The Wise Women of Eldoret

Everyone in the charity world is throwing around the term “microfinance” as the way to help change a poor community. Microfinance principles are based on investments made in the community through small, or micro loans, and then letting the community help themselves through the creation of jobs. Microfinance is something CRF has been dabbling in for the past 5 years, and in those 5 years we have learned what types of projects work the best. It is especially tough in Africa where the loan default rate is very high in microfinance banking. To be successful in Africa, one has to understand the culture of money in Africa. Money is not saved in Africa, it is spent. If you have money… Read more »

A Mixed Blessing

I have often wondered where the term, “a mixed blessing” came from. It seems counter to what a blessing really is. How could there be negative attachments to blessings? Maybe “negative” is too strong a word, maybe I can use the word, “challenge” to describe the situation. This is the time of year when school starts in Kenya and other countries in Africa. The Kenyan school year starts in January and ends sometime in November. The kids go to school year-round, and only have a big block of time off around Christmas. With the new school year, we receive requests to help get school fees paid for our secondary school students. This is much like high school for the U.S…. Read more »

What a Difference a Sponsor Makes!

Sometimes I get questions from sponsors whether their monthly contribution really makes a difference in helping these kids. I saw for myself the difference in a very compelling way today in El Salvador. Our CRF coordinator for El Salvador, Miguel Arguera and the Coordinator for all of Latin America, Esteban Valle, took me to the community of Jucuapa in the eastern side of the country. The 2+ hour drive from San Salvador was beautiful. The volcanos, valleys, lakes and forests were lovely. There were street vendors selling the local specialties…fruits, vegetables, coconuts, sugar cane, and even iguanas! Our goal in Jucuapa was to meet a group of kids hoping to find sponsorship in the near future. We were going to… Read more »

Bienvenidos a Centroamérica!

Larry Wu, Director of Field Operations, and Milton Jones, CRF CEO, are visiting CRF programs in Central America this week.  Here is Larry’s first blog post from the trip.  Keep checking back for more! Flying into Tegucigalpa airport, I was thinking to myself how much the mountains around the city looked like the mountains around Kisumu, Kenya. I am familiar with traveling in Kenya, and am equally unfamiliar with travel in Central America. But the similarities don’t end with the topography. It FEELS like I am in a familiar place, meeting familiar people, and hearing familiar stories. Everywhere CRF goes, it seems that poor people live similar lives.

What’s in Store for 2012?

This is an article from CRF’s March newsletter.  Sign up for our eNewsletter here! There is a popular book out called When Helping Hurts. Although it has some good material, I don’t really care for the title. I wish someone would write a book called When Helping Helps. Some economists from Yale and Columbia recently wrote a book called More Than Good Intentions. They studied charitable works around the world and found that some were good and others were not. Their conclusion was to find one that is helping and support it immensely. And don’t support the ones that aren’t doing a good job. I think that is a good analysis. There are so many good efforts that are really helping… Read more »