Fellows Blog Posts by Sanjaya P

Feb 9, 2010 KH Cambodia

Inspired by Nicholas Kristof’s latest blog post: The Role of Microfinance

Microfinance is “the most visible innovation in anti-poverty policy in the last half century.” Because of this, many have put such high expectations on the effects of microfinance and the pace at which it can have an impact on ending poverty. Some have even called it the panacea for poverty.

The truth is, microfinance alone cannot end poverty and anyone who is involved in microfinance will tell you the same. But before you start freaking out and withdrawing all of your Kiva credit, let’s look at what...

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Dec 17, 2008 KH Cambodia

In Cambodia there is a popular song called Tov Dondung Kon Key by Khemarak Sereymon. The song is VERY catchy and we hear it EVERYWHERE. The best part of the song is the story. It’s about a guy who has this crush on a girl who he meets at the market. When he goes with his mother to meet the girl’s parents so that he can ask them to marry her, the girl’s family asks for $5000 as a dowry. Unfortunately, even if he sold his rice field and cows he would not have enough money, so he sings about his agony.


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Dec 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

As many of you Kiva lenders have noticed, Kiva recently upgraded the administration system that Field Partners use to post businesses and report repayments. The partner administration system, aka PA2, is where Field Partners post businesses onto Kiva and report on the status of each loan. This was a major redesign of the site and it has brought a bunch of great new features that benefit both lenders and Field Partners. For those of you who haven’t been reading all of my posts (shame on you!) I am a fellow at AMK and HKL, and I’ve also been working closely with the other two...

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Nov 24, 2008 KH Cambodia

In my last post, I talked about visiting a client with Phanith, the AMK Kiva coordinator. The client officer (a.k.a. loan officer) was not available to take us, so we relied on a hand written map that got us lost many, many times. We had to ask almost every villager we saw, before we finally got to the client.

Getting lost in a village got my mind thinking about how nice it would be if we had an actual map with the locations of clients and how to get to them. So I spoke to Paul, the CEO of AMK, about how we could give GPS devices to our client officers. This would let us track them...

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Oct 13, 2008 KH Cambodia

Well now is your chance!!!

I will be visiting the Siphat Yang Village Bank and the Chon Erm Village Bank Group this Thursday. If you want me to ask the members of the village bank a question, send me an email with your question: sanjaya.punyasena AT fellows.kiva.org

This is the first time I’m trying this, so I might run into some problems. I want to apologize in advance if I am unable to ask your question. If you could send me your questions before October 15th, that would be great!

Also, if you haven’t voted for Kiva on the American Express Members Project...

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Oct 6, 2008 KH Cambodia


I hope you guys enjoyed the interview. To see a list of all the AMK loans that are currently fundraising on Kiva, click here.

If there aren’t any AMK loans on Kiva, you should check out the AMK Fan Club instead!

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Aug 26, 2008 KH Cambodia

In Cambodia, AMK has the lowest average loan balance per borrower. According to MIXMarket, AMK’s average balance at the end of 2007 was $86 per borrower. To put that in perspective the second lowest was AMRET at $164, which is nearly 90% higher. HKL, Credit MFI, and Maxima (the other three Cambodian MFIs working with Kiva) have an average loan balance of $603, $564, and $514 respectively. Currently, 93.4% of AMK’s loans are below $300 and their average loan balance is now $114. AMK chooses to keep their average loan balance low. They limit individual loans to $500 and they...

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Aug 12, 2008 KH Cambodia

For the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of data entry. Panith, the AMK Kiva coordinator, and I have been going through all the Kiva business descriptions so that we could enter their account numbers into an excel worksheet. This will allow us to easily track payments of all the Kiva loans. (AMK just got out of pilot stage with Kiva, so they’re still incorporating it into their business.) If I had been doing this for another job I probably would have been bored out of my mind, but going through all the data for three of AMK’s provinces turned out to be quite interesting....

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Jul 28, 2008 KH Cambodia

Part of the reason I signed up for the Kiva Fellowship was to see how microfinance actually works on the ground. You can read all the books on microfinance, but that couldn’t make up for never seeing it in action with your own eyes. After getting an understanding of AMK’s operations from their nice air-conditioned central office (where I just finished making them an Excel macro to keep better track of their Kiva loans), I knew I had to see the loan officer in action to really understand the pros and cons of microfinance.

Saphanith, Elena and I stopped by Au Village...

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Jul 21, 2008 KH Cambodia

On Friday, Sophanith, Elena and I went to visit the Thea Chhin group, to do a journal on the group leader, Thea Chhin. The journey to Sala Khom Village was quite long. We left AMK‘s central office in Phnom Penh early in the morning and the drive to the branch office in Kampong Chhnang took about an hour. There we were greeted by the branch manager and we switched from our car to a pickup truck that was able to handle the village roads. As soon as our truck started driving on dirt roads, I was reminded of a road trip I took during college with my friends to...

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