Fellows Blog Posts by zerrincetin

Dec 2, 2010 GH Ghana

When I embarked on my fellowship four months ago, I was excited but nervous. As with any new experience, the unknowns can be interesting, exhilarating, challenging and overwhelming all at the same time. With these feelings, I boarded my flight to Ghana. I had two simple objectives for my fellowship – help my MFI as much as I can and learn as much as I can. As my journal entry from my flight states, I wanted to learn about microfinance, Ghanaian culture, common characteristics that make us human, and myself. Though I’ve probably only scratched the surface on these lofty goals, I am...

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Oct 25, 2010 GH Ghana

Obruni (Often yelled, “Ooobrruuuniii”). A word that meant nothing to me just three short months ago. Now, it is a word that induces feelings of happiness, anger, and indifference all at the same time. In Ghana, a foreigner is called obruni. Really, it is more of a greeting than anything. Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to being called obruni.

While my fellowship is providing me with a fantastic opportunity to learn about microfinance, this obruni example illustrates a part of my fellowship that I equally cherish – Living in a country very different than my own. This is...

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Oct 1, 2010 GH Ghana

Vegetable sellers in Abura

In my time as a fellow, I expected to interview borrowers and hear lots of touching personal stories. I never expected to finally understand economics in a way textbooks never described it for me. Economics was not a course I chose to take. It was a mandatory credit I had to take. While I managed to memorize how supply and demand curves moved, for the life of me, I could not see the practical applications of economic theory. This was the case until a...

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Sep 10, 2010 GH Ghana

Like any business partnership, a partnership with Kiva brings both financial and non-financial benefits and costs to a Microfinance Institution (MFI). I believe that partnerships, whether personal or business, need partners’ values to align in order to succeed. So I will analyze this topic within the context of Kiva’s values – dignity, accountability, and transparency. The question I’d like to discuss is “What are the non-financial costs and benefits to an MFI in aligning with Kiva’s values of dignity, accountability, and transparency?” Since this blog represents my observations of one MFI...

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Aug 20, 2010 GH Ghana

A repayment meeting with the loan officer

Having finished my second week on the field, I’m starting to gain a greater appreciation for the connections that Kiva facilitates and the work that MFIs do. I’m learning what it takes to introduce a borrower in a remote village in Ghana to you, surfing the net in the comfort of your living room. And not surprisingly, the flow of information is not as easy as Google makes it out to be.

It all starts with that entrepreneurial...

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Aug 10, 2010 GH Ghana

Nkontrodo women that is…Nkontrodo is a small village by the Ghanaian coastal town, Elmina. The women in this village are on their third loan cycle with CRAN. They are proud business owners who are serious about their loans and rightfully vocal about their needs. What these women want is to build credit. A case where the ability to establish credit and have access to larger loans is a large motivating factor.

We had a lovely visit with the women in this village – my first field visit. At the end of our journaling interviews, they started telling us about a recent change that...

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