Development Economics

Mass Weddings for the Poor

The following was written for the Kiva Fellows blog.  Read the original here. This job is unique, in that it offers an endless supply of intellectual satisfaction.  Every day, I learn something new about something interesting.  For the time being, what interests me most is microfinance.  My knowledge of microfinance prior to Kiva could be described as purely academic.  Experiencing it firsthand has been rewarding.  In particular, I like understanding the details of execution, the challenges faced by the institution, and generally how a microfinance institution works.  The amount of information to digest is enormous, so I try to focus on understanding a few NWTF (Negros Women for Tomorrow) programs that I think are in my wheelhouse.  The downside is that I end up overlooking many fascinating and unambiguously positive programs.  The other day my coworkers were telling me about the upcoming Foundation day at one of the branches.  Every year, each branch that meets a certain threshold of repayment and performance can have a Foundation Day party with upwards of 2,000 attendees.  I was supposed to go to one in Cauyaun on Saturday, but I got food poisoning the day before and was bedridden.  At some of the Foundation Day celebrations, NWTF holds a mass wedding.  This is one of those programs that I find really interesting for different reasons.  Let me explain why. (more…)