Posts tagged ‘Lending’
Meredith Pierce | KF18 | New Orleans
As I spend more time here in New Orleans — and as I get ready to depart — I have started to appreciate the daily sounds I take for granted. Just as important as the visual scenery, sounds can transport us to faraway locations.
In the past months, Kiva Fellows have shared video stories, insights on public transportation and accounts of our excursions into the field, but we’d like to invite you to experience our everyday lives through sound. Below are some clips that a few of us recorded in our various countries. Can you tell what they’re of or where they were recorded? Give us your best guess in the comments!
Diana Biggs | KF 18 | Burkina Faso
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to take part in «la Journée du Volontariat Français», an event at the French Institute of Ouagadougou which aims to promote the actions of French volunteers in Burkina Faso. As I commended my French colleague for the generosity of his fellow French citizens, he explained to me that although the best translation I seem to be able to find for «Volontariat » is «Volunteer », it is not the same as volunteers who actually work for free, for whom the term « bénévoles » is used (Hello, Kiva Fellows!).
Enter “la Journée du Volontariat Français”…
In its second iteration, the event attracted around 500 attendees: Authorities, volontariats, associations and NGOs. Despite its name, it wasn’t a day just for the French, but was also well attended by “Burkinabés” (the term for people from Burkina Faso) – and even one Canadian… (more…)
By Diana Biggs | KF18 | Burkina Faso
One week ago today, I touched down in my new home of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The greetings of “Bonne Arrivée!” I received at the airport are now echoed each morning as I arrive at my field partner’s office and each evening as I return home and am greeted by my night guardian, Adama.
By Clara Vreeken, KF 14, Bolivia
Blog 1: My name is Clara and I have started my Kiva Fellowship last week at the field partner IMPRO in Bolivia. IMPRO is a small non-profit organization that has been offering micro credit to the working poor in the cities of La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia since 1995. In this first blog I describe how Kiva works by using the example of IMPRO in Bolivia.
Coming back to Montaigne’s essay “On the Vanity of words”, we realize simply talking about something does not provide the satisfaction and impact as doing it.
In Fon, Alidé means “a path always exists (for the very poor).” This is a touching sentiment matched by the equally strong social mission of the Kiva field partner that bears its name. During my time as the Kiva Fellow placed with Alidé, I’ve been impressed with the institution’s passion and perseverance. When I meet borrowers, I consistently see illiterate women who are able to send their children to school and praise Alidé for their success. It’s easy to start thinking, “wow, there’s really something to this!”
But then there are also the times when I step back (more…)
I like my bank in the US. The staff is nice, they have a lot of ATMs in New York City, they once gave me a fruit basket (long story)… But I would never think about getting together with other Wachovia customers to toast how much we like banking there. Yet that’s exactly what a number of Alidé (Kiva’s partner in Benin) clients do regularly. (more…)
Kiva goes where Google stops.
Just over a week ago, several Kiva staff members and Kiva Fellows (myself included) joined the president of Kenya, the prime minister of Zambia, the queen of Spain, the princess of the Netherlands, the former president of Peru, “inventor of micro-credit” Muhammad Yunus, and over a thousand others at the Africa-Middle East Microfinance Conference in Nairobi.
Not surprisingly, Muhammad Yunus was consistently the most interesting speaker throughout the four-day event (more…)
There are two responses Alidé’s clients in Benin have when asked to have their picture taken for Kiva: fear and delight. Generally, both paths end with laughter and a lot of pictures of me, the Kiva Fellow assigned to Alidé.
Fear: They say that while Benin has about 50% Christians and 40% Muslins, 95% of the population simultaneously practices Voodoo. This means you can buy fétiches (magical objects like monkey skulls) at the market, and that you’ll encounter a number of clients who fear that having their picture taken might steal their soul. (more…)
In addition to loans (and savings accounts, social work, and coming soon – insurance) Alidé, Kiva’s field partner in Benin, offers formations, or training sessions, to its clients. Some are optional but there are three that are actually mandatory for a loan.
The one income family doesn’t exist in Benin. Just like their moms and their mom’s moms, Beninese women enter the work force as soon as they’re able and keep going no matter what. They’ll work through the rain, they’ll work through malaria, they’ll work while pregnant with all of their wares stacked on top of their heads and their children literally strapped to their backs.
For those of you who want to try this at home, here’s one Kiva entrepreneur teaching me the art of baby-strapping (and her amused friends in the background).
Alidé’s Kiva coordinator spends a lot of time on the Kiva site, mainly from the back end, uploading profiles and journals. But she’s never experienced what it’s like to be a Kiva lender, an experience I wanted to give her thanks to the $25 Kiva gift certificate I’d received at training. Getting her to use it has been a challenge.
I gave her a print out of the certificate on my second day, but she kept putting off when we’d use it. Last week when there was a lull in work, but solid-seeming electricity, I decided it was time. She didn’t seem happy about my decision and begged for another colleague to join us. But I don’t understand. What do you want us to do? they asked with alarm. (more…)
Last week, I spent two mornings making the rounds of six WAGES branch offices that participate in Kiva. Accompanied by the Kiva Coordinator, I met with loan officers and branch directors to refresh their memories on the importance of transparency, clarity of photos, and detailed profile information. Most of all, I wanted to give Kiva a human face. While Kiva lenders are well aware of the person-to-person (P2P) connections Kiva aims to establish, the direction of this gaze is often one-sided. Kiva lenders are informed of the employment, location, and even marital status of the entrepreneurs they help. Yet, from the ground looking up, it is easy to see Kiva as a faceless, impersonal backer behind their partner MFIs. Kiva is often simply thought of as an organization that lends money to MFIs, which allows the MFIs to lend to their clients. While this idea is not inaccurate, it is certainly incomplete. I was disturbed by the thought that P2P connections were created between lenders and borrowers, but not between borrowers and lenders.
By Prem Thomas, KF9, Philippines
Yesterday I took a trip to a CCT Kiva branch located in Caloocan, about 2 hours north of the head office in Manila. CCT offices often have inspirational posters and signs, but I thought this one was very relevant to Kiva.
Kiva lenders have good character: “They lend money to those in need without interest.”
By Joel Carlman, KF8 – Kisumu Medical & Education Trust – Kisumu, Kenya
Over the years, there have been many entries on this site (and on many others) about the popular topic of group lending. The fact that borrowers gather once a week, or once a month to deal with any issues they might have or to keep each other accountable is incredible. That group lending has tended to lead to higher repayment rates is a fun little factoid that practitioners of microfinance love to point out. But, that only represents the utility of group lending. Yes, it works, but it’s also beautiful in practice.
Recently, I had the chance to travel a few hours south of Kisumu to two borrower groups. One is located in the rural community of Bware, and the other in the more urban-feeling town of Rongo. Both groups taught me a lot about what group lending is all about, and why, besides serving a utilitarian function, it can also be beautiful.