Rachel Brooks

Fellows Blog Posts by Rachel Brooks

Aug 2, 2010 KE Kenya

Kiva Field Partner Juhudi Kilimo has been nominated by Changemakers and Artemisia as a model of how to build the field of social business. Juhudi qualified as one of 448 entries from 78 countries as an outstanding demonstration of innovation, social impact, and sustainability.

Vote now until August 11 to help them win $5000. The winner will be announced on August 18th.

Juhudi Kilimo is an innovative social enterprise working with small-holder farmers in Kenya. They became a Kiva Field Partner in January 2010 and have already posted over $250,000 in loans on Kiva....

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Feb 12, 2010 KE Kenya

Hezron Murinde is a happy man. After 20 years of subsistence farming in a hilly region of Kenya’s Central Province, he’s earning a profit. It started with a chaff cutter. A chaff cutter is a big, cranky device that chops feed into small enough pieces for livestock to eat (and livestock eat a lot). The chaff cutter led to the cow. Not just any cow, but a high-yield dairy cow that produces enough milk to out-gross all the maize and beans Hezron grows across acres of land.

Hezron and...

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Dec 17, 2009 KE Kenya

Jua Kali translates as under the hot sun in Kiswahili but in Kenya it’s a term meant to describe businesses in the “informal sector.” Jua Kali businesses have slightly less infrastructure than your typical lemonade stand. Often times they are just a blanket or some plastic sheeting on the ground, secured with rocks and displaying some limited inventory. The business location is the side of the road or a front stoop (though it still requires a permit).

Sicily has had a used clothing store for the...

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Nov 23, 2009 KE Kenya

By Rachel Brooks, KF9, Faulu Kenya

You'll never find Samuel's cash

The bed is the most common location, according to the Kenyans I asked. But the specific location varies. You can simply keep it between the mattress and the metal box springs or under your pillow or sheet, or you can be more creative. For instance, wrap the bills in paper and place them under one of the legs of the frame to appear as though you are leveling an uneven bed.

The second most...

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Nov 10, 2009 KE Kenya

by Rachel Brooks, KF9, Kenya

My favorite Kiva field partner before I started my fellowship was Kisimu Medical & Education Trust, here in Kenya. At K-MET, microfinance is a smaller part of a community-based health organization. They offer loans to providers (many of them volunteers) so that they can maintain or improve their clinics and services. And they have these wonderfully innovative programs to help women and improve reproductive health.

But as much as programs like these make me go weak at the knees, I’ve also really come around to loving what the...

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Oct 24, 2009 KE Kenya

by Rachel Brooks, KF9, Kenya

Faulu Kenya, where I recently began as a Fellow, has a full-time Kiva Coordinator, Zachary Muriithi. He’s a busy guy. He works long hours at Faulu, manages his several small farms, helps run a home for 24 orphans, and preaches on Sunday. He has old and new friends wherever we go and has become an active user of Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.

Still, Pastor Zach was excited for our first big task: completing a borrower verification process. We randomly picked ten of Faulu’s Kiva borrowers for a mini-audit and then...

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