What about the men?

July 5, 2009

An interesting issue was raised this week when I mentioned to a friend that more than  two thirds of microfinance clients around the world are women. My friend posed the question: how are men reacting to this?


As a Kiva Fellow and a Kiva Lender, one of the things I value most about microfinance is it’s ability to raise the status of women.


At ‘BPW Patan’, the Kiva partner in Nepal where I am currently based, 100% of the borrowers are women. Although Kiva supports lending to men and women alike, at present more than 80% of the Kiva borrowers are women. The Grameen Bank have a 94% women borrower base and the United Nations estimates that roughly 76% of all microfinance clients around the world are women.

President of BPW Patan, Urmila Shrestha, meeting a group of new borrowers who have never before had access to Kiva loans

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Making it work, against all the odds

June 5, 2009

This is my first work related blog entry as a Kiva Fellow. You can view this blog entry, along with many other Kiva Fellow’s blog entries at the Kiva blog website: http://fellowsblog.kiva.org/

I will be updating this blog over the weekend with some less work orientated stories of my ‘Diddi’, the ferocious Putali at the orphanage and how the numerous village visits have gone.

Walking down Ring Road on Monday (the main road that encompasses the cities of Kathmandu and Patan) it felt as though there had been a mass evacuation and I was the only one who didn’t receive the memo. On a road that is usually so congested with traffic that I allow myself five minutes extra travel time in order to cross it, there was not a single vehicle to be seen and only a scattering of people here and there. The fruit sellers that usually ‘Namaste’ me on my walk into town had vanished and the usual strip of corner shops had pulled down their shutters. Tyre barricades burnt around the city and, as usual, a number of people who got in the way were attacked by protesters. A city-wide ‘bandh’ (a public protest) had been announced and Nepal closed shop for the day.

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Seven Chakras Away From Spiritual Enlightenment

May 29, 2009

The view of my neighbourhood, Dobhighat Chowk from my patio

The view of my neighbourhood from my patio

It is the morning of my fourth day living in Dobhighat Chowk, a suburb on the outskirts of Patan, a neighbouring city of Kathmandu in Nepal. I have just returned from walking my bilingual dog (called Putali meaning butterfly) in the field behind my house. Sadly, after attempting to learn Nepali while I was in London, Putali seems to know more words than me.

Holy Cows hanging out in Patan

Holy cows hanging out in Patan


Putali and I have had a number of disagreements since I arrived. The nightly sleeping arrangements have been a recurring issue as she insists on sleeping on my bed as close to my face as possible, and has the capacity to snore more loudly than a grown man. Daily dog walks are also a bit of an ordeal. This morning, only hours after the latest downpour from the monsoon rains, we were chased by two holy cows. While I was trying to run away, Putali was pulling towards the cows and I lost my balance and slipped on a puddle of mud. I returned home just now to be greeted by the cleaning lady whose first words were “I clean you”.

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