Posts filed under ‘Cameroon’

Silicon Valley’s got nothing on Yaoundé

Raphael Ferry | KF18 | Cameroon

I’m not thinking in terms of number of patent filings, amount of venture funding, or angel investors by square foot (or meter), but on many other metrics, Yaoundé, Cameroon far outpaces the more obvious entrepreneurial hubs of London, Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Silicon Valley. Everyone here is an entrepreneur. That spirit is palpable. From papaya sellers, to cell phone credit merchants, to self-proclaimed podiatrists selling shoes, the streets of Cameroun’s capital are swarmed with people dealing in every product you can imagine.

The diversity of enterprises is impressive. You’ll find jeans, q-tips, phones, tomatoes, ties, boiled peanuts, soccer cleats, and grilled corn all on one block. And every seller is somehow creating value. From purchasing ginger in bulk to sell individually to preparing and grilling fish (a delicious meal but with obvious risks for delicate expats), these entrepreneurs are doing everything they can to provide for their families. It’s in busy streets like these that microfinance still has tremendous potential.

Outside ACEP Cameroun's downtown office on Avenue Kennedy

Outside ACEP Cameroun’s downtown office on Avenue Kennedy, Yaoundé

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6 September 2012 at 11:36 1 comment

Fellows’ First Days in the Field

by Luan Nio | KF18 | Nicaragua

We think we are all well-travelled, educated and smart, with great interpersonal skills and able to handle difficult situations. But what does actually happen at a Kiva Fellow’s first day in the office?
Most of us have not worked in microfinance before, have never visited their destination country and sometimes don’t speak the local language as well as they might think.

Here are impressions from around the globe during our first day with our assigned Kiva field partner.

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30 June 2012 at 11:03 4 comments

Work Hard, Play Hard

Natalie Sherman | KF17 | Cameroon

It’s been said, countless times, that one of the most rewarding experiences for us Kiva Fellows (as you might imagine) is meeting borrowers- those inspirational men and women who work hard, every day, to make a better life for themselves and their families.  To know this satisfaction is something I certainly expected before my placement here in Cameroon.  One thing I didn’t expect, however, was the pleasure and understanding I would gain from getting to know the staff of ACEP Cameroun– the partner MFI with whom I’ve been working these past four months.  As I say my final goodbyes and prepare to pass the proverbial torch to the next Fellow working with ACEP, it’s pretty much impossible not to reflect on the good times that we’ve shared together, both in and outside of the office.  From walking in the very first day, nervous and unsure, to watching ACEP’s inaugural borrowers go live on the Kiva website, to receiving their initial repayments- it’s been a journey of both intense work and intense…. celebrating!

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30 May 2012 at 12:00 1 comment

Lost in Translation

Compiled by Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine

We’ve all had these moments: Trying to impress a native speaker with our ability to speak their language, we compose an elegant sentence in our minds, open our mouths, and… proceed to swallow our feet whole. Indeed, we Kiva Fellows have had no shortage of these moments – we’ve twisted and tortured whole phrases so that they come out no better suited than to embarrass and offend.

So here are a few stories of us Fellows shattering our carefully constructed, professional identities with a spectacular “whoops!”

Continue Reading 16 May 2012 at 09:00 5 comments

Hello Spring: It’s Time to Celebrate

Compiled by Kiyomi Beach | KF17 | Mexico

Whether shaking off the chill of winter, welcoming the rainy season, or experiencing any other climate change, the spring can definitely be a time to celebrate. Some countries celebrate big which can mean local business owners have a surge in income from selling items related to the festivities. Sales for new clothes, fabrics for costumes, candies, and specialty foods increase, which give some Kiva borrowers an extra reason to celebrate.

While we may all be familiar with some holidays or festivals, each culture celebrates what may seam like a familiar holiday differently. Some countries have celebrations that are uniquely their own, with the common threads being are family and fun. Lets see how a few of the fellows celebrated.

Continue Reading 20 April 2012 at 09:00 4 comments

AMFO: High School Envy

Natalie Sherman | KF 17 | Cameroon

What do you get when you combine service learning, microfinance and the enthusiasm of youth?  Well, at the American School of Yaoundé (ASOY), you’d have yourself a pretty innovative and well-organized microcredit program… and the 12th grade Global Issues class of Mrs. Kelly Vaughan Owens has done just that.

AMFO class participants and administrators sign loan disbursements.

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19 April 2012 at 09:00 7 comments

We have Liftoff!

Natalie Sherman | KF17 | Cameroon

This week has been one of many firsts here at ACEP Cameroun.  Not only has the MFI’s partner page officially gone live, but the bank’s inaugural Kiva borrower, Nathalie, has just received her loan.  I watched with pride as ACEP’s Kiva Coordinator reviewed with Nathalie her disbursement paperwork and then walked her over to the cashier’s station.  It’s a sensation I’d liken to how one must feel when sending a son or daughter off to the first day of school- a mixture of joy, reassurance and perhaps just the tiniest bit of apprehension as to what lies ahead.

ACEP's first Kiva borrower, signing her disbursement paperwork.

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1 April 2012 at 03:02 2 comments

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