Fellows Blog Posts by jgannz

Jan 27, 2011 ID Indonesia

If you asked me what I have learned about microfinance during my Kiva Fellowship, I wouldn’t know where to start. I have learned that running a social business comes with its share of challenges. I have learned that technology will pave new ways for the future of microfinance. I have learned that the best microfinance organizations have their clients at the heart of all their activities. I could go on and on about my impressions of microfinance from the last six months…but in my final blog post, I will spare you. Instead, below I share with you my 5 favorite images (from the 1,667 photos I...

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Jan 24, 2011 PH Philippines

Since arriving in the Philippines in early November, just in time for the holiday season, I have been to my fair share of parties. None of them, however, quite compare to the event I attended this past weekend in Cauayan, as the Project Dungganon 1 branch office here celebrated its 21st annual Foundation Day 2.

The festivities kicked off with a Catholic Mass at 8.30 AM, and continued until 3.30 pm in the afternoon. The event was like no other – a hybrid of a party/annual meeting/talent show for all client-members of the Cauayan branch. NWTF’s directors travelled to Cauayan to take...

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Jan 14, 2011 PH Philippines

Dream big. Do you want to pay for your daughter’s university education? Do you want to throw a celebration for your son’s wedding? Do you want to make significant improvements to your house? Even if you are poor, these dreams can be possible through financial planning.

Noel, of the Client Services department, welcomes Dungganon members to the workshop

This week, I had the opportunity to take part in a two-day workshop for Project Dungganon* members on wealth management and savings generation – where clients were encouraged to think of future goals and how...

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Dec 17, 2010 PH Philippines

Singing and videoke are a large part of the Filipino culture, as I have discovered over the past month and a half while working here. In my first week at the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), I was taken out by staff members to a nearby lounge – and being my first time there (as with all new patrons), was invited on to the stage to sing with the live band. Let’s just say my rendition of “California Gurls” does not quite compare to Katy Perry’s.

Since that first week, some of my most memorable experiences have involved videoke and singing, and I’d like to share a few of...

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Nov 26, 2010 PH Philippines

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, American shoppers queued up outside their favorite stores, waiting anxiously to get the holiday season’s best deals. As Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the USA, and is one of the most highly-trafficked days of the year for U.S. malls….I also found myself at the mall this Friday…though this mall was in the Philippines.

Clients' products on display at the store NWTF has set up...

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Nov 23, 2010 PH Philippines

At a busy center[1] meeting, a woman waits, among 50 other women, for her turn to meet with her loan officer and make a weekly loan repayment. In a different village in the Philippines, one woman collects repayments from her 50 other center members, then travels the distance to the nearest commercial center to make the weekly repayment for the entire group at a bank. Now, imagine a scenario where a borrower can simply go to a retailer in her village and make her loan repayment by text message. Sound interesting?

In a rural area served by NWTF – where mobile banking could...

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Nov 7, 2010 ID Indonesia

At the end of 2009, Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK) was a microfinance presence in West Bali, operating at its headquarters office in the village of Blimbingsari and a single branch in Melaya. As we approach the end of 2010, MUK’s footprint is steadily expanding. Earlier this year, the microfinance cooperative established a second branch office in Pejarakan, Singaraja in North Bali. And MUK is gearing up to open its third branch in the coming month, which will be based in the village of Baturiti in the Tabanan region of central Bali.

Baturiti is in the mountains of Bali, and with...

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Oct 12, 2010 ID Indonesia

Through backyard jungles they traipse armed with bb guns and with dogs trailing behind. They bang large wooden hammers against coconut trees, climb up and down the trees, and position themselves to point and shoot. 14 men on a mission: to protect their village gardens from squirrels. While in some parts of the world, hunting squirrels (the adorable, furry friends from childhood cartoons) does not sound so appealing, but here in west Bali, squirrels are pests, feeding on the coconuts and cacao fruit – from which people here make a living.


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Sep 5, 2010 ID Indonesia

On an island paradise where surfers from around the world come to catch the best waves, and honeymooners flock, I knew that volunteering in Bali as a Kiva Fellow I would see distinct contrasts in the lives of the people on this island.

Beach scene in Kuta

Gathering coconuts in rural West Bali

The most interesting contrasts to me, however, have not been those between tourists and locals, nor between hotel owners in Kuta and farm workers in rural Bali – although these differences are indeed sharp. Instead, working at Kiva’s...

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Aug 15, 2010 ID Indonesia

Growing up in New Zealand, where sheep abound and dairy is a vital part of the economy, I am ashamed to say that I know very little about farming. All that, however, has begun to change in the past couple of weeks, as I have started my Kiva Fellowship with Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK), based in Bali Indonesia. At MUK, most Kiva loans are taken out by groups of women who breed and raise pigs, and the organization has a seasoned vet on staff to provide advice for its clients.

Raising animals here is (in my limited knowledge) a very different and smaller scale enterprise than back home....

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