Stories tagged with Countries

Dec 12, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

When Julie Ross (Kiva Fellows Program Manager) asked what I would find most challenging about a Kiva Fellowship I think my first response was ‘not being at home for Christmas’.

I LOVE Christmas. Many people think that it has become too commercialized. Not me. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll never tire of the protracted build up; the pomp; the ceremony; the tremendous effort that goes into making this one day special. 70s rock band Wizard sang ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. Although this may seem a little over-the-top, when...

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Dec 12, 2010 ID Indonesia

By Jerry Harter, KF13 Indonesia

A micro-finance institution (MFI) is a social enterprise.  Unlike ordinary for-profit businesses, a social enterprise’s measure of success is its social agenda.  Nonetheless, it needs to be financially viable in order to continue doing its work.  The social agenda of micro-finance institutions is to alleviate poverty through the use of financial services for the poor, such as credit and savings services.  Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK), the MFI I’ve been working with as a Kiva Fellow in Bali, is a cooperative that operates much like a...

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Dec 12, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13

Before beginning my placement as a Kiva Fellow, I tended to view the Kiva model simply in terms of members lending to borrowers and borrowers paying back. It was hard to envisage the intricacies of an Field Partner’s (or MFI) operations and what goes into facilitating a loan. In my eyes the MFI was the middle man; an amorphous mass that made things happen. Of course, the simple fact is that without MFIs Kiva would not exist. They share an equal responsibility with the lenders and the borrowers in ensuring that Kiva’s mission – ‘to...

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Dec 12, 2010 BJ Benin

By Frederic Billou, KF13, Benin

As a Kiva Fellow working with loan officers from ALIDe, Kiva’s partner in that country, I am fortunate to spend a lot of time in the field, visiting many Kiva borrowers.

As mentioned in part 1, the vast majority of people relying on micro loans are extremely dedicated to repaying their loans on time. While one may think that people with such limited resources are higher risk, the fact that their loans  actually insure their subsistence in most cases makes it quite literally vital for them to remain on...

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Nov 11, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Nick Hamilton, KF13, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Having spent a lot of time speaking with borrowers during the week, I decided to spend Friday in the office. Kiva Fellows are required to complete an extensive list of ‘deliverables’ and I was aware that I still had a lot to deliver. I had just begun editing a short film when I was approached by Noberto, Esperanza International’s Kiva Coordinator.

“Fancy observing one of Esperanza’s health workers in the field? It’s one of the services we provide and you haven’t...

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Sep 9, 2010 CL Chile

By Lorena Gil, KF12, Fondo Esperanza – Chile

Each year Fondo Esperanza (FE) conducts a month long campaign (July 15th – August 15th) geared to attracting more socias (borrowers/entrepreneurs) and reaffirming FE’s presence in needy communities.  I arrived to Fondo Esperanza in the middle of the campaign and enjoyed being part of these activities.  

I was also able to see how FE markets itself to the public.  I was quite surprised when I arrived and turned on the television and saw a commercial of FE, how often do you see a commercial of an MFI(microfinance...

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Aug 8, 2010 SV El Salvador

Whether it’s the memory of a drawn-out civil war, stories of gangs and violence, or the influence of one of Central America’s most prolific emigrant communities, El Salvador’s complex past directly relates to the challenges it faces today.

El Salvador’s modern history stems from its Civil War, officially fought between 1980 and 1992. Waged within the context of the Cold War, the conflict pit an established national army, backed by the Reagan administration, against a leftist guerilla force known as the FMLN. The guerillas were based in the rugged and remote mountains of...

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Jul 7, 2010 KG Kyrgyzstan

By Sam Trauffer, Kiva Fellow

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Kyrgyzstan is one of the dark spots (source:

Kyrgyzstan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. In the Corruption Perception Index 2009, it ranks 162 out of the 180 countries that were...

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Jun 6, 2010 CL Chile

By Kati Mayfield, KF11 Chile

Let’s hear it for everyone who works hard: supporting themselves, supporting their families, and trying to balance their professional and personal lives!

We all know that this balance is nearly impossible to achieve, but the formula becomes especially complicated when you run your own business.

While microfinance very much opens up otherwise inaccessible business opportunities to micro-entrepreneurs and their families, the obligations of running these businesses and repaying loans can be a cause of great strain and tension.


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Jun 6, 2010 KG Kyrgyzstan

By Sam Trauffer, Kyrgyzstan

Four weeks ago, I arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to start my second Kiva fellowship. I had spent the previous three months in Thiès, Senegal. The poverty patterns which I encountered in Senegal were not apparent in Bishkek. “Poverty in post-Soviet Union countries is not easily understood”, Eva Nemirovsky, the other Kiva Fellow who currently works in Bishkek, wrote in her recent blog post. Indeed. There seemed to be so many amenities here in Bishkek of which I would not have dared to dream of in Senegal! Four example, our apartment had...

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