Update from the Field: Earth Day, Celebrations + Exceeding Expectations

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky

Kiva Fellows celebrated Earth Day around the world (Rwanda pictured)

Kiva Fellows observed Earth Day by sharing projects initiated by their partner microfinance institutions and host countries and by celebrating Kiva.org’s first batch of “Green Loans”. The upbeat mood also extended to anniversary parties at MFIs in Jordan and Armenia, enthusiastic endorsements to travel to Colombia, and reporting on a great opportunity for Kiva clients in Mongolia. Fellows also visited with borrowers in the Philippines, South Africa, and Armenia, and took us on a typical commute in Mexico City. All in all, a very busy week as members of KF14 wind down their time in the field.

Spazas + Tuck Shops: Corner Stores in South Africa
Country: South Africa / Fellow: Alexis Ditkowsky (KF14)

The difference between a spaza and a tuck shop is still a matter of debate but no one disagrees about the importance of corner stores in South Africa.

Colombia: Lose your perception of the past and come visit!
Country: Colombia / Fellow: John Gwillim (KF14)

John enthusiastically endorses Colombia for your next trip abroad. Beaches, mountains, jungles, colonial cities, modern amenities, and friendly people – it’s hard to go wrong.

Time, Love, Money & Energy
Country: Philippines / Fellow: Kaajal Laungani (KF12)

Inspired by the wisdom of a martial arts champion, Kaajal asks borrowers, “Do you have enough time? love? money? energy?” and shares their thoughtful responses.

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!
Country: Jordan / Fellow: Alex Silversmith (KF14)

Alex’s partner MFI celebrates twelve years of impact with cake, pashminas, watches, and a few of their 57,000 current clients.

The Subway Show
Country: Mexico / Fellow: John Farmer (KF14)

A trip on public transportation can quickly transition from entertaining to awkward to uncomfortable. John recounts one such morning in Mexico City.

Country: Armenia / Fellow: Caree Edson (KF14)

Caree’s experience meeting with borrowers and business owners all over Armenia has met (and exceeded) her expectations of microfinance.

Additional XacBank Kiva borrowers eligible for interest rebates in savings accounts
Country: Mongolia / Fellow: Amber Barger (KF14)

Amber has been assisting her MFI in a special program: Kiva clients who pay back their loans early or on time receive a partial rebate on the interest paid, deposited straight into a savings account!

Happy Earth Day from Kiva Fellows around the Globe!
Countries: Armenia, Bolivia, Rwanda, Jordan, Cambodia, Ghana / Fellow: Compiled by Caree Edson (KF14)

While there is plenty of bad news about the environment to go around, Kiva Fellows took a moment to highlight environmental initiatives at their partner MFIs and in their host countries in honor of Earth Day. And in more good news, Kiva just launched a series of “Green Loans” so lenders can support environmentally conscientious businesses.

Updates from the past month:
Update from the Field: Trash, Delicious Treats + Community Outreach
Cute Pigs, New Toilets + Everything is Relative
April Fools, Terrible Coffee + Getting Attached
Social Quirks, Justin Bieber + Lots of Carbs
Fun Facts, Field Visits + Back to Basics


Plus more pictures from the past week:

Armenia (by Caree Edson)

Cambodia (by Stephanie Sibal)

South Africa (by Alexis Ditkowsky)

Jordan (by Alex Silversmith)


Mexico (by John Farmer)

Philippines (by Kaajal Laungani)

Mongolian Tugrug (MNT)

Mongolia (by Amber Barger)

Colombia (by John Gwillim)

About the author

Alexis Ditkowsky