Posts filed under ‘Senegal’
By Kiva Fellows | KF19 | All Over the World
With January 2013 coming to an end, KF19 fellows are either continuing on with KF20 or returning home to various responsibilities and careers. Regardless of the next adventure or destination, one thing is common among all: KF19 fellows have been permanently changed by their placements.
What began as a joint blog post about any person, place, or event during the course of the fellowship that affected our lives, of itself turned into simply the one person who left the most impact. Afterall, Kiva’s mission is to alleviate poverty through connecting people. The fellows of KF19 have witnessed this connection over the course of the last three to four months, and nothing could have prepared us for meeting the people who would touch our lives in various ways.
KF19 presents to you Kiva One, a small collection of stories about human connections, hope, and inspiration.
Update From The Field: Client Visits In Bethlehem, A New Partnership In Cameroon + A Peek Into A Loan Officer’s World
Compiled by Allison Moomey | KF16 & KF17 | Bénin
KF17 fellows have now made their way into the field, which means new workplaces, new countries, and new cultures for us all. Even more importantly it means fascinating new blog posts from every corner of the globe for you. Check out this week’s posts and join fellows as they observe microfinance in action Palestine, share about a great new partner in Cameroon, visit a village bank in Peru, and adjust to life in Togo. Then continue reading to learn about a cricket-raising business in Indonesia, microsavings in Mozambique, Senegalese politics, an apartment search in Mongolia, and a loan officer training in the Philippines.
David Suk | KF 17 | Senegal
It’s been a constant refrain in e-mails from family, friends: “Are you okay over there? It sound’s dangerous. Be careful!”
I arrived here in Senegal February 1st, just five days after the Constitutional Court ruled that Abdulaye Wade, Senegal’s incumbent president, may seek a third mandate, even though a casual reading of the constitution would seem to suggest a two-term limit.
Many Senegalese support Wade’s re-election bid, pointing to progressive gender parity initiatives and massive infrastructure investments, especially in rural and suburban areas. Others — especially city-dwellers — believe the pro-poor message that swept Wade to power in 2000 was little more than empty rhetoric. They feel trapped between rapid price inflation, slower wage inflation, and high unemployment.
And so, led by a loose coalition of opposition parties and Y’en a marre (Fed Up), a collection of politically-savvy hip-hop artists, some Senegalese responded to the Court’s ruling by protesting — indeed, rioting — on the streets of Dakar. Several protesters have been kiled in skirmishes with the police.
A sad story, to be sure. Yet there is more to the Senegalese story – and I’m not even referring to flashes of hope and perseverance that emerge on the Kiva Website. Rather, I’m getting at the lunchtime back-and-forth around the communal Thiebou Diene (rice and fish) bowl.
My UIMCEC colleagues’ banter always seems to circle back to politics. They pass around the morning’s newspaper, and speculate about which articles contain kernels of truth. They argue about whether or not the protesters are destroying Senegal’s intentional reputation for Teranga (hospitality), or doing what’s necessary to preserve it. They ask one another if any of the opposition candidates has what it takes.
These uninhibited discussions — which are taking place at every bar, restaurant, and street corner across the country — are fuelled by dozens of newspapers, radio stations, television channels packed full of debate and speculation. Senegalese unions, women’s groups and human rights coalitions inject their own flavour, too.
I contrast this to my experience three years ago in Zimbabwe, which I visited to celebrate my brother’s wedding. I hardly ever heard Zimbabweans talking about politics. It wasn’t part of the political culture. It wasn’t safe – and since the only newspapers and radio stations available were essentially devoid of dissenting content, there wasn’t much to talk about anyways.
Senegalese is buzzing with political dialogue. It’s a humming a cacophony of dissenting and defending voices. This gives me hope.
And for those of you still worried about me, I assure you, I am okay over here – and I promise I’ll be careful.
Over the course of their fellowship, each Kiva Fellows class gleans a better understanding of innerworkings of microfinance and how a microfinance institution (MFI) can tip the scales of success. We begin to glimpse behind the scenes costs of Kiva to our Field Partners and to comprehend the reasoning behind “high” interest rates across the entire field of microfinance. We’re let in on the secrets to success which keep an organization running and financially viable for five years, and we learn about innovative development of programs- be they microfinance or donkey-shares- in a niche market. Over the course of our fellowships, we obtain these invaluable and instructive lessons piecemeal, and together can contribute to the conversation on a whole. Thus, as one class of fellows departs and another begins, this week our fellows share our insights with you!
by Tim Young, KF15, Senegal
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a donkey and you feed him for at least five years, providing the donkey is well treated and doesn’t get sick.
On a recent trip to the Gambia, Kiva Fellow Tim Young visited a fascinating project, which has for the last 10 years or so has been fighting poverty, by helping the local people help their working animals.
In this post, Kiva Fellow Tim Young, fortiter in re, suaviter in modo, shares some observations from a Fellow’s work in the field.