Posts filed under ‘KF13 (Kiva Fellows 13th Class)’

Along the road

by Jacqueline Gunn, KF13 Ghana, KF14 Ukraine

For the past 7 months I have been roaming the world as a Kiva fellow. I began in the lovely town of Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana where I spent my days in the office and my evenings and weekends on the beach. When I applied for a second fellowship, my only request was that it provided contrast to Ghana. Working in an industrial factory city in Eastern Ukraine has certainly delivered that. I arrived in Winter and it was -20 degrees Celsius outside and not much warmer inside.

Before I started on this adventure, I had expectations about what I would learn- microfinance in action, the inner workings of Kiva. I have had so many great opportunities to learn about microfinance, but for me this experience has been so much more as well. Here are just a few of the things I have learned as a fellow.

No food for lazy man- Abura, Ghana

Continue Reading 16 May 2011 at 14:02 4 comments

Why does most coffee in Colombia taste like dishwater?

I have been a big coffee drinker for some time now. As a do-it-all teenager with a large appetite for anything nocturnal, it was the powerful affects of the highly-caffeinated, instant variety that initially got me hooked. That all changed at university, however, when I first discovered the soothing delights of real, natural coffee.

Continue Reading 28 March 2011 at 11:14 4 comments

Update from the Field: Man’s Day, Singing Fellows + Learning How to Count

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

The Fellows will be covering International Women’s Day later this week but let’s take a moment to acknowledge its lesser-known cousin in Kyrgyzstan, “Man’s Day”. And while you’re appreciating culture and history in far-off places, take a trip to Peru and West Timor through photos, visit borrowers in Uganda and Rwanda through video, learn a little something about communicating in South Africa, and catch up on the latest from Liberia, Ghana, and Mexico (home to the “Singing Fellow”).

Continue Reading 7 March 2011 at 00:16 7 comments

Five things you may not know about Rwanda

By Michelle Curtis, KF13, Rwanda

Here are five things I would never have known if Kiva hadn’t provided me with the opportunity of living and working in Rwanda…..

Continue Reading 4 March 2011 at 08:00 7 comments

Ensuring a manly man’s day

Maybe it's better to leave it to the professionals (Credit for photo goes to Aaro Ylitalo)

February 23rd was man’s day here in Kyrgyzstan. Actually it was Defenders of the Fatherland Day throught the former Soviet Union, but here in Kyrgyzstan that has morphed into man’s day. Many of you might be familiar with International Women’s Day which is coming up on March 8th, but until I got here to Kyrgyzstan I had not heard of its male equivalent. I decided to celebrate the day with a trip to visit an entrepreneurial eagle hunter working to set up a community based tourism project in his rural home town. (more…)

3 March 2011 at 13:00 4 comments

Update from the Field: Videos, Epic Commutes + Going Beyond Microfinance

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Another week, another incredible range of dispatches from around the world. Several Fellows told their stories with video and pictures while others took time to reflect on the state of microfinance as a global industry and in their respective countries. And what would a week in the field be without getting to know a few borrowers? Plus, scroll to the end of the post for pictures you may have missed the first time around.

Continue Reading 28 February 2011 at 00:38 10 comments

Participating in the Dialogue: The Role of Microfinance Critics (Part 2)

Julie Shea, KF13, Bolivia

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post that drew on my experiences as a Kiva Fellow in Bolivia to discuss two points of criticism about microfinance, specifically from Aaron Ausland’s Huffington Post article, “How Microfinance Lost its Soul”. In this second installment, I will attempt to do the same, focusing on the portrayal of microfinance put forth by Tom Heinemann’s controversial documentary, The Micro Debt.

Continue Reading 24 February 2011 at 09:00 4 comments

A Kiva Fellow’s Photo Album: Six Months Along The Equator

By Tara Capsuto, KF12 Ecuador / KF13 Kenya

I recently concluded my Kiva Fellowship that has spanned 6.5 months, 5 of Kiva’s MFI field partners, 2 continents, countless long haul buses, and roughly 12,000 miles of travel. As a member of Kiva Fellow’s 12th class (KF12) I headed to Ecuador in July, 2010 to work with two of Kiva’s field partners, Fundación Espoir and Fundación D-MIRO. I never would have guessed that when December rolled around I’d be summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trying to pick up Swahili. That’s because KF13 landed me in Nairobi, Kenya to work with Faulu Kenya, Juhudi Kilimo, and Kenya Agency for Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET).

From witnessing political turmoil in Ecuador to surviving a matatu crash in rural Kenya, there were definitely some harrowing moments but it’s been a truly amazing journey, a journey, that like Kiva itself, has been all about people.  I’ve been out of the field for several weeks and I haven’t come up with a great way to summarize my experiences as a Kiva Fellow. Each time someone asks, “So, how was it?!” I kind of stammer, generally respond that it was fantastic (it really was), and share an anecdote or two. The truth is, it was a life-changing experience, or rather, a series of experiences, and it’s hard to know where to begin. In lieu of even attempting to be exhaustive, here are some of my favorite images from my Kiva Fellowship.

View from the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


22 February 2011 at 11:10 5 comments

Last Week in the Field: “Christmas”, Trekking, Adversity + Good Company

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Members of the 14th class of Kiva Fellows have officially hit their stride. While we never know where the next dispatch will come from or what interesting topics the Fellows will cover next, we always know we’ll be transported, entertained, and edified. This past week, topics included “Christmas”, trekking to a remote village (with video!), handling adversity (including a serious car accident and stolen electronics), and enjoying the company of loan officers, borrowers, and community members. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 21 February 2011 at 02:17 12 comments

Lessons from my own Country – Lecciones de mi Tierra

By Lourdes Toussaint, KF13, Mexico

As my time as a Kiva Fellow comes to an end, I would like to sum up my experiences in Monterrey, a new city for me in my native country of Mexico. Initially, I was hesitant and scared of going to Northern Mexico given the safety issues that have been felt for the last few years. Shootings, kidnappings, and other forms of violence have become an everyday concern. Still, I decided to give it a try, at the end it is my country, and I really wanted to learn all about microcredit and its impact on people and poverty.

Al acercarse el término de mi tiempo como Kiva Fellow, me gustaría concluir esta entrada con mis experiencias vividas durante este tiempo en Monterrey, una ciudad nueva para mí aquí en mi propio país. Al principio, cuando me enteré que iría al norte de México estaba dudosa y con algo de miedo debido a la situación de inseguridad que desde hace ya tiempo se vive en esta zona. Las balaceras, la violencia, las muertes, y los narcobloqueos son cosa de todos los días. Sin embargo, decidí intentarlo, finalmente, es mi país y tenía muchas ganas de aprender todo acerca de los microcréditos y su impacto en la reducción de la pobreza.

Continue Reading 18 February 2011 at 10:00 12 comments

Part 4: What is the industry doing to protect borrowers?

by Jacqueline Gunn

One of the biggest challenges in the microfinance industry is oversight and regulation on a macro scale. Whilst in countries like the US there are regulations to protect borrowers, this is often not the case in many of the countries where Kiva has field partners. Kiva can’t choose not to work in countries without credit agency regulations as these are often the places where the need for enabling access to credit for the poor is greatest.

So what is the industry doing to help to borrowers now and in the future?

Continue Reading 15 February 2011 at 12:00 2 comments

Part 3: Borrower protection practices at Kiva partners

About a month ago, it seemed like all I heard about was clients’ denied loans, or who got loans significantly smaller than what they needed. At the time, I was concerned about how many people weren’t getting the finances they asked for. Then I heard about the suicides in India and was glad to know that the Kiva partner where I’m stationed carefully considers how much to lend each client.

Continue Reading 13 February 2011 at 12:00 1 comment

Part 2: The Issues, Players and Outcome

In the past few months, the Indian microfinance industry has learned that not all publicity is good publicity. A few Kiva Fellows wanted to learn what the issues were, and what can be done to prevent them in the future. We will present our findings in a series of blog postings over the coming days. Given the inherent complexities, the multiple viewpoints and an ever changing political and legal landscape, our work is only intended to provide a top-level summary of the situation as it stands now. If you are interested in learning more about microfinance in India, we encourage you to explore these issues beyond what is presented, and to draw your own conclusion.

Continue Reading 11 February 2011 at 11:59 2 comments

Part 1: Current State of Microfinance in India

In the past few months, the Indian microfinance industry has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. A few Kiva Fellows wanted to learn what the issues were, and what can be done to prevent them in the future.  We will present our findings in a series of posts over the coming days. Given the inherent complexities, the multiple viewpoints and an ever changing political and legal landscape, our work is only intended to provide a top-level summary of the situation as it stands now.  If you are interested in learning more about microfinance in India, we encourage you to explore these issues beyond what is presented, and to draw your own conclusion.  (more…)

9 February 2011 at 12:00 2 comments

Reflections from Eight Months in the Field

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cusco, Peru

Last July, I sat in Kiva headquarters listening to speaker after speaker desperately trying to get a grasp on what life as a Kiva fellow would be like. Despite all my “international” experience, I don´t think anything could have prepared me for the adventure that was to come. Personally, I set out to discover how microfinance worked, IF it worked, and how it impacted the lives of the people it touched, but I really had no idea what lay ahead of me.

Continue Reading 8 February 2011 at 08:00 2 comments

Microfinance and Healthcare Revisited

By Julie Shea, KF13, Bolivia

A few months ago, I wrote a post discussing the advantages and drawbacks of financial institutions offering their clients healthcare services. Throughout the course of the past few months, my time spent working in ProMujer’s office has afforded me the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of clients’ healthcare needs and the services provided to them by ProMujer. A recent conversation with Ruth Apaza, the supervisor of all nurses in the El Alto region, shed light on ProMujer’s healthcare services: why it’s an important part of their model, how they work with the women, and the challenges they face.

Continue Reading 7 February 2011 at 09:00 1 comment

Video blog: The heart of Kiva

Mindblank! Recently I have been at a loss for words, and haven’t felt so compelled to share anything on the blog. Instead I decided to focus my efforts on producing a video of my time in the field as a Kiva fellow. One of the most amazing parts of being a Kiva fellow is the beautiful meetings you have with microfinance clients. In these sessions you have the opportunity to chat with borrowers about anything and everything. At the end of an interview we all commonly ask borrowers what are their hopes and dreams for the future.

Continue Reading 6 February 2011 at 22:07 6 comments

You never forget your first time

As a Kiva lender turned Kiva Fellow, I will never forget my Kiva “first times”, from my first loan, to receiving my first partial repayment, to receiving my first completed loan repayment notice. My latest first took place recently in Benin, West Africa, when I visited my first Kiva borrower.

Continue Reading 5 February 2011 at 06:00

Pictures and Perspectives from South Africa

EB Moore, KF13 South Africa

As my fellowship approaches its completion, I hope to share my experiences and knowledge with a new fellow. Along our journey I realize that what I know of South Africa after three months only scratches the surface.

Continue Reading 4 February 2011 at 07:00 1 comment

Happy Lunar New Year! How local traditions affect the business cycle

Happy Lunar New Year! Сар шинэдээ сайхан шинэлээрэй, as we say in Mongolian. Today, the countries and communities across the world who traditionally follow the lunar calendar are celebrating the first day of the New Year! Boy! – Microloan demands sure have been high lately. The need for loans center around traditional activities practiced for the Lunar New Year holiday.


3 February 2011 at 06:00 3 comments

The Two Faces of Mexican Food – Las Dos Caras de la Comida Mexicana

By Lourdes Toussaint, KF13, Mexico

How is that Mexico, a country with such a rich traditional cuisine, now considered a world heritage, is also one of the countries with more obesity among its population?

¿Cómo puede ser que México, un país que cuenta con tanta riqueza en su cocina y que además es considerada patrimonio de la humanidad es paradójicamente uno de los países con más obesidad en su población?

Continue Reading 2 February 2011 at 08:00 17 comments

Giant bunny rabbits, small loans

By Tara Capsuto, KF13, Kenya

This blog really is about giant bunnies. It’s also about asset financing and how loan groups are working together, with the help of Juhudi Kilimo (one of Kiva’s field partners) to raise rabbits and boost their incomes. Juhudi provides an innovative, agriculture-based, micro-asset financing loan product to assist smallholder farmers in acquiring productive assets such as dairy cows, chickens, irrigation equipment, and most recently, giant Flemish rabbits.


1 February 2011 at 00:52 7 comments

Expectations vs. Reality

By: Abhishek Banerjee, KF13, Armenia

As my fellowship at SEF International comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on my experience. I compare it to the expectations I had before arriving in Yerevan and to the experiences the other fellows have had in their respective countries. While I knew very little about Armenia before coming here, I had read everything (not much!) I could find. Some of my expectations were fully surpassed. Others helped me understand the problems the country faces going forward.

Continue Reading 29 January 2011 at 11:59 1 comment

3 Kiva smiles from Benin

One common theme when visiting Kiva borrowers in Benin is their positive attitude and broad smiles. Meeting these people makes my day, every day and I hope these pictures will make yours too.

Continue Reading 29 January 2011 at 08:00 1 comment

Lasting Impressions of Microfinance

By Joanne Gan, KF12 (Indonesia) and KF13 (Philippines)

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’ve taken here) of microfinance at work.

Continue Reading 27 January 2011 at 16:42 3 comments

Borrower Visits: Inspirational Stories and Important Lessons

By Julie Shea, KF13, Bolivia

Kiva strives to connect microfinance borrowers and lenders from all corners of the globe – and one medium through which it is able to accomplish this is the Kiva Fellows blog. I would therefore like to dedicate this post to telling the story of Javier Aguilar Soto, what I learned from meeting with him, and some broader lessons I gained, through the meeting, about the field of microfinance.

Continue Reading 25 January 2011 at 21:00

My Favorite Small Businesses in Bali

By Jerry Harter, KF13 Indonesia

During my three months in Bali, I gained an appreciation of people’s resourcefulness here. Typically, families have multiple streams of income. Various small enterprises are cobbled together, depending on the resources and demand in the area. Often some money can be made from the land, a little more is made from small-scale manufacturing, and perhaps some income is derived from providing services. For one reason or another, the following are some of my favorites.

Continue Reading 24 January 2011 at 23:05 2 comments

Party Time for Borrowers

By Joanne Gan, KF13, 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 branch office here celebrated its annual Foundation Day.

Continue Reading 24 January 2011 at 17:28 1 comment

Loans In The Time Of Cholera, In Haiti

Haiti is an intriguing country, probably very misunderstood, and full of loud, lovely, wonderful people with an admirable sense of joie de vivre.

Continue Reading 24 January 2011 at 08:20 7 comments

Lebanon on edge

Lebanon on edge By Caroline Pattinson
As I write the future of Lebanon and the region is uncertain and unstable. The political parties are currently meeting to try to decide the next prime minister and ultimately the fate of a country which has seen more than its fair share of conflict.

Continue Reading 24 January 2011 at 05:52 1 comment

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