The Musings of a Sponge

Fellows Blog Posts by The Musings of a Sponge

Jan 22, 2012 PH Philippines

The new year is already in full swing and resolutions are being met or failed as we speak. This New Year’s celebrations, for me, was a little different as I got to spend a full week with Center for Community Transformation staff as they celebrated 20 years of growth and successful service to the poor in the Philippines. President Ruth Callanta spent time reflecting on the past but also casting vision for the future as CCT hopes to transform more communities in the Philippines and reach more marginalized people groups.

There was a three-part theme set to guide the educational...

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Dec 14, 2011 PH Philippines

“And the winner is……..ppprrrrrmmmmmmm” (drum roll).  Now, if you are anything like me, the image in your head is of some famous actress or actor fumbling with a large envelope, complaining about how is it hard to open. Luckily, for this post, we are going skip the envelope and talk about a winner who is a little closer to home for this Kiva Fellow. The winner I am talking about is CCT’s very own, Andresa Javines, who is Citi Bank’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” (MOTY) for Mindanao, Philippines.

So, what does it take to be...

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Nov 12, 2011 PH Philippines

In September of 2010, as a Kiva lender who was working in the school system at the time, I was pleased to see the announcement that Kiva would begin to investigate support of higher education loan products in a few countries. The higher education loan was an exciting idea because it had the potential to provide access to financial backing to those who wanted to pursue further education but were often limited by the lack of availability of funding in their country. The higher education loans hold much potential but it also introduces a whole other set of potentially troubling issues. As...

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Oct 23, 2011 PH Philippines

As I stepped out in the oppressive humidity of a Manila morning, my spirit was excited and ready to leave the protection of CCT head office’s wonderful air conditioning because this was the day I got to do another borrower verification. Previous fellows have shared different aspects of what a BV (Kiva speak for borrower verification) is and so for more detailed descriptions I will leave that up to them to share. ( Look here to see details of BV and here to see the conclusion to this fellow’s BV story).

There are different ways you can view what the BV does but I have enjoyed...

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Oct 2, 2011 PH Philippines

“To Luzon (Head office, NCR, C.Luzon, Rizal, Laguna-Cavite, Batangas) staff: Due to heavy rains and strong winds brought by Storm Pedring, management advised to stay at home. Work is suspended today. Kindly monitor our communities if help is needed. Ingat mga kapatid. God’s protection be upon us all!”

The view from my window. Manila Bay is typically completely stagnant water which is why the waves crashing over the break wall were alarming.

This was the text message I...

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Sep 9, 2011 PH Philippines

The phrase “The Circle of Life”, for individuals of my age demographic, typically conjures up images of Timon and Pumba. Hopefully I did not pull you into this blog under false pretenses but unfortunately the title is the only relation to the famous Disney movie. My hope is that you will continue reading in order to find out what “The Circle of Life” has to do with microfinance and Kiva.

First off, let me introduce you to the place, which is not Africa. For this circle of life I will be showing you around the workings of my MFI placement in Manila,...

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