May 31, 2013
a massive silver statue of Chinggis Khan looms 40m high on a snowy spring morning at Tsonjin Boldog, east of UB
Spring may have arrived in Mongolia, but for two Kiva staff who visited me in April, winter gave one last hurrah and dumped the largest snowfall I’ve seen since being here (a whopping 2 inches!).
If you’ve had a chance to read some of my past blog posts, you’ll already know that winter in Mongolia is a big deal—even for a Canuck like me. While precipitation is...
May 27, 2013
Azerbaijan, Chile, Guatemala, Kenya
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Kiva works with over 193 Field Partners in 68 different countries. As Kiva Fellows, we have the privilege of working directly with these partners in their offices. You can bet that the definition of "office" ranges pretty wildly across the globe, from cubicle hell to patios with mountain views. We wanted to open the door (no pun intended) to our offices and work lives to show you what they are like--the good, the bad, and the "that's interesting".
Why not make a loan right now through one of these fantastic partners?...
May 25, 2013
One day in Imphal, I found myself engaged in a lengthy discussion with one of my field partner's Cluster Heads. He was trying to explain to me his dedication to the organization, and why it has persisted as long as it has. He was eloquently describing to me the evidence he has gathered as proof that microfinance works.
Now, I thought I knew that microfinance works. After all, I had done research about microfinance during my graduate degree. If the books and papers say its so, it must be so!
What I’ve learned throughout my time here, though, is that...
May 25, 2013
Have you ever wondered who writes Kiva loan descriptions? Who takes the pictures and videos you see on the website? Who is responsible for connecting you--the lender--to borrowers?
At Zoona in Zambia, that person is Memory, Kiva Coordinator extraordinaire
Each of Kiva’s 193 field partners has a Kiva Coordinator, a designated person that manages Kiva loans. The role of Kiva Coordinator varies between partners, and is sometimes shared between multiple people.
May 23, 2013
My first mind blowing experience in Kosovo happened almost immediately when my feet touched the ground getting out of the bus in Kosovo - what an introduction to a country!
May 21, 2013
Riding a motorcycle in a developing country is, well, eventful to say the least. The term “road hazard” takes on a whole new meaning. Horse drawn carts, herds of cattle, stray chickens – the possibilities are endless. The first time I had the pleasure of experiencing a motorcycle ride in Nicaragua was the day I met Claudia.
The purpose of my adventure was to meet with multiple...
Trying to look tough...not sure I pull it off in my preppy Kiva polo
May 20, 2013
Global Update, Kenya
For the past few months Kiva Zip has been constantly innovating and experimenting using mobile technology. One experiment that deserves to be highlighted is that of our pilot with a service called Kopo Kopo. Kopo Kopo is a world-class platform which enables small and medium businesses to accept mobile payments and build relationships with their customers. They receive a six-digit till number that allows customers to pay using mobile money.
The benefits to our borrowers have been huge. Because of Kopo Kopo, entrepreneurs can deal less in cash thus reducing their risk for theft, which is...
May 18, 2013
“I just want to be a successful business woman,” Sandra says when asked what she hopes to achieve in the next 2-3 years.
She already is. In fact, she is the most successful agent working with Zoona--a mobile money/transactions company that allows individuals to send and receive money over their phones using the conversion of cash into electronic value, and electronic value back into cash. Zoona relies on a distrubuted network of agents, like Sandra, who operate businesses that provide the cash in/out capability.
Sandra opened her...
May 16, 2013
Mrs. Pham Kieu Oanh is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP), a non-governmental and non-profit organization working to nurture social enterprises (SEs) in Vietnam to maximize their chances for success. CSIP is a critical partner providing intensive, early stage support to a select number of social entrepreneurs in the form of financial assistance, mentoring, networking, and promotional campaigns. Kiva is in the early stages of considering how we can partner with CSIP to help bring funding to social enterprises across Vietnam.
May 14, 2013
Global Update, Rwanda
Kerosene is the primary source of light for over a billion people on the planet. Its fumes can cause health problems for those that use it frequently (sometimes children, studying after dark), and the long-run costs can reach a quarter of a family’s income. To top things off, kerosene’s black carbon byproduct is a far greater threat to climate change than carbon dioxide (see article). Despite all these problems, its incrementally cheap price and ubiquity make it popular.
In light of this, numerous clean-energy organizations have stepped up to tackle this problem, trying to...