Fellows Blog Posts by Drew Loizeaux

Jul 30, 2010 UG Uganda

By Drew Loizeaux, KF11, Uganda

When talking to people about microfinance, many times the poverty level of the clients is brought up as a big way to measure an organization’s success.  I felt this way for a long time and it makes sense. We have all heard stories of a poor farmer expanding his business or a “phone women” in a Bangladeshi village.  As I have spent more time at microfinance institutions however, I’ve realized that view is incomplete. Yes, empowering the poor is a very important part of microfinance, but they are only a subsection of the really important group...

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Jul 8, 2010 UG Uganda

By Drew Loizeaux, KF11 Uganda

Conversations about microfinance are a near daily occurrence in the life of a Kiva Fellow. Sometimes they are with happy recipients of loans and other times they are with skeptics who question its value or impact. No matter what the topic or tone, I always learn something new and usually leave with an even stronger commitment to microfinance than before. In hopes to relay this experience, I want to share with you a recent sampling of some of the conversations I have found myself in.

Last week, I was in the field doing a borrower...

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Jun 23, 2010 UG Uganda

By Drew Loizeaux, KF11, Uganda

As many of you know group loans are widely used throughout the microfinance industry. Most of you also know that the idea behind group loans is to provide a way to secure loans without having to rely on collateral like banks do. But do you know about the different type of group loans? Do you know where and why they are used?  If not, up your microfinance IQ and read on.

****NOTE: At each microfinance institution (MFI) there will be differences in names and details of loans, so as I describe HOFOKAM’s products understand that...

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Jun 7, 2010 UG Uganda

By Drew Loizeaux, KF11, Uganda

I’m pleased to introduce HOFOKAM to the Kiva community. HOFOKAM is based out of Fort Portal, Uganda and maintains four branch offices that serve over 15,000 clients. HOFOKAM focuses most of its efforts on serving rural clients in the western part of the country.

Hofokam's Headquarters

Originally three different organizations, HOFOKAM was formed in 2003 by the merging of separate projects of the Catholic Dioceses from...

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Jul 2, 2009 PH Philippines

By Drew Loizeaux, KF8 Philippines

The last 4 months working as a Kiva Fellow have allowed me an up close look at many different sides of microfinance. It has been fascinating for me to see and made me look at the loans I make through Kiva in a different way.

As Kiva Lenders, our money not only goes to the borrowers themselves, but through our interest free loans we are also directly supporting each Kiva Partner that we lend through. Each Kiva Partner is different, and no matter what your reason is for believing in the power of microfinance, there is an organization...

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Jun 12, 2009 PH Philippines

Four weeks ago I left my first placement in Cambodia and came to the Philippines where I started my second assignment with Kiva Field Partner ASKI. With each day at ASKI I have been more and more impressed by the dedication of the staff and the amazing programs that they are running.

Last week I started working on a blog post where I plan to conduct video interviews with staff that work on what ASKI calls, their “Beyond Microfinance” programs. These programs include; health insurance, life insurance, community development, housing loans for government built low income housing units...

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May 22, 2009 KH Cambodia

Over the last three months, four Kiva Fellows (Katie, Julie, Jeff and Drew) have been working and living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We are so lucky to have spent this time together in such a wonderful place. Alas, our time has come to an end but we have put together a video to share both our time at our individual MFI’s and our time together outside of work.

It is unusual for multiple Kiva Fellows to be located in the...

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Apr 28, 2009 KH Cambodia

I think that most Kiva Fellows will agree that anytime we meet with Kiva Entrepreneurs we are confronted with a gauntlet of emotions from happy to sad, from inspired to depressed, from energized to drained. While for the most part, for me anyway, the experience tilts towards the positive side of things you never know who or what you are going to run into when you hop on the back of your credit officer’s moto.

I spent the beginning part of this week meeting with twenty-five Kiva Entrepreneurs and felt practically every emotion I can think of. While my first idea for this post...

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Mar 24, 2009 KH Cambodia

HKL, the MFI that I am at for my first Kiva Fellowship, has Kiva loans all over Cambodia, which means if I want to visit with a decent number of Kiva borrowers I have to do a fair amount to traveling. Last week I did my first of several week long excursions to a branch office, this time in Siem Reap. Some of you may have heard of this town before as it is the home to Angkor Wat:

Angkor Wat!!!

Needless to say I did not complain when it was decided that this would be going...

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Mar 4, 2009 KH Cambodia

On Monday I was able to meet with a few Kiva borrowers for the first time. I thought I had a good appreciation of both the huge physical barriers that Kiva is able to overcome and the strength that so many of the borrowers possess. I was wrong on both counts. Just going out and visiting 5 clients took all day and the individuals I was able to visit with were more inspiring than I ever could have imagined. I put together a short video in hopes to share some of that experience.

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