Posts tagged ‘West Africa’
Tim gives his first impressions of how a Micro-Finance Institution interacts with the local community it serves, gets to know the personalities of the Dakar suburb of Yoff and even tries for an early sneaky appearance on national TV!
I began writing this blog on a scrap piece of paper just north of the Burkinabé/Ghanaian border. I had spent my morning walking across the border carrying a 40-pound pack and subsequently spending far too much money on a taxi into the nearest town. My Kiva Fellowship had ended a week and a half earlier, and I was sitting in a hot, dirty hotel room with a concrete floor, grimy walls, and inconsistent electricity. I was desperate for entertainment. I had finished the only book I brought on this three-week post-fellowship excursion, my computer was lifeless without the electricity to charge the battery, and my broken iPod seemed to be mocking me with its inaccessible entertainment. I was entirely alone. So, I took some time to process the last four and a half months.
Benin is a country not often in the news. When I was a Kiva Fellow placed there, I’d come to appreciate this. It meant we didn’t have the political instability of Togo, the violence of Nigeria, or the food shortages of Niger. While Benin still had many flaws, it was stable compared to its neighbors. This gave it hope for the future – hope for growth and international investment. (more…)
In Fon, Alidé means “a path always exists (for the very poor).” This is a touching sentiment matched by the equally strong social mission of the Kiva field partner that bears its name. During my time as the Kiva Fellow placed with Alidé, I’ve been impressed with the institution’s passion and perseverance. When I meet borrowers, I consistently see illiterate women who are able to send their children to school and praise Alidé for their success. It’s easy to start thinking, “wow, there’s really something to this!”
But then there are also the times when I step back (more…)
I like my bank in the US. The staff is nice, they have a lot of ATMs in New York City, they once gave me a fruit basket (long story)… But I would never think about getting together with other Wachovia customers to toast how much we like banking there. Yet that’s exactly what a number of Alidé (Kiva’s partner in Benin) clients do regularly. (more…)