In celebration of International Women's Day this week, Bankers without Borders is proud to highlight one of our female volunteers, Mary Vail, who spent a few weeks in Kenya working closely with a social enterprise that makes clean burning, portable wood and charcoal powered cookstoves, and solar powered lighting solutions for the poor. During her time in Kenya, Mary could not help but be deeply touched by the intense entrepreneurial spirit of Kenya, many of whom are women. In the spirit of the week, we raise our hands in solidarity, in dignity, in encouragement and in respect to all women... Read More
EcoZoom solar powered portable lights provide a power solution for those without access to electricity as well as replacing harmful kerosene lamp
I’ve had a lifelong desire to expand my philanthropic footprint to a developing country. And, while I’ve had a few “remote” endeavors and made financial contributions to international organizations, I still aspired for a “personal feet-on-the-ground encounter”. I was honored when BwB Director Sabrina Quaraishi reached out to offer me a volunteer assignment.
My “bucket list” dream was about to be realized. The assignment was to take on the role of... Read More
In April 2017, Bankers Without Borders® reached out to me with a volunteer opportunity to work with Livelyhoods, a Nairobi-based organization delivering life-changing products and opportunities to communities across Kenya. Having recently opened their sixteenth branch office and on the lookout for ways to expand and scale operations, Livelyhoods was seeking support in their efforts to better understand drivers of branch performance and to define a branch level operating strategy that would ensure sustainability across the organization.
… At first blush, all seemingly straightforward goals,... Read More
I awoke to the shrill horn-blast of an on-coming boat. Traffic of all sorts exists in the Philippines: even out in the water en route to a lake island at 5:46 in the morning. I shook myself to a semi-conscious state and discovered that the world around me had already been wide-awake a long time ago. Bankas, Filipino bamboo boats, charged across the waters carrying students to school, merchants splayed their wares across their ponderous boats, a few elderly men sat by the shores fishing, with a pyramid of silvery fish by their sides as trophies. A surprising jolt of energy and busyness coursed... Read More
Bankers without Borders has welcomed the first wave of summer interns to Grameen Foundation! Summer is a busy and exciting time; the extra support allows our teams, interns included, to tackle challenging problems and explore innovative solutions. Each intern has a special project that will directly support the direction of some programs. Our interns will be working across various teams including Mobile Agriculture, Legal, Development, Marketing, and Monitoring & Evaluation. Throughout the summer they will have the opportunity to meet key stakeholders in the sector and interact with... Read More
Friends…Some final thoughts from my India volunteer assignment, (ok more than a few thoughts, it’s a bit longer than the others)……
India, Grameen Loans, and Unintended Consequences
The advantage of having previously spent valuable time in India, combined with the access to the really smart and insightful people at Varam Capital where I was volunteering, allowed me to partially peel away at the complex onion which is India and Indian society.
In this case, it was interesting to get a range of perspectives and to hear about some of the challenges behind the otherwise huge success of the... Read More
How many Indian women from lower economic classes does it take to change a lightbulb? No…I am not being pejorative! Actually it takes some 15 to 20 eager and entrepreneurial Indian women assembled in a neighborhood borrowing group to change the lightbulb. And in banding together, they truly bring new light to their homes, their children, their communities, to their independence.
Many of you might already be familiar with Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus. Some 20 years ago, he launched this idea in poor neighborhoods of rural Bangladesh where he set out to empower women in... Read More
It's week one and already it seems like an eternity since I have been in the US. Living in India is a mind-boggling experience for a westerner (or should I say “this westerner”, even though I have lived in India before). Each day brings a new experience, usually one that alters the way you view the world or makes you fundamentally question the way you view yourself. It’s that profound.
How can a country with a significant level of poverty be so spiritual in nature even among the many who struggle to make basic ends meet? How can a country that has vital infrastructure needs like reliable... Read More
Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger are proud to announce that we have joined forces to form a single unified organization. Under the banner of Grameen Foundation, our mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without hunger and poverty.
This is more than mere words. It is an unflagging commitment to focus our resources and combined expertise on charting new paths out of poverty with programs that expand financial inclusion, enhance health, strengthen resilience and improve livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.
Through combining the programs,... Read More
While we continue to appreciate our BwB volunteers throughout Pro Bono Week, we wanted to highlight a recent engagement we had involving university students. In the spring of 2016, Bankers without Borders deployed 4 graduate students from Vanderbilt University (Kevin Kelly, Eileen Remley, Emily K. Sheldon, and Sid Raghuraman) to work closely with GhScientific, an organization based in Accra, Ghana, that serves as a hub for people interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
The volunteer consultants were brought in to help GhScientific think through its sustainability... Read More