Never has the saying, ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation,’ resonated more with me. Before starting my fellowship with Kiva, I always wondered why most lenders loan money to women rather than men. However, the experience of visiting borrowers all over Uganda during this fellowship has given me a totally different perspective, as I’ve now been able to see and experience first-hand how key women are to development....Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with loans
Tsalani Bwino means “stay well”, or goodbye, in Nyanja, one of Zambia’s local languages. When I first arrived in Lusaka, I didn’t know how I would spend 2 months here. “There’s nothing to do in Zambia,” a friend helpfully told me when I asked them for some travel advice. It’s true that Lusaka doesn’t have many tourist attractions, and it’s usually used as a stopover point by backpackers on their way to Livingstone or one of the national parks. However, upon arrival my calendar quickly filled with things to do and my time in-country has flown by. It’s now my last week in...Continue Reading >>
It is busy, dark and noisy. There is the intermittent running of a diesel engine as 2 mechanics attempt its repair, and what seems to be an endless stream of men unloading bags of cement into an adjacent shed. About 80 people mill around, chatting and making last-minute phone calls to see where missing group members are.
I am in a shed out the back of a small bank branch near the bustling Kimironko market in Kigali, Rwanda. The group I am here to visit, Tuzamurane Group B, are here for a disbursement meeting, where members will sign a group contract and receive loans...
The moment we step under the palm thatched roof, it starts to drizzle. “You brought the rain!” jokes Mariluz, the borrower I have come to visit. Her home, in the northeastern corner of Bolivia, is a simple, 2-room set up, with the thatched roof covering the area that fronts it. This is where she works and where 2 of her youngest play in a hammock, a parrot sometimes joining them. Around us is lush greenery, thanks to a long rainy season and,...Continue Reading >>
On June 20, 2016, Kiva launched the World Refugee Fund, which matches donations to refugees on World Refugee Day dollar-for-dollar. Traditional forms of finance are often out of reach for refugees, and as such supporting loans for this population is vital. Even so, a host of logistical, regulatory and psychological factors stand in the way of banks and small-scale institutions attempting to accommodate refugees with appropriate financial products.
In Jordan, Microfund for Women...
As I get ready to start a new chapter in Nairobi, Kenya with the Kiva Labs team, I can’t help but reminisce on the last 6 months abroad as a Kiva Fellow in the Philippines and Timor-Leste. Although it was not always easy to be on my own, I’ve grown so much as a person because of all the “Yeses” I reluctantly agreed to. 'Treat every day as an adventure,' was the phrase I reminded myself every time I felt lonely, or was stuck in unexpected and uncomfortable situations. One blog is definitely not enough to share all the great adventures I experienced, but hopefully the 3 lessons below can...Continue Reading >>
Albania has a gigantic, generous heart, and I found it last weekend in the country’s beautiful north. I was invited by Ester, a co-worker from Agro & Social Fund (the Field Partner I currently work with), to spend the weekend with her at home. “Home,” it turned out, was a small village called Klos outside of Burrel that could be reached from Tirana only after winding through mountainous terrain on some of the bumpiest roads I’ve ever encountered. There were no lights for long stretches, which made for incredible stargazing, but dangerous driving conditions. Luckily, Ester’s fiancé,...Continue Reading >>
When I first landed in Freetown International Airport, I had the honor of being welcomed by Mr. Donald Ola Smart, who's position at Mountain Lion Agriculture (MLA) I was not sure of at that time. However, while we were driving back to Makeni, the capital of the northern province and where MLA's headquarters are, he talked at length about Sierra Leone’s past history and his commitment to the reintegration into society of the civil war’s ex-combatants (a deadly conflict that Sierra Leone suffered from 1991 to 2001). I also soon grasped that he is actually the CEO of MLA...Continue Reading >>
Normally, when I go on borrower verification visits I am accompanied by someone from the Field Partner office, both to serve as a translator and (I suspect) to ensure I don’t get lost forever somewhere out there. This story began with an unchaperoned borrower verification trip and ended up with a deep dive into the exciting social enterprise scene in Armenia.
The last client I had to visit from my borrower verification list for Nor Horizon, one of the Armenian Field Partners I am working with, was also the client located farthest away in Kapan, a city approximately 7 hours...