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A Fellowship in Photos (Part 2)

By Kate Bennett, KF15 Ecuador / KF16 Perú

After my first placement in Ecuador, I thought I knew living and working in South America- three months in Ica, Perú proved me wrong. New (and delicious) food, a drastically different (and drier) climate, and wonderful new friends, coworkers, and chicha-vending Kiva borrowers showed me another side of South America’s many amazing countries and cultures. As I phase out of my second fellowship back into the real world, I want to share these photos, and photos from my first placement in Ecuador, with you lenders and give thanks to KFP and Perú for an amazing fellowship experience! Click the photos to see them enlarged!

Kate Bennett (KF16) is thrilled to be working in Ica, Peru with Kiva Field Partner Caja Rural Señor de Luren. For more on Kate’s experiences with Caja Rural Señor de Luren or life in Peru, follow her work here.

4 January 2012 at 04:00 1 comment

60 Tips from Kiva Fellows

Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF16 Peru

The sixteenth class of Kiva Fellows has all but left the field- but we’re by no means done talking about our experiences. We’ve collectively spent 422 weeks in the field (just over 8 years!) and worked an estimated 16,650 hours at Kiva field partners around the world.  Needless to say, we’ve got a lot of opinions about how to use this time wisely.

Now, we’re no experts in living or working abroad (though we sure do like it), but we have some nuggets of wisdom to offer up for those of you transitioning into a life abroad or beginning your next Kiva Fellowship. Stick by these tips, and you can’t go wrong. (And for more hints and tips, check out 33 Tips from Kiva Fellows (written November 2009) or 45 More Tips from Kiva Fellows in South America.) Enjoy!

Continue Reading 30 December 2011 at 04:00 6 comments

A Fellowship in Photos (Part 1)

My first placement in Ecuador was my first time in the country. Turns out that Ecuador is every bit as incredible as the guide books say, and more. I was continously struck by the warmth and openness of the Ecuadorian people (and their passion for politics!), the beauty of the mountains, jungle, and countryside, the richness of Ecuadorian food, the strength of the Kiva borrowers I met there, and my persisting inability to salsa as well as my coworkers. These are a few of my favorite photos of my time there. Stay tuned for my next post, of my favorite photos from my placement in Perú!

Continue Reading 28 December 2011 at 04:00 1 comment

The Do-Gooder’s 2011 Guide to Responsible Giving: Kiva Cards

In the United States, it was ushered in on Friday the 25th of November in the wee hours of the morning. Here in Ica, Perú, it is manifested in the towering polyethylene Christmas tree and tinsel-adorned telephone booths in the Plaza del Sol shopping mall. Around the world, in many forms, it’s upon us: the season of giving.

And every year in the Bennett family, we duke it out to see just who can give the most responsibly: we exchange goats through Heifer International, carbon credits through Carbon Fund, and donations to NPR and Wikipedia. That is, until several years ago when we discovered the apogee of responsible giving: the Kiva Card

Continue Reading 8 December 2011 at 04:00 5 comments

Updates from the Field: Autonomy, Sierra Leone and the 2011 Kiva Love Tour

Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF16, Peru
This week’s updates come at a time of change for Fellows around the world. As the holidays near, Fellows prepare to phase out of their current placements, move on to the next ones, and tie up loose ends with their Kiva Field Partners. But this doesn’t interfere with Fellows’ primary mission: to ensure that Kiva’s work and the work of our Field Partners is, too, sparking change as the new year approaches.

Continue Reading 5 December 2011 at 04:00 2 comments

Questions from the Field: Why Do We Lend, What’s a Kiva Fellowship + How does Microfinance Support Green & Agricultural Development?

Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF16, Peru

Last week’s stories from the field elucidate readers on questions far and wide, and pose a few questions of their own: what is a Wandering Kiva Fellow, and is a Kiva Fellowship right for you? How can microloans support a green or agriculturally sustainable economy? In a country bouncing back from a civil war, how can international aid and microfinance help (or hurt)? What social programs are our partners supporting across the world, and how can microfinance support HIV-postive microborrowers? And finally, a question we put to you lenders: How do You Lend?

Continue Reading 21 November 2011 at 13:21 1 comment

How do You Lend?

By Kate Bennett, KF16, Peru
The most challenging part of trainings for we Kiva Fellows is not instructing loan officers to obtain signed consent forms from borrowers, or explaining how money moves from lender, to Kiva, to Caja Rural, to the client. The most difficult explanation is often how and why. That there are hundreds of thousands of lenders out there, all excited to make a $25 loan to someone else in the world- at no gain of their own- is often lost on new loan officers. But making this clarification is what enables these extremely important players in the Kiva process to understand why it all works, and why providing details that show clearly the life of the borrower is imperative to facilitating the connection between borrower and lender.

Continue Reading 16 November 2011 at 04:00 2 comments

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