Posts filed under ‘Tanaoba Lais Manekat (TLM)’

Different Worlds: Two Perspectives on Borrower Privacy from Indonesia and Ukraine

Heather Sullivan | KF17 | Indonesia
Chris Paci | KF16 & KF17 | Ukraine

When not sampling local delicacies or fording swollen rivers to visit borrowers, Kiva Fellows occasionally find themselves stuck in the office, chatting on Skype and sharing experiences (both raucous and ruminative) from the field.  In one recent conversation, the two of us, Heather and Chris, discovered that we were facing nearly opposite sets of problems surrounding the issue of borrower privacy. While Chris’s field partner in Ukraine was finding it hard to convince suspicious borrowers that sharing their photos and stories on Kiva would cause them no harm, Heather was struggling to convey to her Indonesian MFI’s clients that perhaps they shouldn’t be so nonchalant about how their information might be shared. What follows is a joint blog exploring some of the roots of those cultural differences—and their consequences for Kiva and its partner MFIs.

Ibu Masripah from Indonesia

Ibu Masripah, a VisionFund Indonesia client, was delighted to report on the success of her kiosk and participate in an impromptu photo shoot.


25 May 2012 at 09:00 4 comments

West Timor Research Insights from a Boren Fellow

Yvonne Chen, a Boren Fellow in Indonesia (2010-2011) and a graduate student at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, contacted me after reading about my experience here at TLM on the Kiva Fellows blog. She was interested in conducting her research study in West Timor with TLM to collect data for her thesis on youth financial inclusion in East Indonesia. Despite her busy schedule, Yvonne was able to share some findings from her West Timor research as well as thoughts on Indonesian microfinance and Kiva’s work. Enjoy reading the interview below!

Continue Reading 1 May 2011 at 07:00 3 comments

A Different Spin on “Mobile Savings”

When I first arrived at TLM in January I read their 2011 business plan and was thrilled to see that the MFI was planning to launch mobile savings by mid-year! I proceeded to read the text under the “mobile savings” heading and quickly realized that (1) I have an active imagination and (2) TLM’s mobile savings was a different spin on words than what my mind had quickly conjured up.
TLM Mobile Van Sketch

Continue Reading 15 April 2011 at 07:00 4 comments

Huh, There’s a West Timor?

When I first told friends and family that I was headed to West Timor for several months for my Kiva Fellowship, I often heard the response, “Huh, there’s a West Timor?”

Most people are more familiar with Indonesia’s neighbor, East Timor, due to its 25-year struggle for independence, which often splashed in the headlines of Western papers.  This long and violent battle for independence has resulted a strong UN presence and continuous aid relief efforts in East Timor.  In strict contrast, West Timor of Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) province was left out of the limelight.

Today NTT province still has the least favorable social and economic statistics of all 33 Indonesian provinces.  Many of the statistics in the table below are shocking, especially the fact that 65% of the 4.6 million population is living below the poverty line and earning less than 1.00 USD per day.

Tanaoba Lais Manekat (TLM), the MFI, which Kiva is partnered with in NTT province, has a dedicated mission to alleviate poverty in West Timor and its surrounding islands.   Currently TLM has 19 branch offices throughout NTT and has reached 26,985 clients through its loan and savings programs.

I’m thrilled that my Kiva Fellowship has granted me the opportunity to work with such a committed institution.  With my Kiva experience out in Indonesia, I am also able to report back home to everyone that YES, there indeed is a West Timor, and it is filled with genuine, hard-working, and optimistic people.  Since pictures of the remote island are far and few between, please enjoy the photostream of some of my favorites!

Lisa Skowron is a Kiva Fellow serving in Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia as part of the Kiva Fellows’ 14th class.

3 March 2011 at 07:00 5 comments

Last Week in the Field: “Christmas”, Trekking, Adversity + Good Company

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Members of the 14th class of Kiva Fellows have officially hit their stride. While we never know where the next dispatch will come from or what interesting topics the Fellows will cover next, we always know we’ll be transported, entertained, and edified. This past week, topics included “Christmas”, trekking to a remote village (with video!), handling adversity (including a serious car accident and stolen electronics), and enjoying the company of loan officers, borrowers, and community members. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 21 February 2011 at 02:17 12 comments

Video Blog: Trek to Kanaan Village

Are microfinance institutions (MFIs) exploiting poor borrowers by charging the excessive interest rates?  Some people think so, especially after the publicity around Andhra Pradesh in India.  Despite recent events, there has always been a widespread agreement that most MFIs should operate sustainably, keeping costs as low as possible, and charging interest rates high enough to cover these costs.  However, even in these instances, rates hover much higher than your typical commercial bank.

One of the leading factors attributing to high MFI interest rates is administration expense.  The cost to process numerous tiny loans requires a lot more legwork that cannot sustainably offset by economies of scale.  Also, MFIs often operate in remote or low population density areas, were simple contact with the borrower can turn into long journey.   The video below depicts this through my trek out to Kanaan Village in West Timor, Indonesia.  Enjoy!

Lisa Skowron is part of the Kiva Fellow’s 14th Class and is currently working with TLM in Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia.

16 February 2011 at 07:00 11 comments

Spreading the Kiva love…

by Cissy DeLuca, KF8, Indonesia

This past week is my last week working at TLM in West Timor. TLM is also partnered with Opportunity International (OI) Australia, which is their primary source of funding. To promote this relationship, TLM often hosts “Insight Trips,” which allow supporters of OI to pay a fee to visit a partner MFI of their choice. These trips promote donor understanding and create the potential for them to further contribute to the work of the MFI.

TLM staff members introducing the Australian guests to a client

TLM staff members introducing the Australian guests to a client

Eight Australians arrived this past Monday to be toured around to visit clients, see the office, meet the staff and gain an insider perspective on microfinance and TLM. Upon hearing I was working on behalf of Kiva, an instant fan club materialized right before my eyes. They wanted to know everything they possibly could about Kiva and their partnership with TLM. Some had heard of it, while others had not. This resulted in me hosting an impromptu training session at my desk on how to use the Kiva website.  One of the Australians had even googled “TLM” and “Microfinance” prior to the trip and stumbled upon the fellows blog and a video I had made! He had known of the existence of a “Cissy” at TLM before he even arrived… I am a minor celebrity!


16 September 2009 at 02:59 4 comments

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