have been a big coffee drinker for some time now. As a do-it-all teenager with a large appetite for anything nocturnal, it was the powerful affects of the highly-caffeinated, instant variety that initially got me hooked. That all changed at university, however, when I first discovered the soothing delights of real, natural coffee.

After graduating from university I moved to London. Here, my relationship with coffee continued to blossom. Cafeterias across the capital competed for taste, texture and presentation, and they also...

Continue Reading >>

Feb 21, 2011 CO Colombia

by Nick Hamilton, KF14, Colombia

When it comes to blogging, a new pastime of mine, I often go a bit heavy on the word count. Not this time. This is a video blog and so I’ll let the video do the talking.

I made this short film over a few weeks during my time serving as a Kiva Fellow at Esperanza International in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

My intention was to give viewers a good idea of some of the things a Kiva Fellow gets up to. I also wanted to produce something that would encourage prospective Fellows to apply. I hope I’ve achieved...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 24, 2011 HT Haiti

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

Please note that I am living in Northern Haiti, which wasn’t hit by by the January 2010 earthquake, and not in Port-au-Prince.

As I waited for a bus to take me to Trou du Nord, Northern Haiti, I was struck by a curious sight. I was surrounded by hoards of impeccably dressed schoolchildren. Their clothes were perfectly ironed, shoes spotless, shirts tucked in and socks pulled up. They portrayed an elegance of military ilk, if it weren’t for the spectacular collection of hairstyles and bows displayed on the heads of the giddy...

Continue Reading >>

Dec 19, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

When Julie Ross (Kiva Fellows Program Manager) asked what I would find most challenging about a Kiva Fellowship I think my first response was ‘not being at home for Christmas’.

I LOVE Christmas. Many people think that it has become too commercialized. Not me. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll never tire of the protracted build up; the pomp; the ceremony; the tremendous effort that goes into making this one day special. 70s rock band Wizard sang ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. Although this may seem a little over-the-top, when...

Continue Reading >>

Dec 13, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

Before beginning my placement as a Kiva Fellow, I tended to view the Kiva model simply in terms of members lending to borrowers and borrowers paying back. It was hard to envisage the intricacies of an Field Partner’s (or MFI) operations and what goes into facilitating a loan. In my eyes the MFI was the middle man; an amorphous mass that made things happen. Of course, the simple fact is that without MFIs Kiva would not exist. They share an equal responsibility with the lenders and the borrowers in ensuring that Kiva’s mission – ‘to...

Continue Reading >>

Nov 29, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Having spent a lot of time speaking with borrowers during the week, I decided to spend Friday in the office. Kiva Fellows are required to complete an extensive list of ‘deliverables’ and I was aware that I still had a lot to deliver. I had just begun editing a short film when I was approached by Noberto, Esperanza International’s Kiva Coordinator.

“Fancy observing one of Esperanza’s health workers in the field? It’s one of the services we provide and you haven’t seen it yet. I thought you...

Continue Reading >>