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Update from the Field: Innovation, Vibrant Cities and Stories and Lessons from Borrowers

Compiled by David Gorgani | KF17 + KF18 | Guatemala

Kiva borrower Fareeda and her sewing machine – Anya Raza, Pakistan

It’s official – the Fellows have taken to the field!  This week’s update touches on many different Fellows’ experiences visiting Kiva borrowers in the field and traces the similarities and differences we face in our borrower visits, all with a strong undertone of inspiration.  Let’s face it folks, this is why we chose to volunteer 3+ months of our time for the Fellowship – to talk to the very people that you read about on  However, it is also clear through posts that cover other topics that a Kiva Fellowship is a much more diverse package than simply meeting Kiva borrowers; it comes with a number of side effects that include living in vibrant locations, jumping to the forefront of the field of microfinance, meeting inspirational people on our off time, and many more.  As always, expect to learn some new things from this week’s stories from the field.

Doing Good in ‘Dougou
Diana Biggs | KF18 | Burkina Faso
Diana discusses a recent event honoring French volunteers in Burkina Faso and discusses two innovative social products offered by her MFI Field Partner, Entrepreneurs du Monde.

How to Make it in Kampala
Julie Kriegshaber | KF18 | Uganda
In this post, Julie tells the stories of two entrepreneurial Ugandans with very different ideas but both with the skills, knowledge and motivation to turn these ideas into reality.

Kiva = 1, Trough of Disillusionment = 0
Muskan Chopra | KF18 | Kenya
In this post, Muskan describes how the Fellows’ concept of a mid-Fellowship “trough of disillusionment” doesn’t fit the the psyche of Kenyan micro-borrowers, and tells the story of a school principal that embodies this phenomenon.

Nairobi – Where Development, Social Enterprise and Kiva come to Party
Patrick Seeton | KF18 | Kenya
Having spent just over two weeks in Nairobi, Patrick discusses the vibrant range of development and social enterprise institutions based in the city, the resulting social dynamic and how these are related to Nairobi’s unofficial titles of “The Paris of Africa” and “The San Francisco of Africa”.

New Frontiers of Investing
Vikram Madan | KF18 | Indonesia
Motivated by an event hosted by his Alma Mater, Vikram gives insight into many of the socially-oriented investment activities currently taking place in Indonesia.

Pakistan: Where There’s a Ferris Wheel, There’s Hope
Anya Raza | KF18 | Pakistan

In this post, Anya discusses the excitement that is Kiva Fellow fieldwork, tells us the inspiring stories of two Kiva’s borrowers in Pakistan, and describes the sensation of excitement and enthusiasm that is felt by every Fellow after meeting Kiva borrowers.

Mobile Money: Where’s Kiva’s Role? Transactions, Travels and Zebras in Zambia
Olivia Hanrahan-Soar | KF18 |  Zambia and South Africa
Working with one of Kiva’s newest and most innovative products – mobile money – Olivia describes why this product is so important and how Kiva financing can help the 92% of Zambians without access to traditional banking activities obtain access to financial services.

Lessons from Building Sand Castles and from Peruvian Micro-Entrepreneurs
Icaro Rebolledo| KF18 | Peru

In this post, Icaro discusses a thought inspired by a child on the beach and confirmed by his visits to Kiva clients in the field – that peace, love and hope can be attained by any who desire it.

United They Stand: The First Steps in Micro-finance
Ward Lassoe | KF18 | Armenia
After describing the plight of most low-yield farmers in Northeastern Armenia, Ward tells us about a process pursued by an innovative group of farmers in this region: forming a cooperative.


Updates from the Past Month:

Client training in Mexico, saying “hello!” to Burkina Faso, + learn a little bit about Albania!
Update from the Field: Thoughts on Home (New and Old), Fun Experiences and First Days
Life as a Fellow in San Francisco, a Walk through an Art Fair + Becoming Part of a Winning Soccer Team
Appreciating Volunteers & Poetry from a Newly Arrived Fellow


Plus, more pictures from the past week:

Destreet – an artistic entrepreneur in Kampala – Julie Kriegshaber, Uganda

Students in a classroom in Western Nairobi whose construction was financed by a Kiva loan – Muskan Chopra, Kenya

Fellow Anya Raza with the family of Zara, a Kiva borrower in Pakistan – Anya Raza, Pakistan

A mobile money kiosk in Lusaka – Olivia Hanrahan-Soar, Zambia

Vahran Asatryan – a peach farmer in Northeastern Armenia – Ward Lassoe, Armenia

David Gorgani is currently serving his second Fellowship in Guatemala, working with FAPE and ASDIR to help them maximize their relationships with Kiva. David’s previous Fellowship was in the Dominican Republic, helping ASPIRE get started as a Kiva Field Partner and helping Esperanza International with borrower verifications.

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