Fellows Blog Posts by Shane

Dec 14, 2007 WS Samoa

It was 3 months ago that I stepped off the plane and into the tropical Samoan rain. It seems those same storm clouds have gathered on my last day on the island to see me off. Over the course of my stay, I’d like to think that I learned a few of things. 

I’ve learned of the incredible dedication and hard-work it takes for the staff of a small MFI like SPBD to run its operations.

I’ve learned that despite their demanding daily schedules, the SPBD staff rarely shows signs of stress or frustration. I think I’ll have a better chance of...

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Nov 8, 2007 WS Samoa

Every year, SPBD holds an event to celebrate its clients. An award ceremony is usually held to recognize exceptional members among the ladies who participate in the loan program. This year’s event was held this past Saturday, and it proved to be the grandest celebration to date. For the first time ever, a parade was organized to march down the main road of Apia, featuring over one thousand of SPBD’s clients. The boisterous women arrived in the early morning and, decked out in matching uniforms according to their borrowing centres, sang and danced their way to the starting...

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Oct 8, 2007 WS Samoa

After tossing out some statistics on the poverty situation in Samoa in my first entry, I think I’m ready for a more personal take on the impact of impact of micro-credit and the overall economic situation in Samoa.

South Pacific Business Development is one of Kiva’s earliest partner microfinance institutions. With an entire staff of just 16 employees (including management), the institution covers over 2,000 active clients, whose loans total over $700,000. SPBD follows the original Grameen Bank model by administering its loans via borrowing groups. With very few exceptions, all of...

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Sep 25, 2007 WS Samoa

Talofa! I can hardly believe that I am writing this from Samoa, the “Treasured Islands of the South Pacific”. I hope you will bear with me over the next 13 weeks as I share my experiences of working at the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), Kiva’s partner MFI on the island.

Departing Los Angeles on a direct red-eye to Samoa, I arrived in the wee hours of the morning, weary and excited. The humid island air and a light rain were the first things to greet me as I stepped off the plane. I was later informed that my arrival coincided with the first signs of precipitation in...

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