It is a bit of a strange site to see German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Brazilian flags hanging from balconies and waving from car antennas all over Lebanon. But this is the excitement that is brewing in Lebanon as it prepares for the 2010 World Cup. Café owners all over Beirut are investing in bigger, better televisions and stocking up on water pipe tobacco and food goods that will surely be demanded by their...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Countries
Strong ties to local communities not only allow microfinance institutions to build enduring relationships with borrowers, but also to invest in socially-driven community projects. In many cases, the non-financial services an organization provides can be as valuable as the microcredit it offers. Kiva’s Lebanon partner, Al Majmoua, is an excellent example of how the resources and commitment of a microfinance institution can positively impact and empower an extremely important segment of the population—young people or “il shabab” in Arabic.
Al Majmoua was originally started by Save the...Continue Reading >>
Generally when I escape to the Beirut Corniche to go running, I try to avoid making contact with the young lovers sharing a romantic moment in their parked cars. However, on this particular day I could not help but get involved as I saw a brawny man repeatedly and violently beating the crying veiled woman sitting in his car. She tried to get out. He locked the door. She was hunched next to the window trembling in fear pleading him to stop. He told her to shut up.
...Continue Reading >>
As I strolled casually down this major city street I savored the sweet smells of spices as I walked by small grocery shops, admired the dangling gold earrings and embroidered “saris” of women giggling as they strutted down the sidewalk, and edged closer than I normally would to passersby hoping to catch a few phrases in my mother tongue of Bengali. This would seem like a typical day for a Kiva Fellow cruising the crowded streets of Kolkata...Continue Reading >>
Seventeen young, scared faces sit around the board room for the full-day training of new marketers. I had been present the day that this new crop of SMEP employees was being interviewed. They had assembled en masse at our head office; many of them looking like the suit they were wearing had been hastily purchased at one of the local secondhand markets in anticipation of their first job interview. In fact, they were what I refer to as “babies” the young-ish, newly graduated staffers whose faces more often look up at me when I am conducting trainings at the SMEP branch offices all over...Continue Reading >>
This is a blog that I’ve written in a hurry so as not to let the words swirling in my head escape my fingers on the page. In my tenure at SMEP, I’ve never attended the weekly devotional, held every Monday morning from 8-10 in the morning. I always thought of myself as a secularist, and I assumed that attending would make me uncomfortable – after all, I come from a place where there is separation of church and everything. I’ve grown up in the deeply religious “bible belt” of the Southern United States, and I just assumed that at SMEP, the devotional...Continue Reading >>
By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo
On Thursday March 4th, the second Togolese presidential elections were held since the death of President Eyadéma Gnassingbé in 2005. After 38 years of uninterrupted rule, his son Faure assumed the presidency. Shortly thereafter, he held superfluous elections that resulted in a “democratic” confirmation of his leadership. The country erupted in civil unrest under the pretense of false electoral results, and hundreds were killed in the resulting violence.Continue Reading >>
By Nicki Goh, KF9 Senegal
Now that I am well into my second month here in Senegal, I thought it was worth sharing a little background on the MFI where I am working.
Senegal Ecovillage Microfinance was set up in 2004 by an American volunteer, John Fay, who was carrying out an economic assessment of the village of Louly Ngogom in Senegal. Following interviews with the villagers, John decided to set up a small micro-loan pilot programme to meet the demand for financial services in otherwise un-served communities. In that first year of 2004, he lent...Continue Reading >>
Mary Riedel KF 9 Philippines
Last month I picked up my clothes from the Washeteria. I was psyched, walking home with that, “I have clean clothes to wear,” feeling (you know the one). I got home, opened the cube shaped bag, it smelled so nice, even my underwear were folded! “What can I wear tomorrow?”
I stumbled upon a long blue, polyester skirt. “Hmmm, this definitely doesn’t look like mine,” (although having worn uniforms for 12 years I did feel a slight connection.)
Quickly I worried, “If I have...Continue Reading >>