Ensuring a manly man’s day
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.
Growing up in Chicago, I only knew the Eagle Man because of his low rates.
Needless to say it was a fantastic day. It also brought to mind the complicated dynamics of gender and microfinance. Many MFI’s, including Mol Bulak whom I work with here in Kyrgyzstan, operate with targeted policies towards women clients. In my experience the vast majority of these women are taking loans to grow or supplement businesses that their entire families are involved with. Having had the opportunity to visit many homes and business of clients I am constantly amazed by the tireless efforts of women as they care for children, tend to agriculture, market goods, and take care of their homes. Yet visiting with Ruslan and discussing his eagle hunting tourism project reminded me that it is important to implement targeting policies withing microfinance in situation specific terms. Each person is not just a demographic but a story – and these stories show the enormous potential for growth in developing countries such as Kyrgyzstan.
Look out for an upcoming collaborative post for International Women’s Day to be published on March 8th!
Entry filed under: blogsherpa, KF13 (Kiva Fellows 13th Class), KF14 (Kiva Fellows 14th Class), Kyrgyz Republic, Mol Bulak Finance. Tags: blogsherpa, gender, KF13, KF14, Kiva Fellows, kiva.org, kyrgyzstan, microcredit, microfinance.