Kiva’s First-Ever Corporate Trip to the Field
Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a lender to meet a borrower? Or a corporate partner to meet a field partner? I had the honor and privilege of being part of Kiva’s first-ever corporate trip to the field – Hewlett-Packard’s Matter to a Million Field Correspondent Trip. This was a three-day event consisting of visits to corporate partner HP’s Costa Rica office, to field partner Fundación Mujer’s office, and to borrowers’ homes. Throughout this trip, representatives from HP, Kiva, Fundación Mujer, and borrowers were all together - visiting, laughing, sharing stories, and learning from each other.
Left to Right: HP Correspondent Christine Smith, Kiva Fellow Kelly Diggins, Fundación Mujer Executive Director Zobeida Moya,
Fundación Mujer Director of Credit Jhonny Mejiaz, Kiva Borrower Lucrecia, HP Correspondent Shrividya Rao,
Kiva Director of Development Karen Little, and HP Social Innovation and Volunteerism Program Manager Karol Zeledon
Back Row: Borrower’s business partner and mother-in-law Maria, Yan Carlos Gonzalez, Jhonny Mejiaz, Karen Little,
Christine Smith, Shrividya Rao, Borrower Lucia, and Borrower’s business partner and sister-in-law Rebeca.
Front Row: Karol Zeledon and Kelly Diggins
Back Row: Borrower Estebana Del Carmen, Kelly Diggins, Borrower Sandra María, Borrower Cindy,
Borrower Leonilia, and Shrividya Rao. Front Row: Karen Little, Karol Zeledon, Zobeida Moya, and Christine Smith
We also spoke with Ligia Calvo, who learned of Fundación Mujer in 1985 when she took out her first loan to support her small business of selling jewelry and purses. She started selling these items door-to-door, then out of her car, and then from a small shop in her home. As her business grew, she was able to save money to pay for her law school.
Three years ago, Ligia joined Fundación Mujer’s Board of Directors. When we asked her about the impact of microfinance, especially among women, Ligia responded that microfinance is very important as it gives opportunity to people who have dreams but limited financial resources. By taking out loans, Ligia learned how to save and invest money. She believes that women are brave and can break down barriers on their own. Ligia happily expressed, “Now I have both my profession and my business on the side. I am proud to be on the Board of Fundación Mujer.”
Ligia Calvo, Fundación Mujer Board Member
Left to Right: Yan Carlos Gonzalez, Jhonny Mejiaz, Borrower’s mother Esperanza, Karol Zeledon,
Borrower Tatiana, Christine Smith, Kelly Diggins, Shrividya Rao, and Karen Little
“This was the first time ever Kiva welcomed HP employees to meet with their field partner and the borrowers. I didn’t know what to expect or how to converse considering the language barrier. But the HP colleagues, and Kelly, the Kiva fellow made sure there was no words unheard. I met some incredible and talented women who have grown stronger and independent making their struggle into a success story. I was touched by their warmth, grit and never let go attitude. Through their stories I cried, laughed, bonded and realized to be thankful for what we have. Fundación Mujer’s staff was incredible in accommodating our schedule. Their zeal to support the women in need making their lives better was amazing. I am thankful to all who made this possible for me and inspiring me.” – Shrividya Rao, HP Correspondent
Left to Right: Shrividya Rao, Karol Zeledon, Kelly Diggins, Borrower Deyanira, Jhonny Mejiaz,
Borrower Ivette, and Christine Smith