Posts tagged ‘west timor’

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

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!

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16 September 2009 at 02:59 4 comments

TLM… hotter than an Indonesian rap song!

by Cissy DeLuca, KF8, Indonesia

When most people think of Indonesia, the first places that usually come to mind are Bali and Jakarta. West Timor may be the last place a person associates with Indonesia. West Timor is part of the NTT province, which is the poorest in Indonesia. That means the people of this area need Kiva lenders the most!

Nestled in the bustling metropolis of Kupang is a humble organization called Tanaoba Lais Manekat. Only posting on Kiva since March 2009, they are rapidly becoming the next big thing in microfinance, Kiva and the world!

I made this video to get all you Kiva lenders as pumped on West Timor and TLM as I am!

Cissy Deluca is a proud member of KF8 working in Indonesia with TLM. Please feel free to join their rapidly growing lending team or follow them on twitter!

5 August 2009 at 18:44 7 comments

Thank you, TLM lenders!

Last week I was able to meet some Kiva clients while doing borrower verifications. Shanty, one of the Kiva Coordinators, and I decided to print out their Kiva profiles and show them what the world had seen.

Although they get an explanation of what Kiva is when they sign the client waiver, many TLM clients have no knowledge of the internet. To see a printed out profile with their pictures, along with some of the faces of people who had loaned to them, was very exciting for these clients!

Fret Passu’s Group and Oliftataf 44-B Group handled the printouts as if they were gold and swatted away the children’s hands when they tried to touch it. Members of Sesawi B1 Group and Sesawi A2 Group excitedly pointed each other out in the profile pictures. We left the profiles with them and I know these will be treasured items.

When Fret Passu (pictured below, on right with mustache) saw his profile he said, “Even though I am sitting here in this dirty shirt, people all over the world know who I am!”

Members of Fret Passu’s Group and Oliftataf 44-B Group

Members of Fret Passu’s Group and Oliftataf 44-B Group

Members of Sesawi B1 Group and Sesawi A2 Group

Members of Sesawi B1 Group and Sesawi A2 Group

Thank you to all of the generous Kiva lenders who helped these people acquire their cattle loans!

Cissy DeLuca is working with Tanaoba Lais Manekat Foundation (TLM) in West Timor, Indonesia. Feel free to join our rapidly growing lending team and follow us on twitter!

27 July 2009 at 00:19 5 comments

Give your heart to love, Give your hands to serve

by Cissy DeLuca, KF8 Indonesia

At TLM, there is an informal uniform code for each day of the week. Mondays are for blue shirts, Tuesdays are for orange, Wednesdays we wear green, Thursdays the staff wear the TLM batik and Fridays are for custom made blue and white shirts. On the back of these shirts reads, “Give your heart to love, Give your hands to serve.”

Roni, a TLM loan officer, in the field

Roni, a TLM loan officer, in the field

In previous experiences working in the development sector, I noticed many NGO and government workers often treated villagers in a manner I found less than acceptable.  Nurses would be verbally, and sometimes physically, abusive towards the mothers who came for monthly baby weighing services. Berating them for not forming a proper line and rudely hurrying them along as they removed the carefully chosen outfit they had dressed their baby in for the event. NGO workers would breeze into a village unannounced in their private air-conditioned SUVs acting like their time was more valuable than the community’s time. Rudely expecting the village to scurry for a chair, fresh water, a translator and accommodate all their needs. Development work serves the purpose of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, but these people widened it with their social behavior. In short, these situations broke my heart and greatly discouraged me.

Working with TLM has been a a breath of fresh air and reminded me what development work can, and should, be all about. Their strong Christian affiliation really shows in their demeanor. They treat their clients with dignity, respect and kindness. They are very patient when gathering and explaining information and do not take a condescending approach. (more…)

15 July 2009 at 05:17 7 comments

Kiva Intern to Kiva Fellow

Hello from Indonesia! I am in my first week of my fellowship and wanted to make my presence known on the fellows blog. My name is Cissy and I will be working with Tanaoba Lais Manekat (TLM) in West Timor for the next 12 weeks. Unlike other fellows, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Kiva office in San Francisco for 5 months before my fellowship. I worked on the logistical side of the Kiva Fellows Program under JD and Zack. Like the idea behind Kiva, the actual office is a pretty awesome place. It has a warm atmosphere with lots of inviting couches and friendly people. The staff is a tight knit family committed to the mission of Kiva – to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. They work hard to keep Kiva running smoothly and keep users, like you, engaged.

Ever wonder what goes on at the Kiva office? Well, here is an inside look! I made a little video highlighting my transition from intern to fellow. This video is a tribute to the wonderful Kiva staff who I miss dearly…

Cissy DeLuca is serving as a Kiva Fellow with Tanaoba Lais Manekat (TLM) in Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia. TLM is a new partner that joined Kiva in January and is still in pilot phase. You can view their Kiva loans here!

7 July 2009 at 04:46 9 comments

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