Mario Ariza spent his teenage years in Ghana and Egypt before returning to the United States to attend university in his home state of Virginia. After a decade, he was eventually compelled to return to the developing world and took a job at an investment bank in Ghana, where he implemented a pension fund for fishermen. Admittedly cynical of traditional aid models, he seeks market-based solutions to economic development, which is what attracted him to the Kiva Fellows Program.

Fellows Blog Posts by Mario Ariza

May 14, 2013 GO Global Update, RW Rwanda

Kerosene is the primary source of light for over a billion people on the planet. Its fumes can cause health problems for those that use it frequently (sometimes children, studying after dark), and the long-run costs can reach a quarter of a family’s income. To top things off, kerosene’s black carbon byproduct is a far greater threat to climate change than carbon dioxide (see article). Despite all these problems, its incrementally cheap price and ubiquity make it popular.   In light of this, numerous clean-energy organizations have stepped up to tackle this problem, trying to... Continue Reading >>

Mar 22, 2013 GO Global Update, RW Rwanda

The latest buzzwords in development nowadays seem to revolve around impact evaluation. Donors and lenders have become more concerned with how their money is being spent.  And rightfully so: waste and bureaucracy have forced the development community to take a look in the mirror and rethink how they spend their precious dollars.   Billions of dollars are poured into development each year, and much of it goes to the periphery.  My private school education in Ghana and Egypt, for example, was courtesy of American taxpayers funding agricultural development projects that my dad was... Continue Reading >>

Feb 12, 2013 RW Rwanda

Kigali is in the mountains.  Way up in the mountains. As high as Denver, Colorado even.  But without any of the flat plains - except for the slim valleys snaking between the hills where there aren’t any houses presumably because of the looming threat of flooding.   Car engines roar as they try to make it up some of the hills. Only the most skilled manual transmission drivers can make it 50 Kigali-miles without stalling out.  Even automatic transmission cars tend to stall on hills like these.  At first, I wondered to myself why this was chosen as... Continue Reading >>