Update from the Field: Trash, Delicious Treats + Community Outreach

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Kiva Fellows love to learn about the intersection of food and business (Colombia pictured)

Let’s take a moment to vicariously consume baked goods in Colombia, coffee in Nicaragua, tomatoes in Ukraine, and a traditional meal in Nepal. Once you’re sated, you can read about the dismal state of trash collection in Guatemala, the lives of borrowers in Bolivia, what “mobile” savings really means in Indonesia, and how Kiva’s partner MFIs all around the world are providing life-enhancing services and engaging with the community in meaningful ways.

Nicaraguan Coffee Odyssey – Lend To Growers Now!
Country: Nicaragua / Fellow: Karen Gray (KF14)

Karen’s commitment to food in Nicaragua continues with updates on the coffee industry. She visits a local coffee grower, a coffee cooperative, and a coffee fair, where she enjoys a chilled banana, chocolate, and espresso rum concoction. Yum!

What women want in Bolivia
Country: Bolivia / Fellow: Clara Vreeken (KF14)

Clara introduces us to four borrowers in La Paz: Francisca with her macramé-embellished blankets, Rosa with her beautiful hand-made shoes, Carlos the cab driver, and Wilma who is struggling to pay back her loan.

Conflict Generated Displacement and Microfinance: Helping People Build a New Life
Country: Colombia / Fellow: John Gwillim (KF14)

John profiles Merys, a local Kiva client who, like many Colombians, was displaced by violence and had to rebuild her life from scratch. With the support of John’s partner MFI and others, Merys now runs a successful bakery and plans to expand her business.

[Video blog] Glory to the tomato!
Country: Ukraine / Fellow: Jacqueline Gunn (KF14)

Jacqueline visits a hub of Ukrainian agriculture and learns about the benefits of greenhouses, the challenges of fluctuating prices, and the impact of agricultural loans offered by her partner MFI to entrepreneurs in the region.

A Different Spin on “Mobile Savings”
Country: Indonesia / Fellow: Lisa Skowron (KF14)

Lisa was thrilled when she learned her partner MFI was launching a mobile savings program but soon realized that the process involved vans not cell phones. At the end of the day, though, impact is not about cutting-edge technology, it’s about execution, and her MFI has big plans for “mobile” banking.

Guatemala’s Trash Problem and One Pueblo’s Response
Country: Guatemala / Fellow: Gustavo Visalli (KF14)

Most places in Guatemala lack a formal system for trash collection and it shows. Fortunately, Gustavo’s partner MFI has taken matters into its own hands, establishing a community collection service without government assistance.

Giving Women a Voice: Local Governance in BPW Patan
Country: Nepal / Fellow: Claudine Emeott (KF14)

Despite a backdrop of political upheaval in Nepal, Claudine’s partner MFI has demonstrated a commitment to local governance, encouraging borrowers and center chiefs to provide candid feedback about services, pricing, and improving relationships.

Updates from the past month:
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
Carnival, Collaboration + Cheese-Making


Plus more pictures from the past week:

Colombia (by John Gwillim)

Materials bought with a Kiva loan

Ukraine (by Jacqueline Gunn)

Totonicapan Trash Sign

Guatemala (by Gustavo Visalli)

TLM Mobile Training

Indonesia (by Lisa Skowron)

Bolivia (by Clara Vreeken)

Nepal (by Claudine Emeott)

Nicaragua (by Karen Gray)

About the author

Alexis Ditkowsky