Day 0: A Kiva Fellow’s reflections

By Vishnu Hariharan, KF10, Philippines

As I sit at a local internet cafe in Cabanatuan city, Philippines (where I am surrounded by five kids all reading out loud from the Kiva Fellows blog site on my computer screen!), I find myself reflecting more on what I hope to learn when I’m in the field.

Back in July when I applied to be a Kiva Fellow, my goals from the program were generally to learn more about microfinance in developing countries and the use of financial tools to enact social change.

From speaking with alumni, Kiva staff and attending training last week, the immersion of microfinance theory and Kiva’s mission has compelled me to investigate more on the issues that lie at the heart of what I wanted out of this experience.

Here are some of them:

  1. Sustainability and outreach. Does the quest for sustainability undermine institutions from reaching the poorest or does profitability position them better to serve the poor in the future?
  2. Just how deep is outreach? What methods are used for targeting the poorest?
  3. Are peoples’ lives improving? The focus on measurement of poverty indices and increased wealth is a tidy quantifiable measure but it is only a proxy.

I look forward to working with ASKI field partner in the Philippines, where I hope to add more context to these and many more issues.  I invite readers to join the discussion and share their thoughts on the areas of microfinance they find most intriguing.

My name is Vishnu (pictured).

I hope all KF10s have a great first week at their field partners and I look forward to reuniting with the Kiva Fellows in Asia, otherwise known as Team Awesome in the coming weeks!

Vishnu is a Kiva Fellow (KF10) working with ASKI in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. Please click the links for info on ASKI field partner page & how to join the ASKI lending team.

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