May 4, 2015 CR Costa Rica

María Isabel has lived on her farm for fifteen years. Before that, she lived in the capital, San José. It was a hard life trying to earn a living when she didn’t complete school. But on her farm, María Isabel has been able to thrive.
Cows on the Range
María Isabel owns nine dairy cows and milks them every day. Then, twice a day she makes cheese and sour cream. María Isabel has many clients in her community because her products are fresh and less expensive than the stores in the area. She made sure that I tried her... Continue Reading >>


May 4, 2015 AF Afghanistan

I recently had the pleasure to speak with Rangina, a current Kiva borrower and the founder of Kandahar Treasure, an artisan organization established in 2003 and based in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Rangina is a member of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise (www.alllianceforartisanenterprise.org), a Kiva Field Partner which works with artisan groups globally to help them access needed financing and grow their businesses.
Rangina, founder of Kandahar Treasure
Kandahar Treasure provides work to over 400 women in Kandahar... Continue Reading >>


May 2, 2015 HN Honduras

Los Pinos Monquecagua Group in their potato field
As a Kiva Fellow working in Honduras, I have had the opportunity to visit an array of impressive borrowers, a large number of whom are smallholder farmers. Although their stories are inspiring, a common theme many have shared with me is the adverse impact of the middleman. Locally referred to as an “intermediary” or “coyote,” the middleman will often be the only viable option many smallholder farmers have for both the purchase of agricultural inputs and the sale of... Continue Reading >>


May 1, 2015 PS Palestinian Territory

On March 27th, I ran the Palestine “Right to Movement” Marathon with 2,000+ other runners through the old city of Bethlehem in the West Bank.  Despite my fatigue, I was delighted to learn that female participation is a whopping 39%.  In fact, the winner of the women’s 10k, Nisreen Fawagrah, who finished only about 4 minutes after the male winner, is Palestinian. At Faten, (Palestine for Credit & Development), one of KIVA’s MFI partners in Palestine, there’s plenty of female success stories. In fact, one of the top posts, Regional Manager for the Gaza Strip, a small piece of... Continue Reading >>


May 1, 2015 US United States

Born and raised in Westchester County, NY, which my NYC friends refer to as “Upstate”, you may be surprised to hear I’d never been on a farm before. Fortunately, Kiva Zip gave me the chance to change that with a two-day farm tour. I hop into a Zip car in downtown Manhattan, with a dream and my farm-friendly boots. With Katherine driving, Ushma coordinating the trip, and myself navigating (and blasting 90’s music), the Kiva Zip NYC team is ready to begin our farm tour. First stop, Schaghticoke, NY. Ejay and his eager herding dog are waiting to greet us at R’eisen Shine Farm. We hear the... Continue Reading >>


May 1, 2015 VN Vietnam

A man overlooks the crowd gathering to watch the Da Nang International Fireworks Competition on the Han River on April 29, 2015.
It's April 30, 2015, or 40 years to the day since the Vietnam war ended. If you didn't already know, you might not guess it walking the streets of Da Nang, Vietnam's central hub and quickly developing showcase city. Aside from the national flags lining the pavement and grainy war footage accompanying commemorative ceremonies on TV, it's not immediately obvious. Da Nang's bi-annual... Continue Reading >>


Apr 28, 2015 US United States

During my fellowship I’ve met so many inspiring, creative and wonderful entrepreneurs. I’ve been amazed by the devotion and commitment of our trustees, that are working so hard to help make our entrepreneurs' dreams come true. During my fellowship I’ve also made one particularly meaningful connection – I’ve met Norman. Norman is a double borrower with Kiva Zip and he has used his Kiva Zip loans to stock up the inventory of his Ship’s Store to sell more of the handicrafts and artistry products of the artists he features in his store. Norman has also mentored one of his artists, Jonah, to... Continue Reading >>


Apr 28, 2015 ZW Zimbabwe

By far the most rewarding aspect of my Kiva Fellowship here in Zimbabwe, is the opportunity to meet individual Kiva borrowers and to understand from them, first hand, how they are using their loans to transform their lives. Sometimes, however, those accounts can be painful to hear. Patience lives in the Gokwe district, in the north west of the country. I was slightly concerned about the trip to Gokwe: anyone I mentioned it to gave me a look of sympathy, mixed with a certain glee, at the prospect of the journey I was in for. I now know why. It’s a vast district, remote and quite sparsely... Continue Reading >>


Apr 26, 2015 US United States

Photo Cred: Central Wesleyan Church
A letter can’t make that much of a difference in the overall scheme of things…right? I mean, how much lost in translation really is there from adding a letter (neighbor v. neighbour – you may just sound that much more sophisticated with the latter, but that’s about it), subtracting a letter (foregoing v. forgoing – you’ve either already passed the thing by or never had it in the first place, so I wouldn’t worry about it either way), changing... Continue Reading >>


Apr 24, 2015 CR Costa Rica

Last Friday, I was invited to the community assembly in La Suiza, Costa Rica. This assembly takes place every two years to vote for the Credit Committee’s Board of Directors. A credit committee is similar to a village bank in that it is responsible for assessing and approving loan requests, disbursing loans to borrowers, collecting loan payments, documenting all credit requests and exchanges, and monitoring borrower progress.   When I walked into the community space, the President of the Committee, Doña Ethel called me over to sit next to her. Doña Ethel has been part of the Board of the... Continue Reading >>


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