Posts filed under ‘Mexico’

Update from the Field: Client training in Mexico, saying “hello!” to Burkina Faso, + learn a little bit about Albania!

Compiled by Isabel Balderrama | KF17 + KF18 | Bolivia

The road to work

The road to fellow DIana Biggs’ job in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

This week our intrepid team of KF-18 fellows brings us an interesting mix of stories from a wide variety of countries. From taking a lesson on how to raise and care for sheep in Mexico, to learning more about little-known countries such as Burkina Faso and Albania, this week’s posts are sure to keep your interest. Read on for a fellow’s take on what it is that’s keeping Africa from achieving unity and to catch a glimpse of what a fellow’s first few days at work are like in a new and challenging environment.

Bonne Arrivée: Welcome to Ouagadougou
Diana Biggs | KF18 | Burkina Faso
Freshly arrived to our favorite city to pronounce, Diana tells us a little bit about the challenges, and the joys, of living and working in her hot and humid new environment.

A United Africa Part One: What is standing in the way?
Carissa Look | KF18 | Ghana
Here, Carissa brings us Part One of a two-part blog about the political and communication barriers that face the countries of Africa throughout their quest to become a more united continent. In this first installment Carissa explains how Africa’s sheer size is a great impediment to its countries working together.

 Mexican Tale of Women and Sheep
Emmanuel M. von Arx | KF 16+17 | Mexico
In his last post, Emmanuel covered FRAC’s involvement with “Mexico’s greatest artisan fair” and thus made us aware of some of the non-financial services that this partner MFI provides its clients. In this post, Emmanuel stays on this topic by telling us about another non-financial service provided by FRAC: Sheep-rearing courses provided by a UNAM-educated veterinarian. Read on to learn a little more about the benefits of this service, and also if you’ve always been curious as to why sheep have four stomach compartments.

A United Africa Part Two: Why is my internet so slow, why are my phone calls so expensive and what can be done about it to unite Africa, enhance Kiva, and speed development?
Carissa Look | KF18 | Ghana
After reading this first installment about some of the possible geopolitical causes for a lack of unity in the African continent, Carissa moves on to analyze the high cost of telecommunications as a culprit for some African nation’s lack of cooperation with its neighbors and the rest of the world. In this post, Carissa also explains how these challenges affect Kiva’s work in Ghana.

Spotlight on Europe’s most mysterious country
Alice Reeves | KF18 | Kosovo & Albania
As you might remember, on her last post Alice enlightened us on one of her two assigned destinations: Pristina, Kosovo. This time around we are taken on a brief historical and geographical tour of Albania, her second destination, and she also introduces us to VisionFund Albania (VFA), the partner MFI she will also be working with.

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Updates from the Past Month:

Update from the Field
Life as a Fellow in San Francisco, a walk through an art fair + becoming part of a winning soccer team
Appreciating Volunteers & Poetry from a Newly Arrived Fellow
Introducing joinFITE.org, a new platform designed to empower women in entrepreneurship

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Plus, more pictures from the past week:

Diana’s sweltering office in Ouagadougou

Diana Biggs’ adorable alarm clock

Veterinarian Linda Velázquez giving FRAC clients and fellow Emmanuel a presentation on how to properly care for sheep

9 July 2012 at 08:00 4 comments

Update from the Field: Kiva’s new coffee partner and female empowerment in the Middle East

Compiled by Isabel Balderrama | KF17 | Ecuador

Having been in the field for a little over three months now, KF-17 fellows’ posts begin taking a retrospective look at what has been accomplished over the past few months while working with their different MFIs worldwide. From having played a role in getting a new kind of Kiva partnership up and running to working with two MFIs dedicated to helping women get ahead in male dominated Palestine, it is clear that this is the time for a Kiva Fellow to reflect on his or her accomplishments, as well as those of the MFIs they have been involved with. Read this week’s posts to find out more about the exciting experiences that two of KF-17’s members have had during the lenght of their fellowship.

Continue Reading 14 May 2012 at 09:00 3 comments

Coffee Time: Welcoming La Unión Regional Huatusco to Kiva

La Unión Regional de Pequeños Productores de Café Huatusco (La Unión Regional) is Kiva’s first non-microfinance institution partner in Latin America.  It’s a member-owned coffee cooperative dedicated to helping their largely rural, low-income members bring their coffee to market at a fair price.

By partnering with organizations other than microfinance institutions, Kiva is able to provide much-needed support to individuals who would typically not have access to credit.  And, while there are other micro-lenders in the small city of Huatusco, their reach is limited, and the costs can be high for the borrowers.  La Unión Regional offers loans to provide support for their members in a way that encourages hard work and helps them achieve their goals.

Continue Reading 8 May 2012 at 09:00 1 comment

The Heart of Kiva – A Guest Blog from Mexico

Emmanuel M. von Arx | KF 16+17 | Mexico

Kiva is all about stories – what draws us all in and inspires us to lend are the stories of courageous micro-entrepreneurs that speak of hard-ship and success, challenges and dreams, love and dedication. But Kiva is not just about borrowers and their stories. It is also about the people behind the scene on the ground – the staff of the close to 150 field partners of Kiva – who screen loan applicants, grant, administrate, and look after Kiva loans, and make sure that Kiva borrowers are treated respectfully and fairly. Their stories are almost never told. Yet, the local staff of Kiva´s Field Partners are those people who make the magic happen – they are the ones who make Kiva possible. If Kiva Fellows are called the “eyes and ears in the field”, I propose local MFI staff be called “the brain and heart of Kiva.” MFI staff has insights on the conditions on the ground, the local mentalities, and the practical aspects of microfinance that can rival (and – I have no doubt – normally exceed) those of Kiva staff and Fellows. Yet, their perspective is seldom heard and their stories are rarely told.

Just how much local field partner staff have to tell and to share with the world I learned during the brief three week period during which I had the pleasure to be the Kiva Fellow for FRAC or Fundación Realidad (soon to be known as Vision Fund Mexico) in Mexico City. FRAC, has over 200 employees – they encompass 200 breathtaking stories and lives from all over Mexico, coming together in FRAC’s vision of wanting to provide financial and non-financial services to those families who do not have access to formal banking services in order to improve their quality of life.

During my work in FRAC’s Mexico City Headquarter, the MFI’s staff turned out to be an endless source of inspiration for me. There was not one person I talked to whose story and motives wouldn’t be worth sharing. Within a few brief hours I felt not just surrounded by close friends, but soul-mates – I discovered that everybody around me was at least as passionate and enthusiastic about FRAC’s and Kiva’s work and the impact of micro-finance as I am.

As soon as I told FRAC’s staff about the Kiva Fellows Blog, I was bombarded with requests of staff members to publish their thoughts and their experiences on it. Many have a particular pet project they feel most passionate about; others have made an experience on the job they are keen to share. Thus grew the idea of creating a little guest blog within the Kiva Fellow Blog. I offered to all staff to publish their thoughts and words on the Fellows’ blog as a way to make readers aware that Kiva doesn’t just connect lenders with borrowers, but that it connects lenders with local staff with borrowers with friends with staff with borrowers with lenders with… stop! Let’s just say: Kiva connects people through lending!

Rosa Gonzalez is the first staff member of FRAC who agreed to share her experience. She was hired by FRAC as their English-Spanish translator a few days after I joined the organization as a Kiva Fellow. Rosa translates both borrower profiles and journals for FRAC borrowers before they are being published or sent to lenders. But let me introduce Rosa in her own words – you will immediately see that they are pure poetry.

Continue Reading 24 April 2012 at 08:58 5 comments

Hello Spring: It’s Time to Celebrate

Compiled by Kiyomi Beach | KF17 | Mexico

Whether shaking off the chill of winter, welcoming the rainy season, or experiencing any other climate change, the spring can definitely be a time to celebrate. Some countries celebrate big which can mean local business owners have a surge in income from selling items related to the festivities. Sales for new clothes, fabrics for costumes, candies, and specialty foods increase, which give some Kiva borrowers an extra reason to celebrate.

While we may all be familiar with some holidays or festivals, each culture celebrates what may seam like a familiar holiday differently. Some countries have celebrations that are uniquely their own, with the common threads being are family and fun. Lets see how a few of the fellows celebrated.

Continue Reading 20 April 2012 at 09:00 4 comments

Getting to Know The Real Mexico

Kiyomi Beach | KF17 | Mexico

When I found out I was being placed in Mexico, I was not exactly thrilled.  I wanted to go someplace exotic, and far from home.  Living in California, I’ve had lots of exposure to Mexican culture, so I thought that I wasn’t going to feel that I really got away.

The truth is, however, that I had never been to Mexico, outside of visiting a few resorts with my family, and I (not surprisingly) discovered that the mission district in San Francisco, where I live, and beach resorts are not proper representations for the “real” Mexico.

I want to share my experience travelling around the country meeting with borrowers of Fundacion Realidad, A.C. (FRAC).

Continue Reading 6 March 2012 at 08:45 12 comments

Update from the Field: Personal Connections, Supply and Demand + A Culinary Excursion

Compiled by Kathrin Gerner, KF15, Togo

As the 14th class passes the baton to the 15th class, the Kiva fellows are sharing their final thoughts and first impressions. Be inspired by the personal connections Kiva creates between lenders and borrowers in Nepal and Sierra Leone. Find out how a phenomenal harvest can prevent farmers in Nicaragua from repaying their loans. Discover the creative ways of assessing credit worthiness used in Uganda and around the globe. Sample local customs and cuisine, while reading about the Day of the Child in Mexico and taking a culinary excursion in Liberia. Lastly, share the experiences of Kiva fellows across three continents in Colombia, Ghana and Ukraine.

Continue Reading 23 May 2011 at 01:10 3 comments

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