Blogs from the Field

<< Blogs from the field >>

IIulia in El Salvador, 2013

Turning a Love for Bikes into a Livelihood

I first met Don Yovanni at the FINCA San Salvador Branch when he agreed to participate in a survey that helps FINCA measure its social impact. Don Yovanni is 47-years old, married and the father of three children.

 

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Piper in Guatemala, Summer 2013

Taking Time to Give Back at FINCA Guatemala

With more than 35,000 clients in Guatemala, FINCA is well known here for supporting local entrepreneurs with small loans. Throughout its 28 branches, the staff works diligently to build relationships with their clients in order to help them build successful, sustainable businesses. In addition to all their hard work in the office, employees have gone above and beyond to reach out to those less fortunate and give back to the local community. .

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Paolo in Russia, Summer 2012

Trip to Kazan City and Arsk

I was especially struck by how hard working the loan officers were, and how they seemed at ease talking with each and every client we visited, even though they were chosen from a random sample.

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Veronika in Tajikistan, Summer 2012

The Resilience and Optimism of FINCA Clients

Talking with small entrepreneurs is, without a doubt, my favorite thing to do in Tajikistan. These conversations constantly remind me of the difficult realities faced everyday by the people of this country. Everyone I’ve met so far has experienced serious hardship in their lives… for example; women entrepreneurs often tell me that their husbands have been away for a long time, working in Russia.

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Inspirations from FINCA Fellows 2012

Insirations from the Field

FINCA Fellows 2012 share their inspiring moments while meeting FINCA clients on the field.

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Craig in Haiti, Summer 2012

Finding the heart of Haiti in its backroads

This week I visited the Hinche branch, the smallest one in the country. I enjoy the rural areas because they are noticeably more peaceful and safer than Port-au-Prince, and I especially enjoy them because of the people’s demeanor.

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Michael in Guatemala, Summer 2012

Work with FINCA = Bonita

The most rewarding part of my work is conducting client interviews. Learning first-hand about the cost of life for these entrepreneurs is both humbling and inspirational. One FINCA client who I met on Tuesday was particularly memorable.

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Daniel in Honduras, Summer 2012

Warm Welcome in Honduras

(On) my first day out interviewing I was aided by the great kindness of a single FINCA client. I had picked a particular loan officer's territory to cover which entailed taking a bus about 10 kilometers outside of town on a main road...

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Mahala Pagán in Zambia, Summer 2011

A Brush for Dusty Shoes: A Day in the Life of a FINCA Loan Officer

As we all know, FINCA differs immensely from a commercial bank. A bank would look at FINCA’s borrowers and immediately focus on the risky nature of lending to clients without collateral. FINCA, on the other hand, focuses on the entrepreneurial potential of prospective borrowers, giving them the chance to build assets, savings, a credit rating and much more. But this is not the only thing that sets FINCA apart from other financial institutions.

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Eleanor in Zambia, Summer 2010

Working with Interpreters

While English is Zambia’s national language, most people speak one of the seventy-two tribal languages. We arrived in Lusaka believing that we would be able to communicate with everyone, if not easily, at least a little. That has not been the case.
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Eleanor in Zambia, Summer 2010

First Days in Zambia

Eleanor is a Research Fellow with FINCA’s client assessment team. She is spending ten weeks this summer (2010) performing data collection and analysis with FINCA’s Zambia affiliate. Eleanor is a recent graduate of Pomona College.
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Kate in El Salvador, Summer 2008

The Fire in Your Belly

In a DC hotel’s conference room, two days before leaving for Latin America to begin a summer long fellowship with FINCA International, John Hatch stood at the front of the room and explained to 45 summer research fellows how he began village banking and, more importantly, why. 

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Katelin in Tanzania, Summer 2008

Preparing to Leave for Tanzania

Unlike my other three teammates on Team Tanzania, Donna, Cheng and Matu, I have never been to East Africa. Prior to graduate school I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin (West Africa) where I worked with entrepreneurs to improve their businesses.

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Heather in Guatemala, Summer 2008

Lucky Fellow

After a long week of learning about data analysis, technology troubleshooting, and interview practice, hearing the inspirational story of FINCA’s founder was just incredible. He told us heartbreaking stories of extreme poverty in Latin America ... 

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Richard in Guatemala, Summer 2008

In With the Old, In With the New

The FINCA Fellowship offers much that is familiar and yet promises much that is unfamiliar. I’ll take the old with the new and try to make something that would make FINCA’s donors proud. I just hope it stops raining before I am finished.

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Heath in Nicaragua, Summer 2008

Preparing for Nicaragua

Training is almost over, my bags are packed, and I am counting down the minutes until I leave for Nicaragua. After a challenging first year of graduate studies at American University, I am ready to apply what I have learned and get out in the field and see microfinance in action. 

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Amy in Azerbaijan, Summer 2008

Back to Azerbaijan

Through the FINCA Fellowship, I am returning to Azerbaijan to conduct interviews with microfinance clients to create a profile of client’s social performance based on expenditures.

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