70 more loans to women, working in agriculture

Zaripakhon in Kyrgyzstan

Would you even know where Kyrgyzstan is? Leave alone, been there? And would you even have thought to finance an entrepreneur there? Ever?

Well we did. On all three accounts: “Knew”, “Visited”, and “Financed”…

We just financed our 1,666th loan (that is one thousands six hundred and sixtysixthththth) loan with our Kiva micro financing team.

The loan went to Zaripakhon, 52 years and mother of three children. She is a cattle farmer since 2000 selling milk and dairy products. To order further develop her business, Zaripakhon requested a loan buy more livestock.

Zaripakhon was one of the 70 women from around the world we allocated our newest microfinance loans to. This loan was financed by a project on AidJobs, which raised over US$2,000 of funds.

Here are the latest micro finance loans we allocated, bringing our team total to almost US$60,000!

Start 2012 well!

Since we kicked off our Kiva microfinance project “Change Starts Here” in November 2008, our Kiva Lending Team has already funded over 1,500 projects, for a total value of US$54,000. Check out our project score card on our Have Impact! blog.

In 2011, I had a wide range of sponsors for the blogs I manage. After deducting the running costs for my blogs, I want to invest the left-over funds in our microfinance project “Change Starts Here” . Seems like a good way to start 2012 off on a good footing!

So, from January 1 to 15, I will run a promotion campaign for AidJobs, my newest blog, while helping to boost our micro finance projects. How? Pretty simple:

  • For every comment left on this blogpost, I will donate US$5.
    Just leave your name and where you live. Add any wishes you have for a better world in 2012.
  • For every new Twitter follower on @AidJobs, I will donate US$5.
    (we’re starting at 147 followers)
  • For every new “like” on our AidJobs Facebook page, I will donate US$5.
    (we’re starting at 22 likes)
  • For every new Email subscription, I will donate US$5.
    (we’re starting at 4 subscriptions)

Again, the end date is midnight January 15, and all funds go to our Kiva micro finance projects. A good way to start 2012, no?

Happy New Year everyone!



Horn of Africa: Want to have impact? Help us spreading the message!

dead cattle in Horn of Africa
After 17 years in the field, working in front line humanitarian emergency response, of which 15 years in food aid relief, I took a sabbatical break. Taking a distance allowed me to discover an other side of the humanitarian work, something more longer term, but with no less impact: agricultural development.

Over the past sabbatical year, I had the opportunity to work with a team at CGIAR, mostly on social media related projects. That work brought me to the field, talking to farmers about ways they adapt (or don’t) to the economic and climatic changes, their needs, their wishes,… I wrote about it, made videos, published pictures.. I realized the impact even small things can have, on their daily lives. I talked to researchers, to extension agents, to suppliers… In short, I got hooked.

At this moment, I have the opportunity to work with CGIAR on an event taking place in Nairobi on Sept 1st, highlighting the importance of longer term agricultural research to augment the resilience of farmers confronted with a rapidly changing world, specifically related to the current drought (again) in the Horn of Africa.

The work of the CGIAR is not well known to the outside world. Having worked in food aid for the better part of my professional life, the CGIAR was certainly an unknown to me. It is part of my job is to make it known. And this is where you all can help, even though the effort is still at its early beginning (isn’t it great to be part of something from the start?).

We have set up a repository (in the form of a blog), in which I post simple examples of agricultural research the CGIAR is doing, particularly in the Horn, leading up to the Sept 1 event.

At the same time, we are “populating” a brand Twitter account @cgiarconsortium , using the hashtag #Ag4HoA (Agriculture for the Horn of Africa) for all tweets related to agricultural development. We started publishing development projects related to the Horn, but after Sept 1, we will broaden to other projects the CGIAR does, as time goes by.

On Sept 1st (followed by another event on Sept 2nd and 3rd), I will be live blogging/tweeting from the event, using the same Twitter account.

Now where can you help?

Just as I called out to the social media community for the Addis Sharefair, I am calling out to you now. I am looking for people active in the social media community to help spreading our worthwhile message. You don’t have to be related to development or agricultural research, but any reach you have within your own social community, can help.

I am looking for people who are willing to retweet, reblog, post our articles on Facebook, Google+, in short “make some social media noise”. I have assembled a good list of people in an email list already, whom I update daily of the new events and posts we are broadcasting.

Are you willing to help? Leave a comment, or email me via peter (at) theroadtothehorizon (dot) org and I will include you on our mailing list.

I hope with this effort, we can do some good, make a change, and maybe contribute our small bit to make sure droughts and floods no longer turn into famine.

Maybe one day, we won’t need to put up pictures of cattle starving due to a drought. Maybe one day, we will be able to publish pictures of thriving crops and well-fed cows, even though the area has been hit by yet another drought, or a flood.

New loans to more than 100 women over the whole world

Gakii Mwenda, Kiva lender from Kenya

Gakii Mwenda, one of our Kiva lenders from Kenya

Gakii Mwenda lives in the Nkubu area of Central Kenya. She has been a farmer for 13 years. Gakii has been producing french beans, potatoes and milk. She sells her produce on the local market.

Gakii has made a loan request to Kiva so she could buy dairy goats and construct a barn on her farm. She intends to expand her dairy goat farming and keep cows in the future. She says she will fully rely on the farming income for the upkeep of her children.

When I read Gakii’s request, it made me think of many Kenya’s women I met during my visit last year. Most of them, like Emily manage their household, their farm and their family entirely by themselves. Many are widows, or their husbands work in the cities, only coming home a couple of times per year.

In honour of the strong women in this world, today I allocated 52 new microfinance loans via Kiva. Some of these loans go to individual women, some are group loans.

With these new loans, we reached over 100 women. They live all over the world: Mexico, Bolivia, Philippines, Uganda, Mongolia, Peru, the DRC, Ecuador, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Kenya, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Cambodia. 18 countries.. did I count that well?

They needed help in setting up or expanding their retail business, buy seeds or fishlings, invest in new farming equipment or stocks.

It is amazing to realize, that from my desk in Italy, I can make a difference in the lives of over 100 women in 18 countries… Why don’t you join our Kiva team, and allocate your microfinance loan too?

Here is the list of new loans I allocated today:

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