Oct 8, 2015 GO Global Update, US United States

What does it take to put on the biggest Kiva event in history?   Over 1,000 people came out to celebrate Kiva's San Francisco City Launch on October 1, 2015. I began my Fellowship exactly 18 days ago after moving to San Francisco to work as a Kiva Fellow. In just three short weeks I’ve been impressed by the energy and community of the Kiva Zip team.   For months, the Kiva Zip team in the US has been preparing for the San Francisco City Kiva Launch and my first weeks were inundated with meeting trustees, helping borrowers with their profiles and pictures, and... Continue Reading >>

Oct 5, 2015 GT Guatemala

Around the majestic Lake Atitlán sits the small town know for its traditional weavings, San Juan La Laguna. I was graciously invited to learn about the weaving process from two borrowers who are part of the women’s cooperative Asociación Tz’utujil. Tz’utujil is the Mayan culture and language of those inhabitants who live around the lake. One Saturday morning, I took the 30-minute boat ride across the lake to see how this cooperative makes their weavings (scarves, table runners, shawls, bags, hammocks, etc.) from start to finish.
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Sep 30, 2015 PE Peru

Proud papa of profitable plants
Shortly before leaving for my Kiva fellowship, I had an iced coffee so good that I thanked the barista.  Today, I got to thank the man who grew the beans--not the actual beans, probably, but the kind of high-quality beans that must have gone into such a drink.  Experts say that while Peru doesn't produce nearly the quantity of its famous neighbor, the quality of its coffee can be even bettter, in part because production is on such a small scale, mostly on tiny family... Continue Reading >>

Sep 30, 2015 AM Armenia

Life is very sad according to Hranush Kharatyan, or so the title of her book goes. It is an economic and social commentary examining life in Armenia since this small but proud Transcaucasian republic regained its independence from the Soviet Union, an event that was marked by celebrations of its 24th anniversary last week. The book focuses on the living standards of Armenians, one in three of whom live in poverty, and the obstacles facing a young nation that is trying to rebuild its economy. During the 1990s, Armenia witnessed the collapse of state-owned industries and a consequent surge in... Continue Reading >>

Sep 26, 2015 GO Global Update

The Caribbean high noon sun embraced us like a heating blanket as we started our short walk through the countryside to Juana's place. The semi-paved dirt road led us by a small market shop, and as she waved to the people inside, she turned and said with a proud smile, "My father is the owner here". I waved back and the four of us continued with a steady walk to our destination. The big avocado tree marked the beginning of the small property and the little pig tied at the bottom, circled it left and right like a restless guard. Juana opened the big lock and a... Continue Reading >>

Sep 25, 2015 BF Burkina Faso, GO Global Update

During my borrower’s verifications, I met incredible borrowers with their own unique story of faith, survival and hope. But among them, one man’s story lingered with me and I could not shake his face off of my mind. The man was Soumaila; a small and humble man with an infectious smile.
Soumaila (in the middle) proudly showing his parcels
As soon as we arrived, he along with his group members escorted us to his gardens and proudly showed us his parcels filled with onions, hot peppers and papayas. But what struck... Continue Reading >>

Sep 24, 2015 BF Burkina Faso, GO Global Update

My first attendance to a loan disbursement was at Micro Start, one of Kiva’s field partners located in Gounghin, Ouagadougou. What started as a routine day turned out to be the most inspiring experience of my life. I was not quite sure what to expect as this was my first time attending a loan disbursement. When I stepped in the room, I gazed through and saw women sitting in groups of three or four murmuring and waiting to be called to the next available window while others are already cashing their loans.
Women waiting to be...
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Sep 17, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

A conversation with Angeline Murimirwa, Regional Director of Camfed   Angie Murimirwa is the Regional Director for Camfed, covering the whole of the Africa region.  As part of her high profile role, she has recently returned from a trip to Washington to join a panel with Michelle Obama, on the role of young women in the education of girls.  But Angie’s story could easily have been very different.  Her family (in rural Zimbabwe) did not have the money to pay secondary school fees. Fortunately, her case came to the attention of Camfed, who stepped in and... Continue Reading >>

Sep 15, 2015 DO Dominican Republic

The buzzing sound of a beat up old motorcycle disturbed the morning calm at the small town of Las Galeras (Samaná) in the Dominican Republic. "Moto concho - moto concho?", the driver loudly asked. "No gracias", I replied for the third time in the last five minutes, knowing i was the obvious target of the local moto taxi service, waiting for my ride at the side of the road. As I wiped the sweat off my forehead, i noticed a white pick-up truck slowly approaching my way. I held my breath as the driver leaned over rolling down the tinted passenger window. "Esperanza?", asked calmly. Reacting as... Continue Reading >>

Sep 15, 2015 PS Palestinian Territory

A Kiva Borrower, who found success in selling Arabic Coffee in the streets of Jenin, inspired me to write about the beverage that millions of people wake up to in the AM, to as well as some Ramadan beverages commonly consumed in Palestine! (Video)
Kiva sampling Mohamed's Arabic Coffee
The Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan in Palestine is a highly anticipated, spiritual, and sometimes lazy time of year. Some businesses, anticipating the obligatory 16-hour fasting this year (from 18 July - 17... Continue Reading >>