Fellows Blog Posts by biodavid

Apr 26, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

Nearly half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day. That’s a lot of people, and finance isn’t the only sector that’s gone micro to reach this huge market. In many ways, the developing economy here in Sierra Leone is on a completely opposite scale to what I’m used to in my developed home country of the United States. In the U.S., giant stores like Costco and Sam’s Club urge us to buy in bulk so we can ‘save money.’ Most people here in Sierra Leone don’t have the savings or the cash flow to afford wholesale purchases or even regular monthly bills. But the people here still...

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Mar 14, 2011 KH Cambodia

By David McNeill (Sierra Leone) and Adam Cohn (Rwanda), with lots of help from the 14th class of Kiva Fellows

It turns out that one thing Kiva Fellows seem to have in common is a love for data. With that, Kiva Fellows David and Adam polled the current fellows in the field on the costs of various necessities and niceties in their current placements. The numbers, which we humbly title the Kiva Fellows Index, give some good insight into the conditions in the far-flung places we now live and work.

Far from home...

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Feb 20, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

The other day I took a shared taxi home from work in Freetown, which costs about US$0.20. The driver asked me what I was doing here in Sierra Leone. When I replied “Microcredit,” he said, “Ah, that is for women.”

He’s right – the microfinance industry has focused most of its resources on poor women because they are especially affected by poverty, and empowering women can bring about positive changes in their families and communities. At one of the organizations I’m working with over 99% of their loans are to women.

I told the taxi driver that in spite of this focus on...

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