Update from the Field: Fun Facts, Field Visits + Back to Basics

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

girl cooking

This week, take a trip to the field with Kiva Fellows (Mexico pictured)

For many Fellows, this week was about getting back to basics: the borrowers. In between fun facts about Kiva Fellowships, doing database detective work, and reflecting on the internal dynamics of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions, Fellows found themselves in the field again and again, much to their delight and often to the delight of borrowers. From Latin America to Africa to the Caucasus to Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, meet Kiva clients, learn about their businesses, and check out all of the great photos.

Kiva Fellows by the Numbers
Countries: Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Mexico, Ghana, Uganda, Mongolia, Ukraine, Nepal, Peru, Cambodia, Indonesia, Liberia, Guatemala, South Africa, Colombia, Bolivia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan / Fellows: By David McNeill (KF14) & Adam Cohn (KF14) but featuring the entire 14th class

Ever wonder how far Fellows travel for their placements or how slow the Internet really is in Liberia? And did you know that you can buy Coca-Cola in a plastic bag for $.15 in Cambodia? Discover more fun facts about Kiva Fellowships in this post and the accompanying spreadsheet.

Death By Fire
Country: Mexico / Fellow: John Farmer (KF14)

John considers the tension between business and family after meeting a borrower who successfully used microloans to set up a tamale shop but hesitates to make an expensive investment even though it would improve her family’s health.

Database Detective: South Africa Edition
Country: South Africa / Fellow: Alexis Ditkowsky (KF14)

For those of you who like reading about databases and reporting, Alexis has you covered. For everyone else who wants to visit a borrower, learn about her business, and look at lots of pictures, you’re taken care of, too.

Get into the groove
Country: Ukraine / Fellow: Jacqueline Gunn (KF14)

Jacqueline finally finds a cure for the shock of moving from Ghana to Ukraine in the middle of winter: visiting borrowers! Get to know Sergei, Yana, and Irina and learn about the philosophies behind their businesses.

Piece by Piece: The Garment Worker’s Loan
Country: Cambodia / Fellow: Stephanie Sibal (KF14)

Stephanie introduces us to the challenges of working in the garment industry through Sok, a Kiva client. Thanks to a recent loan, Sok purchased a cow which she hopes will increase her family’s income stream so she can send her sons to university one day.

Realities Of Microfinance In Benin. (Part 1, The White Man)
Country: Benin / Fellow: Gareth Davies (KF14)

In case you thought that picking up and moving to another part of the world was easy, Gareth explains some of the new realities he’s encountered as a white man in Benin.

Women Working for Women: Staff + Client Collaboration in Nepal
Country: Nepal / Fellow: Claudine Emeott (KF14)

BPW Nepal not only serves women through its loan products and personable customer service, it also provides a warm and supportive environment for its staff, management, and board members, the vast majority of whom are female.

New Horizons- A Fellow’s First Field Visit
Country: Armenia / Fellow: Caree Edson (KF14)

Caree’s first trip into the field was definitely worth the wait. In addition to being welcomed with cake and chocolate at the New Horizons office, she learns more about their loan products and partnerships, meets several borrowers with very distinct businesses, and eats lunch at “indisputably the most beautiful place in Armenia”.

Previous updates from the field:
Carnival, Collaboration + Cheese-Making
Man’s Day, Singing Fellows + Learning How to Count
Videos, Epic Commutes + Going Beyond Microfinance
“Christmas”, Trekking, Adversity + Good Company


Plus more pictures from this past week:

Armenia (by Caree Edson)

fish tamale

Mexico (by John Farmer)

Interviewing Irina

Ukraine (by Jacqueline Gunn)

Nepal (by Claudine Emeott)

South Africa (by Alexis Ditkowsky)

Cambodia (by Stephanie Sibal)

About the author

Alexis Ditkowsky