Posts tagged ‘Jordan’

Updates from the Field: Mosquito Nets, Rock Climbing + Clearing the Air

Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF15, Ecuador

The former Prosecutor's office, burnt out in April 2010's political upheaval in Kyrgyzstan

Kiva’s Field Partners are spread far and wide, from Nicaragua to Nepal, Afghanistan to America. As we lend $25 to a borrower in a distant land, we try to imagine what his or her life is like. This is one of Kiva’s greatest successes, in fact: it gives us a glimpse into the life of another person in a country we’re unfamiliar with. But no amount of transparency on the Kiva website, nor pouring over newspapers or guidebooks, can ever really illustrate the human condition in a foreign country. Misinterpretations, factual inaccuracies, and complete delusions abound. And we Fellows are just as hapless of victims as anyone else. This week in the field three Fellows clear up some common misconceptions and share some real life insights on the day-to-day in an oft-misrepresented country or culture.

Kyrgyzstan – Five Reasons Why I Am Not As Brave As You Might Think
Country: Kyrgyzstan / Fellow: Miranda Phua (KF15)

From talking dogs to civic engagement, Miranda walks us through life in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan- and it’s not what the travel websites have led us to believe.

Hijabs Included: Strong Women Working for Microfinance in Jordan
Country: Jordan / Fellow: Amy Kyleen Lute (KF15)
Amy Kyleen introduces us to two of the many strong women in Jordan and shows us that Hijabs or no, women are fending for themselves just fine.

Mosquito Nets: Subjective Risk.
Country: Sierra Leone / Fellow: Eric Rindal (KF15)
Eric “lifts his mosquito net” and realizes that life- and poverty- in Sierra Leone is much more than living with hunger.

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Updates from the past month:
Instability, Trust, + A New Home
Unsung Heroes, Community Alliances + and Mission Statements Made Reality
Personal Connections, Supply and Demand + A Culinary Excursion
Farewells, Mistaken Identities + Micro-Microfinance
Earth Day, Celebrations + Exceeding Expectations 

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Plus more pictures from the past week:

Kyrgyzstan (Miranda Phau)

Sierra Leone (Eric Rindal)

Jordan (Amy Kyleen Lute)

13 June 2011 at 04:00 8 comments

Happy Earth Day from Kiva Fellows around the Globe!

Compiled by Caree Edson, KF 14, Armenia

One of the unfortunate sight-seeing adventures that you never sign up for when you travel (especially in developing countries) is the unseemly amount of trash cluttering the otherwise beautiful landscapes. In Armenia, it isn’t possible to see the horizon through the smog most days and the streets are covered in cigarette butts and litter. I found no exceptions to this as I inquired from other Kiva Fellows about the dire situation in their countries. Environmental education and reform are simply not a top priority in many countries. But the future of climate change initiatives are not entirely hopeless…

Continue Reading 22 April 2011 at 11:06 3 comments

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

 Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Here at a growing microfinance bank in Jordan, it’s now always about looking forward. Sometimes, it’s about looking back. Tamweelcom started in 1999. In only twelve years, Tamweelcom has gone from a few hundred clients to over 57,000 currently active clients. If you’re a bank, how do you celebrate your longest-standing borrowers and show newer borrowers that they are valued customers?

A party with a big cake and gifts is one way to do it. I tagged along with Tamweelcom staff to visit two branches where the celebrations took place.

All Locally Sourced: The celebratory cake was prepared by a local baker.

Cake > Staff: The cake takes up half the counter. Dana, one of the staff from headquarters who visited the field offices that day, is a member of the Customer Service Center, which fields client calls, complaints, and questions.

Teamwork: Loan officers work together to divvy up the cake and practice their balancing abilities. Loan officers are often from the same communities as the borrowers.

 All Eyes On Deck: Borrowers eye the cake as it’s being served. Over 98% of Tamweelcom’s borrowers are women and many brought their kids to the celebration. 

Pashmina Time: Borrowers for more than 4 years received Pashmina scarves. Borrowers for more than 10 years, almost since the banks inception, received watches as a sign of gratitude from the bank for their long history and the strong example they set for the newer borrowers. Many of these borrowers began with a small loan ($200-600) for a project from home and have since graduated to loans tailored to small businesses (up to $14,000).  

It’s a Work Day After All: Despite all the festivities, work carries on. Hundreds of clients visit the branch offices each day to make repayments or take out loans. Tamweelcom just established a partnership with Zain, Jordan’s biggest telecom company. Clients can now make loan repayments using their mobile phone.

To make a loan so that future borrowers may have something to celebrate, click here.

Alex Silversmith is a Kiva Fellow working in Jordan.

19 April 2011 at 11:02 1 comment

Protests and Promise in Jordan

By Alex Silversmith, KF14, Jordan

As protests carry on and promises continue to be broken in Cairo, one bank that serves the poor in neighboring Jordan has found an innovative way to help make sure that promises are kept.

In Egypt, 18 days of consecutive protest have followed January 25th, when Egyptians demanded President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in response to rising unemployment, insufficient standards of living, and a weak economy. In Jordan, several protests have occurred since January 28th, when Jordanians demanded a new prime minister to better grapple with rising food prices and unemployment.

The goal of microfinance is to provide low-income people with an opportunity to become self-sufficient. If an entrepreneur is able to improve or grow their business as a result of a microloan, they may be able to improve their standard of living and reinvest part of their profit back into the community. A microloan can make self-employment sustainable for entrepreneurs who may not otherwise be able to work, and can allow growing businesses to hire additional staff.  

Souk Ayyadi is an arts and crafts market that sells and advertises products made by Tamweelcom entrepreneurs (i.e., borrowers). Tamweelcom is a microfinance bank in Jordan that offers a variety of loans to entrepreneurs, some of whom produce arts and crafts. Begun in 2007 as a way to help Tamweelcom entrepreneurs market their products to new buyers throughout Jordan, Souk Ayyadi showcases the  products of entrepreneurs in different areas of Jordan and fosters more direct transactions between the entrepreneurs and their customers.  Microloans have helped several participating entrepreneurs to generate higher profits and in at least once case, employ additional members of the community. When some entrepreneurs receive a loan, they make a promise to themselves to repay it and to grow their business. With both a loan and an outlet to sell their product, entrepreneurs may be more likely to keep the promise they made to themselves, and turn that promise into a greater opportunity. 

Some successful Souk Ayyadi participants have been able to make a better living and gainfully employ both themselves and others, providing one small solution to chip away at some of the larger issues driving the protests in Egypt and Jordan. Microfinance is not a panacea for the problems being protested, but it does represent the impact that individual lenders and entrepreneurs can have on people and the world around them. Through Kiva, you can lend to low-income entrepreneurs around the world. To make a loan, click here.

Alex Silversmith is a Kiva Fellow working in Jordan.


11 February 2011 at 09:07 3 comments

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