Fellows Blog Posts by Yonnie

Oct 12, 2010 RW Rwanda

Last week in Rwanda, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced plans to cut its funding programs for university students in order to funnel that money into primary and secondary education.  Currently, Rwanda offers its citizens free1 education through the third year of secondary school for a total of nine years of free education.  The remaining three years of secondary school must be self-financed.  As a result of this free 9-Year Basic Education (9-YBE), Rwanda has one of the highest primary enrollment rates in the region (92% in 2004).  However, this is not a cheap commitment to keep,...

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Sep 15, 2010 RW Rwanda

Monday September 6th was a national holiday here in Rwanda as the nation celebrated the inauguration of President Paul Kagame for a second seven year term.  Outside of the filled to capacity National Stadium, I, along with thousands of Rwandans, watched as President Kagame signed the Oath of Office and accepted the Instruments of Office – a copy of the Constitution, a National Flag, and a Coat of Arms.  Later he was given a spear and a shield, traditional symbols that signify his duty to protect the nation.

Elections were held on August 9th and President Kagame garnered 93...

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Aug 11, 2010 LR Liberia

As my time in Liberia comes to a close, I am reflecting back on all that I’ve learned over the last three months.  I’d like to pass along some helpful information to any readers who may be planning to travel to Liberia in the future.

Liberian English Is Way More “Liberian” Than It Is “English”

I assumed that since Liberians speak “Liberian English” that I would be able to understand them and that Liberians would be able to understand me.  As it turns out, neither of these things are true.  Liberian English is an English-based creole...

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Aug 2, 2010 LR Liberia

Esther at a Kiva training

In 1996, Esther Borh was a LEAP borrower.  She used LEAP loans to finance her business selling goods in Redlight Market.  She served as the secretary of a group of four borrowers.  Recognizing her leadership skills, Esther’s loan officer suggested that she apply for an open loan officer position within LEAP.  Esther, who had until this point always been self-employed, says that initially, she was not interested in becoming someone’s employee.  She felt that she would make...

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Jun 30, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna M. Holmes

KF11, Liberia

I am not a soccer, or football as it’s called, fan.  As a basketball fan, I have difficulty getting excited about a sport whose cumulative scores rarely exceed five.  And as an American, I struggle to grasp my head around a sport in which a game can finish and there is no clear winner or loser.  If there is no winner, then the game isn’t over… right?  Someone.  Must.  Lose. (Or is this just me?)  Despite all of this, I still revel in the excitement, camaraderie, trash talking, celebrating, and mid-week bar visits...

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Jun 9, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna Holmes

KF11, Liberia

Two weeks ago I traveled to Gbarnga, Liberia, a town about 100 miles northeast of Monrovia.  Because the Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) is expecting an increase in the amount of loans that they are allowed to post on Kiva, more branches must be trained in how to do Kiva.  But before they can learn the how, I must explain the what.  This can be a somewhat difficult task when much of my audience is not familiar with the idea of e-commerce, let alone e-lending.  After showing the group of loan officers the Kiva website...

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May 17, 2010 LR Liberia

By Iyanna M. Holmes, KF11, Liberia

When I began working my first office job in 1999 as a college intern, I immediately took note of how central of a role technology plays in the business world.   I have often asked myself, “What did people do before the internet, fax machines, and God Help Us….EMAIL.”  I imagined my mom at her first office job having to walk documents from the first floor to co-workers on the fifth floor or waiting days for a document that someone in the Atlanta office had mailed to her in Boston.  Then I’d roll my eyes at how tedious a process that must...

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