Fellows Blog Posts by danstrack

Apr 11, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve been back in Chicago for about 2 weeks now and have had time to sit and digest my Kiva Fellow experience. Going into this I tried to keep a completely unbiased and open-mind about microfinance. I’m a huge supporter of microfinance, but I have heard critics argue that it does little to actually lift people out of poverty. So I tried to take my opportunity to see first hand how it affects borrowers.

During my 2-month stay in Cape Coast, Ghana I had the privilege to meet over a hundred borrowers successfully running their own businesses. I heard stories of individuals...

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Mar 11, 2008 GH Ghana

Along with its microfinance unit, CRAN also sponsors social development projects.  CRAN has built 5 schools in Ghana and has provided a community with clean running water.  I recently got an opportunity to visit a CRAN sponsored school in the Abaenu community. To get to the village a 4×4 vehicle is a must. Once you turn off the nicely paved road headed to Accra, you embark on what is only comparable to a roller-coaster ride.  For about 3 miles the truck bounced up-and-down, sided-to-side and every other way imaginable.  After we arrived at the existing school it was apparent...

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Feb 27, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve been in Ghana now for one month and I realized I’ve been slacking in keeping up my journal, so I’m posting several random experiences I’ve had so far.

On most days I go out with a loan officer to take pictures of clients who are requesting loans for their businesses or have already taken a loan and we go to follow-up on their progress.  The first problem you encounter when trying to find someone is there are no street names or addresses whatsoever.  We had to find 11 borrowers who were all located within one small segment of Cape Coast, but...

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Feb 22, 2008 GH Ghana

Things at CRAN have been pretty hectic the past couple weeks.  At the end of February, CRAN is having an international rating done.  This basically announces to the entire microfinance world how well CRAN is run as a MFI.  A good rating could mean new sources of capital as well as world-wide acknowledgement of CRAN as well as one of the top MFIs in Ghana.  However, a bad rating would be a set back for the organization and would dampen spirits within the organization.  All CRAN employees have been working extra hard the past several weeks to ensure they...

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Jan 30, 2008 GH Ghana

My name is Dan Strack and for the next 2 months I will be living in Cape Coast, Ghana and working with the Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN).  

CRAN has 7 branches located throughout the central region of Ghana with its main office in Cape Coast.  Cape Coast is a very poor area with some of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered.  The first thing you notice in Ghana and especially Cape Coast, is how extremely religious everyone is.  Many road-side businesses have names such as “God is Great: Hair Salon” or “Jesus is the Savior: Food Stand”.  Cars, buses, telephone poles, you name...

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