What is it like being a Kiva Fellow? My week with 5 Loan officers and 100 Kiva Borrowers – Part 1

By Aurelie Dagneaux, KF11, Ecuador

After 9 weeks on the field, I thought I no longer could have first times. I was SO wrong. This is the story of my week…

Monday: Need for training on agriculture and borrowers on the verge of losing their harvest

8am A 1h30 motorcycle ride to do borrower verification and journal updates, with Danny the loan officer (LO) from San Miguel office

10 am Meeting with the borrowers group. 5 came to the meeting, 2 are missing.  I am confronted to my first dead borrower, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. I will personally write a journal update and a special note to his lenders who had questions for him

This morning, I test a new Kiva feature allowing lenders to ask questions to borrowers through journals and with KF being their voice on the field. In 48h, I have received more than a dozen questions to ask borrowers
Discussion around fertilizers used (mostly chemicals around here, although start to understand the benefits of organic ones)
They all insist on the need for training on agriculture, fertilizers and to fight crop diseases that are killing their harvest

12pm Back to the nearby village for a lunch with the President of the group we visit this afternoon. Talk about diversification of activities (raising fishes) with all diseases in agriculture

2pm Meeting with another group for journals and borrower verification of data.
These borrowers are about to lose their harvest with all crop diseases they are currently facing

3.30pm A 1h30 ride to go back to the office. We run out of gas and have to be escorted by a truck…

5.30pm Back to the office, uploading new borrower profiles on Kiva (from last Friday)

Tuesday: “Please sign here and here and here and here again”

8.30am Interview with new clients, for Kiva profiles in San Miguel office with Danny. No less than 10 signatures for each borrower, to get a loan …

12pm Back to the main office to update my workplan for Kiva, so that they know where I stand on my deliverables (tasks)

2pm Training of Kiva coordinators on how to do journals in Spanish and English (a language they do not speak at all…)

4pm Discuss the LO monthly objectives and might-be future incentives with management

Wednesday: My first lunch at 10.30am offered by borrowers and social performance

8am Journal updates with Juan Carlos, the LO from Guaranda, after an hour motorcycle drive

10.30am Lunch offered by borrowers: cuy (guinea pig), potatoes and beer…A little too early for me…

1pm Back to main office to publish my Kiva blog “Welcome the new Kiva baby!” about the French web version of Kiva that was just released

2pm Working on Cerise social performance tool with management and Kiva Coordinators, to assess the MFI position in reaching the poorest with the adequate products and services, while providing benefits to clients and ensuring social responsibility. Read a great post by James to better under social performance at Kiva.

7pm A 2h bus ride to go to Chillanes office. Will spend the night there to take an early bus for client visits tomorrow

To be followed…
Trailer: breaking safety rules, encounter with real poverty…

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