Posts tagged ‘drought’

Bonne Arrivée: Welcome to Ouagadougou

By Diana Biggs | KF18 | Burkina Faso

One week ago today, I touched down in my new home of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The greetings of “Bonne Arrivée!” I received at the airport are now echoed each morning as I arrive at my field partner’s office and each evening as I return home and  am greeted by my night guardian, Adama.

The road to work

A quieter street in Ouaga…

Continue Reading 3 July 2012 at 08:55 10 comments

Climate Change hits Kiva Borrowers in Bolivia

By Suzy Price Marinkovich, KF9 Bolivia

“In a world that is hot—a world that is more and more affected by global warming—guess who is going to suffer the most?  It will be the people who caused it the least—the poorest people in the world, who have no electricity, no cars, no power plants, and virtually no factories to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.  Many of the 2.4 billion people who live on $2 a day or less reside in rural areas and depend directly on the soil, forests, and plants in their immediate vicinity for subsistence.” –Thomas Friedman, “Hot, Flat, & Crowded” (Pg. 158)

What I have learned the most since I arrived in South America as a Kiva Fellow seven months ago is that, not only is climate change real – it is making the poor poorer faster than we can create infrastructure to accommodate it.  Bolivia has been devastated by heightened temperatures melting glaciers around La Paz, for example, which have in turn dried up rivers that irrigated entire mountainous communities who are now going from poor to extremely poor—and dangerously fast.  In Cochabamba, the drying up of rivers can not only be felt but it can be seen nearly everywhere, in old riverbeds now littered with trucks filling up with gravel.  Even worse, these trucks are loading up gravel in the middle of “la epoca de lluvia,” or the rainy season, which now feels very much a misnomer for Cochabambinos.

Kiva’s newest partner in Bolivia, CIDRE, is by far most proud of its potable water and irrigation projects – and once you hear what they are up to, you will understand why. 

CIDRE approaches agricultural communities with recently dried-up river beds or nonexistent irrigation systems and arranges a community-style loan at very low interest.  I say “community” and not “group” loan because the loan is taken out for one purpose, to build a well, and then is repaid by each household as part of the larger sum.  I had the opportunity to attend the 6-year anniversary party of a CIDRE-funded community well in the rural area and was astonished at the overwhelming pride the community had for the well.  CIDRE’s veteran loan officer Juan and I were treated like the guests of honor; we were even asked to bless the well, give speeches, and shake hands with every single member of the community.  It was extraordinarily humbling.  I particularly loved Juan’s speech, as he introduced me by explaining Kiva to the community, and telling them how it will help CIDRE bring more wells to dry Cochabamba farming communities.  Seeing the joy in their faces at the potential impact this could have for their neighbors was my absolute proudest moment as a Kiva Fellow and it brought tears to my eyes.

Rigoberto, the president of the community’s agricultural cooperative, took me on a tour to tell me why exactly they were so proud about this well.  (more…)

23 December 2009 at 09:13 8 comments

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