Posts filed under ‘KF16 (Kiva Fellows 16th Class)’

Update from the Field: Life as a Fellow in San Francisco, a walk through an art fair + becoming part of a winning soccer team

Compiled by Isabel Balderrama | KF17 + KF18 | Bolivia

On this week’s update we have a great collection of posts describing some of our Kiva Fellows’ Class 18 arrival to their new and exciting field assignments. But first, we are treated to an article from an out-going fellow who takes us on a visually-pleasing journey through Mexico’s largest artisan fair. This week’s journey also takes us to Kosovo and to its capital Pristina, where we will learn more about this small new state in the Balkans. Then its off to Peru, where we are given the opportunity to learn more about Kiva’s goal of creating a global link between lenders and borrowers by examining one example: promoting community development through team sports. Yey for soccer! Finally, the narrative wouldn’t be complete without a Kiva’d up take on The Real World which you should read if you have always wondered what the famed week of fellows’ training in Kiva Headquarters, San Francisco is like. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 25 June 2012 at 09:00 6 comments

The Heart of Kiva – A Guest Blog from Mexico

Emmanuel M. von Arx | KF 16+17 | Mexico

Kiva is all about stories – what draws us all in and inspires us to lend are the stories of courageous micro-entrepreneurs that speak of hard-ship and success, challenges and dreams, love and dedication. But Kiva is not just about borrowers and their stories. It is also about the people behind the scene on the ground – the staff of the close to 150 field partners of Kiva – who screen loan applicants, grant, administrate, and look after Kiva loans, and make sure that Kiva borrowers are treated respectfully and fairly. Their stories are almost never told. Yet, the local staff of Kiva´s Field Partners are those people who make the magic happen – they are the ones who make Kiva possible. If Kiva Fellows are called the “eyes and ears in the field”, I propose local MFI staff be called “the brain and heart of Kiva.” MFI staff has insights on the conditions on the ground, the local mentalities, and the practical aspects of microfinance that can rival (and – I have no doubt – normally exceed) those of Kiva staff and Fellows. Yet, their perspective is seldom heard and their stories are rarely told.

Just how much local field partner staff have to tell and to share with the world I learned during the brief three week period during which I had the pleasure to be the Kiva Fellow for FRAC or Fundación Realidad (soon to be known as Vision Fund Mexico) in Mexico City. FRAC, has over 200 employees – they encompass 200 breathtaking stories and lives from all over Mexico, coming together in FRAC’s vision of wanting to provide financial and non-financial services to those families who do not have access to formal banking services in order to improve their quality of life.

During my work in FRAC’s Mexico City Headquarter, the MFI’s staff turned out to be an endless source of inspiration for me. There was not one person I talked to whose story and motives wouldn’t be worth sharing. Within a few brief hours I felt not just surrounded by close friends, but soul-mates – I discovered that everybody around me was at least as passionate and enthusiastic about FRAC’s and Kiva’s work and the impact of micro-finance as I am.

As soon as I told FRAC’s staff about the Kiva Fellows Blog, I was bombarded with requests of staff members to publish their thoughts and their experiences on it. Many have a particular pet project they feel most passionate about; others have made an experience on the job they are keen to share. Thus grew the idea of creating a little guest blog within the Kiva Fellow Blog. I offered to all staff to publish their thoughts and words on the Fellows’ blog as a way to make readers aware that Kiva doesn’t just connect lenders with borrowers, but that it connects lenders with local staff with borrowers with friends with staff with borrowers with lenders with… stop! Let’s just say: Kiva connects people through lending!

Rosa Gonzalez is the first staff member of FRAC who agreed to share her experience. She was hired by FRAC as their English-Spanish translator a few days after I joined the organization as a Kiva Fellow. Rosa translates both borrower profiles and journals for FRAC borrowers before they are being published or sent to lenders. But let me introduce Rosa in her own words – you will immediately see that they are pure poetry.

Continue Reading 24 April 2012 at 08:58 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

Barrier + Solution = Groups loans for Maya! + Challenges Remain.

By Kimberly Strathearn, KF 16/17, Turkey

No water = barrier for fish
(ran across this advertisement for a new aquarium one morning in Taksim Square on the way to work)

Maya has been a Kiva Field partner for 8 months.  Maya is a small program that was established under the Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work in 2002.  Maya’s target clients are low-income women with a primary school education that have limited chances of finding a job in the formal economy.  Turkey has a large informal economy, so most of Maya’s clients want to set up a small-scale business or enhance their existing small-scale business.  Many of their clients work from home but some have small shops, or work in market stalls. Most of these businesses are in the trade sector but some are in the manufacturing and service sectors. Since most of the businesses are unregistered, the women are unable to access regular financial services.

Have you been wondering why Maya has only posted 35 entrepreneur profiles on the Kiva website?  And that they all have been individuals?  You may know from my first post about Maya or Maya Field Partner Page, that Maya offers group loans—so why isn’t Maya posting any?

(more…)

7 April 2012 at 08:00 6 comments

If it is Wednesday, it must be Eskişehir + Eskişehir Entrepreneurs

By Kimberly Strathearn | KF 16/17 | Turkey

In previous blog posts, I have introduced the Maya Istanbul office, the Sakarya branch office, and the Izmit branch office.  This blog will highlight the Eskişehir branch office,  introduce Nermin Akar and Serpil Altıntaş and provide an update on three entrepreneurs.

From left to right: Nermin Akar and Serpil Altıntaş

(more…)

13 March 2012 at 09:13 5 comments

Preservation Hall

Charlotte Makoff | KF16 | New Orleans

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The Sign at the Door

It’s hard to imagine a dingier, more neglected looking space than Preservation Hall in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The tall windows facing the street are shuttered and have not been washed in years, maybe decades. Paint, in the areas that are or were painted, is blistered and peeling, but most of the walls are covered with ancient pegboard stained a myriad of browns and grays by an accumulation of dust and tobacco smoke. (more…)

9 February 2012 at 08:07 2 comments

To Connect People Through Lending To Entrepreneurs Across the Globe

“To Connect People Through Lending to Entrepreneurs Across the Globe” is one of Kiva’s best tag lines. Indeed, “Connecting” is key to Kiva, to microfinance loans and to repayment, especially in this high tech world of Twitter, Facebook, Groupon and the Worldwide Web. All of the Kiva borrowers in New Orleans are online, from the youngest in her twenties to the oldsters in their 60s. A lot have smart phones to check their email and Facebook pages. Unlike the Kiva borrowers in developing nations, there is no need to explain “the internet.” When I meet with a prospective client I walk them through the Kiva website. I go to Kiva.org and explain “crowd sourcing,” i.e. that their loan will actually be funded by around 250 people from different parts the world who want to loan and connect with them after reading their Kiva profile. The response is always positive and many of the borrowers want to make a connection to the lenders. One borrower, Renee, specifically asked me to write all of her lenders a thank you note and a progress report on her loan. The Kiva site is built so that the borrowers cannot directly write to the lenders. This is what I wrote on Renee’s behalf:

Continue Reading 2 February 2012 at 12:26

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