Update From The Field: Inspiring Field Partners, Cultural Adjustments + Girl Scout Cookies (No Wait, That’s Not Right)

5 March 2012 at 09:00 4 comments

Chris Paci | KF16 & KF17 | Azerbaijan

A Béninois borrower - Allison Moomey, Benin

The fellows of KF17 have jumped into their Kiva work with both feet, visiting borrowers and meeting their new coworkers at their host field partners. (Photo of a Béninois borrower by Allison Moomey, Benin)

It’s the beginning of March, and by now, most of KF17 has been out in the field for several weeks. We’ve settled in at our field partners, gotten to know some of our new coworkers, and started to dig a little deeper into the societies of the countries we now call home. Many of us have already traveled out into the field to visit the borrowers at the heart of the Kiva model.

Check out this week’s posts and join the fellows of KF17 as they discover the quirks of Samoa, reflect on Benin’s distinctive culture, and observe extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic. Then keep on reading to learn about a devoted loan officer in Ecuador, the money management techniques of microfinance clients in Togo, and the surprising opportunities that Liberian microfinance institutions can create.

Fa’a Samoa: Definitely Not About Girl Scout Cookies or ‘The Rock’
Adria Orr | KF17 | Samoa

After two and a half weeks in the South Pacific, Adria shares some of the more surprising aspects of everyday life in Samoa, as well as putting to rest once and for all her two most frequently fielded questions: “Where is Samoa?” and “Isn’t that a cookie?”

Same Same but Different
Allison Moomey | KF16 & KF17 | Benin

At the beginning of her second placement, returning Kiva Fellow Allison explores the topic of cultural differences: between her two host countries, Burkina Faso and Benin, and between the two Kiva field partners with which she’s worked.

Modernity in the Dominican Republic: La Capital vs. El Batey
David Gorgani | KF17 | Dominican Republic

In his first borrower visits, David discovers the jarring disparity between the luxury of central Santo Domingo and the poor bateys of its outlying districts.

Loan Officer Spotlight: FODEMI’s Freddy Andrade
Isabel Balderrama | KF17 | Ecuador

Isabel profiles one of her most inspiring new coworkers, a committed loan officer known throughout his organization for having achieved a 0% default rate on his portfolio.

The Sums of a Social Performance Certificate
Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

Having formally presented his field partner with its two Kiva Social Performance Badges, Michael reflects on the differences – and the surprising similarities – between microfinance institutions and commercial banks, shedding light on how microfinance clients manage their money.

Micro-Credit’s Dirty Little Secret
Ryan Cummings | KF17 | Liberia

Ryan shocks the Kiva Stories from the Field readership by revealing that microfinance institutions don’t just help their clients – they can also change their staff members’ lives for the better.

Updates from the past month:
Client Visits in Bethlehem, A New Partnership in Cameroon + A Peek Into a Loan Officer’s World

Plus more pictures from the past week:

Apia Harbor - Adria Orr, Samoa

Apia Harbor - Adria Orr, Samoa

A batey in El Seibo - David Gorgani, Dominican Republic

A batey in El Seibo - David Gorgani, Dominican Republic

FODEMI all-star Freddy Andrade - Isabel Balderrama, Ecuador

FODEMI all-star Freddy Andrade - Isabel Balderrama, Ecuador

Colleagues at WAGES - Michael Slattery, Togo

Colleagues at WAGES - Michael Slattery, Togo

BRAC Liberia staff members in Bangladesh - Ryan Cummings, Liberia

BRAC Liberia staff members in Bangladesh - Ryan Cummings, Liberia

Entry filed under: Africa, Americas, Benin, blogsherpa, Dominican Republic, East Asia & the Pacific (EAP), Ecuador, KF17 (Kiva Fellows 17th Class), Liberia, Samoa, Social Performance, Togo, Updates from the Field. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Micro-Credit’s Dirty Little Secret Getting to Know The Real Mexico


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