Archive for August, 2009

recession-proof and life at my MFI

I just finished my first post on the Kiva Fellows Blog and I encourage you all to become regular followers! Click here to read it.

I titled this post recession-proof because it really has become clear to me that micro-economies are much more resilient than macro-economies. To clarify: when 5 or 6 companies hold the reins to all industries they can manufacture widespread poverty when they ‘cut costs.’ America finds itself at the whim of profit driven corporations that are too big to fail.

Chiclayo does not. A region brimming with micro-entrepreneurs survives on slim margins and thrives in competition. Fear does not overwhelm the marketplace, but rather the will to live and make a better life for one’s children are the driving economic forces here. These businesses are too small to fail — their families depend on them. And microfinance institutions like EDPYME Alternativa enable businesses and consumers to have the credit lines they need to get ahead, not to get overwhelmed.

On EDPYME Alternativa — this is not a crunchy hipster organization at all. Working in the context of a highly efficient, highly organized, highly regulated institution with a highly devoted staff (11 hour days plus half days on Saturday) will define the next three months of my life. During the mornings I go out with Manuel the Kiva Assistant on site visits and the afternoons are consumed by strategizing and troubleshooting with Carlos the Kiva Coordinator. Directors and Managers keep engaging me in fantastic discussions and next week I will be presenting to all of them. My life has certainly changed in the last week!

I posted some pictures in the slideshow below; click on them for a description.

More to come next week!

08.28.09 – recession proof and musings on chiclayo

filling in the details

Yesterday at 6 am I officially said farewell to 16 teenagers, an incredible co-leader and my month of adventures and community service with Putney Student Travel in Ecuador.  The trip was a success in every aspect: group dynamics, community impact and adventurous jungle,mountain, cloud forest experiences. But with details set and the path cleared, my Kiva Fellowship will soon begin.

On Monday August 24th I will begin working with EDPYME Alternativa (EA) based in Chiclayo. Officially I am a ‘pioneer’ fellow working with a ‘pilot’ MFI – in other words, EA has never worked with Kiva before and my responsibilities will be split between back office capacitation and front line training and interviewing. In the office I will be explaining Kiva in more detail in addition to acting as a conduit for changing Kiva policies and needs. In the field I will be working with the loan officers and interviewing new borrowers.

For more information on Peru, Chiclayo and EA please see the “About Peru” page.

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