Cocoa is known as the main cash crop in Ghana - but cashews will soon surpass cocoa exports, Samuel Gyasi told me during my 6-month Kiva fellowship in Ghana. Samuel works for Advans Ghana, Kiva's Field Partner in the region. The organization provides microfinancing to micro, small and medium-sized businesses with an emphasis on agriculture. I spent the first 2 months of my fellowship working with Samuel and Advans Ghana. On this particular day, we left the chaos of Accra for the rural beauty and peace of the Volta Region to introduce local farmers in Heikope Village to...Continue Reading >>
Betsy worked for 21 years in sales with Pfizer Inc. In 2014 she was chosen as their Global Health Fellow to PSI in Cambodia for 4 months. After working to enhance PSI/PSK's efficiencies and capabilities, she decided to work full-time helping others, leaving Pfizer to lead a US nonprofit which supported an NGO in Ghana. She saw the importance and benefit firsthand of empowerment versus charity, as they worked in rural villages on WASH and education infrastructure projects. Betsy is excited to continue learning how to empower others through the Kiva Fellowship. She is looking to increase her knowledge and abilities in order to create a microloan organization focusing on community and group loans that will be used to improve education, health and WASH infrastructure.
Fellows Blog Posts by Betsy Benoit
Munavvara Chillaeva insists her talent as a seamstress and embroiderer was a gift from God. No one taught her, but she became the first Master Seamstress of Tajikistan - a role designated by the president himself.
Munavvara lives in a town just outside of the capital of Dushanbe in a lovely, typical family compound with her 7 children and many grandchildren. There is a rose garden in the center courtyard and an outdoor dining area for...Continue Reading >>
Like so many others in Ghana, Abigail got a loan for her provisions shop. Like so many others, she wanted to buy products that increased her profit so she could make more money. She was trying to save enough money to enroll in university. Okay, so the last part is a bit different. But that’s just one of the many qualities that make Abigail unique.
Abigail's story involves broken homes, dreams of helping kids, perseverance, faith and unparalleled determination.
Continue Reading >>
“Georgia the state or Georgia the country?” I usually have to explain to friends and family that my Kiva Fellowship took me to the tiny eastern European country of Georgia, not the state of Georgia in the American South. Despite its low profile, Georgia is an ancient country with a long fruitful history, glorious natural beauty and incredible architecture. It’s been around long before the Georgia Peach. After testing unearthed clay wine jars called qvevri, scholars confirmed that wine was being made in Georgia in 6,000 B.C., over 8,000 years ago! Kiva came on the scene in...Continue Reading >>
Everyone who becomes a Kiva borrower through iDE Ghana’s Sama Sama Toilet program wants to buy a toilet structure - the very first toilet to ever grace their home. Amazingly, 100% of these borrowers have gotten funded by Kiva lenders, a fantastic statistic!
But have you ever given any thought to how the structure gets there? It isn’t magic, someone has to build it. The behind-the-scenes success of Sama Sama Toilet is its Toilet Business Owner program, or TBO. As the new-on-the-ground Kiva Fellow, I got to visit three TBOs today. TBOs are recruited early on in...Continue Reading >>
I left the Advans Ghana's (Kiva's Field Partner) office, with Kofi, the Advans Loan Officer, to meet the nearest potential Kiva borrower, Elizabeth. For the first leg of our journey, we had to take three different tro-tros, minibus share taxis, and we eventually ended up at a busy intersection with market stalls all around. Now the exciting and unexpected part of the trip began – getting on a motorcycle for the last 6 kilometers to Elizabeth's village.