Sep 13, 2018 GT Guatemala

 Their shirts say "say no to deforestation"

Ah, it's that time of year again! Growing up in upstate New York in the United States, some of my late summer memories include the New York State Fair—particularly the concerts, popcorn, funnel cake and fair games-- I can almost smell it from here. However this year, as a Kiva fellow placed in Sololá, Guatemala, I was lucky enough to experience a different type of fair--the Feria de Sololá, or the Sololá Fair. This feria is held every...

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Aug 31, 2018 GH Ghana

inside a tro-tro

I left the Advans Ghana's (Kiva's Field Partner) office, with Kofi, the Advans Loan Officer, to meet the nearest potential Kiva borrower, Elizabeth. For the first leg of our journey, we had to take three different tro-tros, minibus share taxis, and we eventually ended up at a busy intersection with market stalls all around. Now the exciting and unexpected part of the trip began – getting on a motorcycle for the last 6 kilometers to Elizabeth's village.

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Aug 30, 2018 HT Haiti

Jeremie, the main city of the Grand’Anse region

I dedicated the last few weeks of my fellowship to traveling to rural Haiti and meeting some of Zafèn’s borrowers. Out of the ten borrowers I visited, eight of them were a part of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) which represent the informal micro-finance organisations of the country. Meeting these borrowers is a fantastic opportunity when it comes to understanding Haiti's financial system and Zafèn's crucial work within the system....

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Aug 20, 2018 HT Haiti

Mountains covered by forests are everywhere in the Dominican Republic –Here, Salto La Jalda

While I was in the Dominican Republic, I caught sight of the Haitian border and noticed that I couldn’t see as many trees when looking towards Haiti. My journey to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, confirmed this impression of 2 very different worlds on the same island. 

I knew about deforestation but was still taken aback to see it so clearly. Unlike its neighbor the Dominican Republic, which...

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Aug 3, 2018 UG Uganda

Jackson at his farm in the Kiruhura district of Western Uganda

Many wonder how much of an impact microfinance has on the lives of people, and particularly whether it does anything to bring people out of poverty. I visited Jackson, a hardworking farmer and businessman who lives in the Kiruhura district of the Western region of Uganda. Jackson has so far taken five loans over the past couple of years, and as a result his business has grown tremendously. Before he was able to access any...

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Jul 19, 2018 ID Indonesia

Borrowers pose shortly after loan payments in Lebak district.
 

I started my fellowship in Indonesia, a vast archipelago known for its volcanoes and dreamy white sand beaches. However, with over a quarter billion people from different ethnic groups, Indonesia is also a dense melting pot and has the largest economy in Southeast Asia.  Yet, despite its rapid economic growth, the country also faces enormous challenges. Indonesia's GDP per capita is a fraction of the world’s average and...

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Jul 6, 2018 KE Kenya

Students participate in a Youth Entrepreneurship Club in Embu (photo from Hand in Hand EA)

“You can see the self esteem and dignity that they gain,” Shadrack says. Shadrack is a program manager at Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, a Kiva field partner in Kenya. He is describing the impact that Hand in Hand's youth entrepreneurship clubs have on their student participants. Outside of these entrepreneurship clubs, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa partners with clients who undergo an intensive 9-month...

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Jun 29, 2018 CO Colombia

Judith beside the sewing machine she bought with her Kiva loan.

My birthday was fast approaching and I was having an emergency. I had nothing to wear. This might seem like a small problem, but here in Colombia, the “rumba” – the party – reigns supreme and if you don’t look fabulous, you might as well stay home. Besides, my birthday was to fall on a Saturday, an astrological phenomenon that cannot be taken for granted. The 23rd of June must be celebrated from the moment it...

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Jun 26, 2018 GO Global Update

Hodrina holding her son in front of her new house.

While the Dominican Republic is famous for Punta Cana and its pristine beaches, its neighbour Haiti is mostly known for being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but both countries have much more to offer than these limiting stereotypes. In the 20th century, as Haiti’s economic and political climates became increasingly dire, Haitians started to migrate to the Dominican Republic. A series of bilateral...

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Jun 20, 2018 GO Global Update

Rwanda's Gihembe refugee camp

The movement of people across and within borders in East Africa since the 1950’s has been significant. Often, movement has been a result of conflict or instability, with people leaving their homes in search of safety.  When the Rwandan Genocide ended in 1994 and the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of the country, those who had fled were encouraged to return home. In the 24 years since the genocide, more than 3.4 million Rwandan refugees have returned home,...

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