Posts filed under ‘KF12 (Kiva Fellows 12th Class)’

Time, Love, Money & Energy

By Kaajal Laungani, KF12 Philippines

During our discussion, Mike mentioned something that I had thought a lot about prior to applying to the Kiva Fellows Program – the concept of being satisfied and feeling grateful. When he would ask his audiences if they had enough time, money, love or energy, most would flatly respond with a NO. I had observed similar sentiments through my interactions with people back home in California.

When I returned to Bohol, I thought it would be interesting to see how Kiva clients responded to the same questions. Before you read on, think about how you would respond to the following questions: Do you have enough time? love? money? energy?

Continue Reading 19 April 2011 at 03:00 4 comments

Update from the Field: Videos, Epic Commutes + Going Beyond Microfinance

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Another week, another incredible range of dispatches from around the world. Several Fellows told their stories with video and pictures while others took time to reflect on the state of microfinance as a global industry and in their respective countries. And what would a week in the field be without getting to know a few borrowers? Plus, scroll to the end of the post for pictures you may have missed the first time around.

Continue Reading 28 February 2011 at 00:38 10 comments

A Kiva Fellow’s Photo Album: Six Months Along The Equator

By Tara Capsuto, KF12 Ecuador / KF13 Kenya

I recently concluded my Kiva Fellowship that has spanned 6.5 months, 5 of Kiva’s MFI field partners, 2 continents, countless long haul buses, and roughly 12,000 miles of travel. As a member of Kiva Fellow’s 12th class (KF12) I headed to Ecuador in July, 2010 to work with two of Kiva’s field partners, Fundación Espoir and Fundación D-MIRO. I never would have guessed that when December rolled around I’d be summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trying to pick up Swahili. That’s because KF13 landed me in Nairobi, Kenya to work with Faulu Kenya, Juhudi Kilimo, and Kenya Agency for Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET).

From witnessing political turmoil in Ecuador to surviving a matatu crash in rural Kenya, there were definitely some harrowing moments but it’s been a truly amazing journey, a journey, that like Kiva itself, has been all about people.  I’ve been out of the field for several weeks and I haven’t come up with a great way to summarize my experiences as a Kiva Fellow. Each time someone asks, “So, how was it?!” I kind of stammer, generally respond that it was fantastic (it really was), and share an anecdote or two. The truth is, it was a life-changing experience, or rather, a series of experiences, and it’s hard to know where to begin. In lieu of even attempting to be exhaustive, here are some of my favorite images from my Kiva Fellowship.

View from the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


22 February 2011 at 11:10 5 comments

Island life – is it really as glamorous as it sounds?

By Kaajal Laungani, KF12 Philippines

It was a typical bright and sunny morning as I walked down the Talibon Pier towards the tiny boat that would take me island hopping for the day. I was greeted by six smiling loan officers already seated inside the boat; they watched as I maneuvered myself down steep sloping rocks, balanced on a beam to cross the water, and finally jumped onto the boat that would take me on an incredible forty-five minute ride through the Philippine Sea…

After a few stops and many laughs, we arrived at Nocnocan Island – a tiny island that is only accessible by boat. We pulled up on the shore and walked through a maze of homes and shops, the alleys approximately three and a half feet wide. At the cluster meeting house, where the CEVI borrowers gather on a weekly basis, I was able to learn about island life and how the microfinance loans were making an impact on the Nocnocan community.

Continue Reading 10 February 2011 at 06:10 1 comment

Reflections from Eight Months in the Field

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cusco, Peru

Last July, I sat in Kiva headquarters listening to speaker after speaker desperately trying to get a grasp on what life as a Kiva fellow would be like. Despite all my “international” experience, I don´t think anything could have prepared me for the adventure that was to come. Personally, I set out to discover how microfinance worked, IF it worked, and how it impacted the lives of the people it touched, but I really had no idea what lay ahead of me.

Continue Reading 8 February 2011 at 08:00 2 comments

Clients’ Perspectives

By Kaajal Laungani, KF12 Philippines

We developed interview guides/modules based on the CERISE SPI tool – creating questions and group exercises related to the following topics: products and services, policies, over-indebtedness, staff relations, feedback and communication, client benefits, community development and child well-being. Over a span of four days, our team was able to collect data and feedback from client groups to gain a better understanding of how CEVI is perceived by those it aims to serve.

Continue Reading 5 February 2011 at 12:00

More hot topics in Ecuador

By Ellen Willems, KF13, Ecuador

Last week I finished my Kiva Fellowship in Ecuador. During the past three months I traveled throughout the country to work at Kiva’s three Ecuadorian field partners. I believe that now, at the end of my Fellowship, is a good time to refer back to my first blog entry and, using my personal experiences, reflect on some of the topics mentioned there.
These reflections represent only my personal experiences and should by no means be considered anything more than that. I realize that my experiences are based on a relatively short stay in Ecuador and are limited to only three of the more than 300 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) active in the country.

Continue Reading 30 January 2011 at 06:00 1 comment

Lasting Impressions of Microfinance

By Joanne Gan, KF12 (Indonesia) and KF13 (Philippines)

If you asked me what I have learned about microfinance during my Kiva Fellowship, I wouldn’t know where to start. I have learned that running a social business comes with its share of challenges. I have learned that technology will pave new ways for the future of microfinance. I have learned that the best microfinance organizations have their clients at the heart of all their activities. I could go on and on about my impressions of microfinance from the last six months…but in my final blog post, I will spare you. Instead, below I share with you my 5 favorite images (from the 1,667 photos I’ve taken here) of microfinance at work.

Continue Reading 27 January 2011 at 16:42 3 comments

My 3 Favorite Pictures from Cambodia

Big smile from a Kiva borrower

Cambodians have some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. During my visits to Kiva borrowers in August and September of 2010, I was given a glimpse of life in rural Cambodia. Below I present some of the challenges of taking photos in the field and also some of my favorite photographs from the borrower visits. (more…)

5 January 2011 at 17:00 6 comments

Wait, What Do You Do Again?

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru

As a Kiva Fellow, no two days are the same.  One morning I will wake up at 5am to try to visit a borrower before they head out to work, and the next I’ll be in the office uploading loans or training the Kiva team on how to take a great picture or write a journal worth reading.  In fact, as a Kiva Fellow, our job is so diverse that the Kiva staff creates long lists of things for us to do called deliverables.  My favorite on these “To Dos” is Borrower Verifications.  Essentially, we go into the field and do a spot check to make sure that information uploaded on the Kiva website is real.


27 December 2010 at 05:00

Silk weaving in Cambodia: An age-old tradition struggles to survive

by Lina Goldberg, KF12, MAXIMA Mikroheranhvatho, Cambodia

Cambodia has a long and rich history in silk production and weaving dating back more than a thousand years. Women across southern Cambodia have looms in their homes, and they practice the art passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. But now the ancient craft is slowly dying as the cost of imported raw silk continues to climb while the price of finished silk textiles drops.

Continue Reading 26 December 2010 at 10:05 47 comments

Microfinance in Iraq

Today I had the opportunity to interview a couple of members of staff from the Iraq offices, with my Kiva co-ordinator translating I got to learn a lot more information about micro-finance and the development and reconstruction in Iraq.

Continue Reading 25 December 2010 at 02:00 2 comments

Microfinance and Natural Disaster

Betsy McCormick, KF12, Medellin, Colombia

This winter is said to be the worst in the last 60 years in Colombia. In the 45 days since I arrived in Medellín, roughly three have not included a rainstorm. I’ve just come to accept the fact that most days I will get stuck in a torrential downpour, and that my umbrella will be rendered useless. The locals like to remind me that while I have been dealing with the rain for only a few weeks, this has been their reality for months, and there is no end in sight. Official weather reports estimate that the rain will continue through March.

Around the country, Colombians are feeling the effects of winter. Medellín itself is located in the bottom of a valley, and many of the communities up in the hills have suffered devastating mudslides. Beyond the inconvenience of the road closures (most major routes in the state of Antioquia are either closed or severely delayed), mud has crushed entire neighborhoods and buried families. About two weeks ago, the president declared a state of emergency. The government emergency fund will cover only about one tenth of the damage that has been done. To date, 200 people have died, another 250 are injured, and about 120 more are declared missing. Almost 300,000 homes have been affected, with over 2,000 destroyed completely. The trauma begs the question: what is the role of microfinance in the wake of natural disasters?

Continue Reading 23 December 2010 at 10:00

What does a Kiva Fellow do? A day in my Fellow’s workplan

You are a dedicated Kiva lender and you live vicariously through the fascinating stories published to the Fellow’s blog. But what does a Kiva Fellow actually do? Everything actually, because Kiva Fellows are superheroes. But to be more specific, each fellow is assigned a workplan with specific outcomes to guide their MFI towards best practices. Take a look into a day of my workplan at Fundacion Mujer!

Continue Reading 21 December 2010 at 08:12 3 comments

Catching the Christmas Spirit

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru

First of all, I love Christmas. The tree, Christmas lights (you can ask my parents about what I did to our house when I was a little kid), hot cider, going over to Grandma´s house on Christmas Eve, eating tamales (everyone has their own Christmas traditions), the stockings, Eggs Benedict Christmas morning, watching my Beagle open up his gifts. The feeling of being around those who you love and those who love you. I love all of it.

Continue Reading 20 December 2010 at 08:00 1 comment

A Farm for the Poorest of the Poor

In our first week as Kiva trainees we were taught that microloans are not intended for the very poorest of the poor. Microfinance institutions target the unbankable poor, those who can benefit from a loan for an income-generating activity. There is another level of poverty below that, those who need emergency help for basic human needs. Many MFIs develop alternative services for this segment of the population. At CCT, one of Kiva’s partners in the Philippines, they have started a sustainable farm for street dwellers: Kaibigan (“Friend”) Village. (more…)

18 December 2010 at 15:00 1 comment

How Good is Kiva for Microfinance Institutions?

Kiva field partner office in Cambodia

To carry out its mission of connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty, Kiva allows microfinance institutions (MFIs) to raise 0% interest capital on the Kiva website. MFIs use this capital to lend to entrepreneurs and collect (and keep) the interest on these loans. For MFIs, being able to raise interest-free capital is arguably the greatest benefit of joining Kiva. While this funding is interest-free, there is a still a cost associated with raising the capital. MFIs must expend resources to post loans, repayment figures, and journal updates on the Kiva website. Do these costs outweigh the benefits? Financially speaking, how good is Kiva for their field partner microfinance institutions? Let’s look at a real life example of a large Asian for-profit microfinance institution, considering only at the incremental benefits and costs associated with partnering up with Kiva (all figures in US Dollars). (more…)

17 December 2010 at 14:00 10 comments

Graphic Design and Biochemistry for the Poor

Betsy McCormick, KF 12, Medellin, Colombia

Interactuar is, without a doubt, one of the most inspiring microfinance institutions (MFIs) I have come across to date in my work with Kiva. More than just a credit institution, Interactuar, which is located in Medellin, Colombia, believes wholeheartedly in the power of microfinance when combined with additional programs, such as client education and consulting services. Two of these entrepreneurship development services strike me as particularly unique and merit elaboration: the design center and the nutrition laboratory.

Continue Reading 16 December 2010 at 10:00 8 comments

A Look Under the Hood (Fine-tuning an MFI for 2011)

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend Asociación Arariwa´s year end planning retreat out in the Sacred Valley in Urubamba, Peru. More than just spending the weekend having fun with my co-workers at the institution, I was excited to finally see what a microfinance institution (MFI) really is about. On one hand as a Kiva Fellow, I get a very in depth look at how my MFI works, but on the other hand, Kiva is still perceived as a funding source for the MFI so they are constantly “putting their best foot forward”. Arariwa´s 2011 strategic planning retreat was a way for me to see, internally, what microfinance meant to this MFI in Cuzco.

Continue Reading 14 December 2010 at 08:00

Bus rides and long walks

By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF12, Paraguay

Want to know what is it like to work with a loan officer? Come on… join the ride for a day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


12 December 2010 at 15:55

Culture, cock fighting and something of value.

From Casey Unrein

Continue Reading 11 December 2010 at 07:29 18 comments

An Innovative Approach to Microcredit in Costa Rica

John Murphy – KF12 – EDESA – Costa Rica

Having completed my fellowship at EDESA Costa Rica, I’d like to share with you an explanatory video of the MFI and its lending methodology. Enjoy.

Continue Reading 9 December 2010 at 12:37 1 comment

4,107 Beans: A Kiva Fellowship in Numbers

By Katie Morton, KF12, Yehu Microfinance Trust, Kenya

When I landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in July, I was determined to learn, absorb, and live like a Kenyan. It turns out this wasn’t the most realistic goal given barriers like the timeframe of 90 days and the whole mzungu factor. But I tried anyway (which entailed a whole lot of beans).

Continue Reading 8 December 2010 at 08:00 3 comments

Awarding Colombia’s Cream of the Crop

Betsy McCormick, KF12, Medellin, Colombia

There was an air of excitement in Interactuar’s office, located in Medellín, Colombia; employees were better dressed than usual, everyone was in high spirits and kept a constant eye on the clock. It was all in anticipation of Interactuar’s biggest day of the year: the Famiempreario del Año (family business of the year) award ceremony.

Continue Reading 4 December 2010 at 12:00 1 comment

As my Kiva fellowship concludes…

by, Zerrin Cetin, KF12 Ghana

When I embarked on my fellowship four months ago, I was excited but nervous. As with any new experience, the unknowns can be interesting, exhilarating, challenging and overwhelming all at the same time. With these feelings, I boarded my flight to Ghana. I had two simple objectives for my fellowship – help my MFI as much as I can and learn as much as I can. As my journal entry from my flight states, I wanted to learn about microfinance, Ghanaian culture, common characteristics that make us human, and myself. Though I’ve probably only scratched the surface on these lofty goals, I am surprised at how much these objectives shaped my fellowship experience. I’d like to take this final blog to share a little bit of what I’ve learned.

Continue Reading 2 December 2010 at 04:00 5 comments

Should Financial Institutions Offer Healthcare Services?

By Julie Shea, KF13, Bolivia

Upon starting my fellowship at ProMujer Bolivia in La Paz, I became quickly aware of the fact that this microfinance institution (MFI) offers its customers one thing that the other MFI’s I’ve worked with and observed don’t, namely healthcare services. In a country where national health data show high infant and maternal mortality, and the lowest life expectancy in Latin America*, the value of these services offered by ProMujer is obvious. However, a part of me questions the notion that a person’s access to healthcare and health services should be so intricately linked to his or her business loan.

Continue Reading 1 December 2010 at 12:00 1 comment

Living the Dream

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru

Back when I was just a Kiva lender, I thought how cool it would be to meet one of the borrowers that I had lent too. I mean that is what just about every Kiva lender dreams of, right? You lend out to people halfway across the world all based off of a couple of paragraphs on a website and a 3” by 5” photo. But you never really think twice about how real the needs of the people you are lending money to are or what difference the loan will mean in the borrowers life.

Continue Reading 29 November 2010 at 07:00 3 comments

A Tale of Two Cities: First Impressions of Medellín, Colombia

Betsy McCormick, Medellín, Colombia, KF12

When I first told my father that Kiva had placed me in Medellín, he asked, “you mean the drug and murder capital of the world?” Er, um, not anymore! I don’t think….

Medellín is, in many ways, two different cities in one—and a place that faces far more nuanced challenges than its tarnished reputation implies. Caught between a landscape of rich young socialites on the one hand, and an impoverished population searching for its identity in the wake of violence on the other, Medellín makes for complicated and fecund ground in the world of microfinance.

Continue Reading 28 November 2010 at 10:00 3 comments

Deciphering a Treasure Map: How to Find a Kiva Borrower

By Katie Morton, KF12, Yehu Microfinance Trust, Kenya

Stepping outside of the office and into the nooks and crannies of an unfamiliar land is fun and exciting…at first. But a simple day out and about can very quickly turn into a character-building experience, especially when faced with obstacles like the nonexistence of posted street signs or printed maps, fickle mobiles, and language barriers—all underneath the equatorial sun’s 90 degree rays.

Continue Reading 27 November 2010 at 08:00 2 comments

Cow Dung and Cleaner Energy in Kenya

By Jennifer Coronel, KF13, Kenya

The town of Murang’a is a rural respite from the commotion of Nairobi, Kenya’s bustling capital. Our car deftly handled the curvy roads, throwing up dust in its wake on the way to the group loan meeting.

One of the group’s borrowers, a young woman named Esther Marubu, took a second loan from Juhudi Kilimo to construct a biogas unit. This system takes cow dung and converts it to natural gas, which can be used in the home for cooking and lighting.

Continue Reading 26 November 2010 at 08:00 7 comments

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