Fellows Blog Posts by tcapsuto

Feb 1, 2011 KE Kenya

By Tara Capsuto, KF13, Kenya

This blog really is about giant bunnies. It’s also about asset financing and how loan groups are working together, with the help of Juhudi Kilimo (one of Kiva’s field partners) to raise rabbits and boost their incomes. Juhudi provides an innovative, agriculture-based, micro-asset financing loan product to assist smallholder farmers in acquiring productive assets such as dairy cows, chickens, irrigation equipment, and most recently, giant Flemish rabbits.

Juhudi Kilimo’s rabbit loans are a great...

Continue Reading >>

Jan 1, 2011 AM Armenia

By Kiva Fellows, Various corners of the globe

Around the world, Kiva Fellows are celebrating the start of 2011 in all sorts of different ways. Here’s what some KF13-ers are doing to ring in the New Year.

Enjoy and Happy 2011!

Ellen Willems, Ecuador

Ecuadorians, as I was told, celebrate the coming of the New Year, and more importantly the going of the “Old Year” by making “monigotes”. These are dolls made of old clothes, stuffed with newspapers or sawdust and sometimes with fireworks as well. They have masks made of papier...

Continue Reading >>

Dec 22, 2010 KE Kenya

By Tara Capsuto, KF 13, Kenya

Kenyans breathed a collective sigh of relief on Dec 15th when the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the much anticipated list of Kenyan leaders suspected of organizing the violence following the disputed 2007 election that left 1,200 Kenyans dead and an estimated 500,000 more displaced from their homes. The list of 6 includes senior public officials like the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Minister of Higher Education, and the Head of Civil Service. Many questions remain as to whether this particular course of justice is the right...

Continue Reading >>

Dec 3, 2010 KE Kenya

By Tara Capsuto, KF13, Kenya

Nestled in the hills of Kikuyu farmland, 500 of Faulu Kenya’s dairy farming, matatu driving, and kiosk-owning clients gathered for a half day of telling their microfinance institution (MFI) what they really think. Faulu Kenya’s mission statement is, “To listen and empower Kenyans by providing relevant financial solutions.” Faulu, whose name means “success” in Swahili, is one of Kenya’s largest microfinance organizations, serving over 230,000 clients.  How do they make sense of the cacophony of 230,000 voices? I got to see it...

Continue Reading >>

Nov 9, 2010 EC Ecuador

By Tara Capsuto, KF12 Ecuador / KF 13 Kenya

Kiva is ultimately about people: lenders helping borrowers, borrowers helping themselves, and the staff at MFIs and Kiva who make it all happen. As other Fellows have commented before, one of the many humbling aspects of a Kiva Fellowship is the extent to which people reach out to help. One of the most frequent reactions I got in the field was, “You’re traveling and working completely on your own?!” I would answer that, “Technically, yes, I am.” But, as you’ll see, I wasn’t really alone. Here’s a little window...

Continue Reading >>

Oct 20, 2010 EC Ecuador

by Tara Capsuto, Kiva Fellow, Ecuador

Armed with training materials and a couple of motivational video messages from staff members at Fundación D-MIRO Misión Alianza, D-MIRO’s Kiva Coordinator, Rubi, and I left behind the bustling commercial hub of Guayaquil for the coastal city of General Villamil Playas. Our mission:  train loan officers for Kiva responsibilities, from understanding how the website works, to conducting interviews and journaling so D-MIRO can post more borrowers to Kiva. Here’s a short description and a video chronicle of our journey, which included some delicious...

Continue Reading >>

Sep 28, 2010 EC Ecuador

By Tara Capsuto, KF12, Ecuador

Taking a picture of a Kiva borrower sounds easy enough, right?  Snap a picture at his or her business, shrink the photo size, and upload to the Kiva website. Three easy steps. That´s what I thought before I had the chance to see how very challenging this seemingly simple task can be.  As many Kiva Fellows can attest, there are actually lots of challenges to snapping that coveted profile picture, you know that one with the borrower doing their soon-to-be-Kiva-funded work, with good lighting and a big smile? It`s that picture that makes you want...

Continue Reading >>

Sep 11, 2010 EC Ecuador

By Tara Capsuto, KF12, Ecuador

Since it’s back to school month at Kiva I thought I’d take the opportunity to spotlight the role of education in microfinance. Microfinance alone is not a silver bullet to eradicate poverty. To be most effective, microfinance must be part of a broader schema of social and economic development. Providing education to microfinance clients on topics ranging from marketing to reproductive health is one of the key ways in which microfinance institutions (MFIs) can serve the broader needs of their clients. Let`s take a look at...

Continue Reading >>

Aug 24, 2010 EC Ecuador

Gold was not one of the topics I would have guessed I´d be immersed in as a Kiva Fellow. But last week I found myself in a tiny backroom at Fundacion Espoir in Cuenca, Ecuador learning the details of what is perhaps their most innovative product: gold-guaranteed loans or “prenda oro.”

Sound like a pawn shop? It´s not. For one, Espoir offers a significantly lower price for gold than it´s competitors. This means they attract customers who are more concerned with getting their jewelry back than getting the highest price possible. The result? Aligned interests....

Continue Reading >>

Aug 8, 2010 EC Ecuador

This posting is not about public transportation in Quito. I’ll sum that up for you in one sentence. Buses only run along three major routes, all of which are north to south, they don’t always stop at demarcated stops, and they’re heavily monitored by thieves. But, public transport woes are certainly not news to any of you who have traveled around, lived in, or read about a city in a developing country (and some developed countries!). Here’s what people are really talking about here in Quito: pico y placa.

Pico y Placa is a...

Continue Reading >>