Spring 2012 Team Members
Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The spring 2012 student teams include Technology and Communications; Marketing and Fundraising; Accounting, Program Audits and Enterprise Development; and Finance and Risk Assessment.
Marketing and Fund Raising: Tiffany Wong, Melissa Gomez, Princy Abraham, Stephanie Pereira Lima*
Technology and Communications: Luis Colon, Boryana Yordanova, Anastasia Zavgorodni*, Aiden Eun Gee Min, Nirveeta Mahabir
Finance and Risk Assessment: Megan Lane, Danai Shirihuru, Tung Hoang, Nathan Holmes, Matthew Ricardo*
Accounting, Program Audits and Enterprise Development: Marie M. St Jean*, Ana Paula Morales Delgado, Tyler Deng, Chi Le, Hua Yong Tuck Chen
Log # 1
By Marie M. St Jean
Before I came into St John’s University I always wanted to find an organization where I can help people when it comes to providing them with the monetary needs in order to run a business. Speaking from a personal point of view my mom is one of those people relying on a loan to run their business. And most of the time depending on how good business is she is able to pay her loan but at other times she is not. Due to the economic turmoil going on in Haiti she has not been able to continue on with her business. As a result I have become more interested in micro financing.
When I got to St John’s I heard of the GLOBE program but I thought it was a club so I spent most of my time here looking for it especially at the activities fair but it was not until last semester that I realized it was an academic program. So instead of pursuing a minor in French I decided to take the GLOBE class and so far I must say that it’s the best decision that I have made in picking my classes. Although it is a three hour night class the amount of information that we learn and the activities that we do makes the class very interesting and if one is interested in philanthropy projects like I am the class become more fun.
So far in class we are learning about some of the pioneers in microfinance more specifically Muhammad Yunus. He is a Bangladeshi economist and also the founder of Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank is an institution that provides small loans to the less fortunate businesspeople, the loans possess no collateral, and he does this in an effort to help them be financially self-sufficient. As a professor he felt that he was not using his talents to its full capacity, his story teaches us that we need to be more concerned about the people around us and that we ought to be more companionate. Not in the sense of just giving back but also actually helping others move up the ladder with the information that we learn, either in school or by experience.
One thing that I found to be interesting in Yunus’s book Banker to the Poor was when he realized that forty-two families were in misery due to the lack of twenty-seven dollars. At that point if he was any regular person he would have just given them the money and hoped that they would use it for a good cause but he went above and beyond. He went by the notion that one should teach the horse how to get the water instead of getting water for him. And his effort of getting banks to give out loans to the “unbankables”, as he called those who did not have creditworthiness, illustrates his persistence in bringing about change in those people’s lives and allowing them to get out of poverty. Which is one that I think that us as a society should try to do, that instead of just giving out donations we can also use our talents and experiences to bring about change in someone else’s life.
Log # 1
By Megan Lane
I know what poverty is. I see the poor sleeping on benches in Penn Station and asking for money in Port Authority. Sometimes I give them a dollar and sometimes I buy them a sandwich. Other times I walk right by, as so many of us do, pretending they don’t even exist. Poverty is not my problem to solve. Poverty is a problem of the poor, right?
I think Americans, as well as the rest of the developed world, have a skewed view of poverty. We have done nothing to deserve our privileged births in a country where we are afforded so many opportunities. We find it hard to imagine the adverse conditions and hardships that people face in many parts of the world. Like us, they have done nothing to deserve their upbringing in such unfortunate conditions. While poverty seems foreign, it is something we should be deeply concerned about. Poverty is not a problem of the poor, it is a problem of humanity.
I’ve always liked doing service and became interested in GLOBE in order to help the neediest of the needy. Our business classes teach us how to make money, maximize shareholder profits, and run a successful corporation. Where does social justice fit into the equation? I joined GLOBE because I am positive that the two do not need to be at odds, as many people assume, but can exist in harmony and collaboration. GLOBE is a way to use our business skills to help those who need us the most.
The people we help through GLOBE would otherwise be stuck in an endless cycle of poverty. They want to lift themselves up but do not have the opportunities to do so. By providing them with loans, we allow them to start their own businesses, giving them the ability to support themselves for the rest of their lives. As Jeffrey Sachs describes in his book The End of Poverty, we help lift our borrowers onto the bottom rung of the development ladder, so that from there they can climb on their own.
The Spring 2012 GLOBE managers all have one thing in common: we want to save the world. We may not eradicate poverty as a whole, but we will certainly make a difference in the lives of the individuals we lend to. If poverty is a problem of humanity, then GLOBE is a way of becoming human.
Log # 1
By Tiffany Wong
Last semester my dean mentioned to me that I was eligible to apply for GLOBE. At that moment I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to apply or not. So I decided to speak to my friend who was a former GLOBE manager from the Spring 2011 Semester. She encouraged me to join and stressed what a great experience it would be. But, I still had no idea what microfinance was. So after speaking to my friend, I really began to think that maybe I should find out more information about this program. I decided to attend the information session, which was able to provide me with a deeper understanding of what GLOBE and microfinance actually was. From that moment I knew that I wanted to be a part of this program.
After going through the application and interview processes, I realized that I wanted to do this not just because of the hands on experience I would gain but for a personal reason as well. I come from a family who lived in poverty and fortunately most of my family was able to pull themselves out of it. But I felt that this program could have helped them. I knew that not everyone is as fortunate as my family and there were a lot of people still living in poverty. I needed to help them.
It was made very clear to me that this program was not to be taken lightly. It was going to be a lot of work and it would take a lot of commitment. Honestly, this frightened me for a while and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. But after reading the book by Nicolas Kristof, “Half the Sky”, I realized that no commitment would be too big. I needed to do this because of how this program and microfinance can change someone’s lives. We were not only helping them to better themselves, we were also giving them an opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality. Reading about those women in the book made me so sad. And it really affected me to the point where I couldn’t sleep at night. I wondered how people could be so evil and do such hurtful things to someone else. It didn’t make any sense to me. As I read I began to think that if given a chance, microfinance could’ve helped any of these women escape the nightmares that they were living in.
It’s only been 3 weeks, but I am so happy that I am a part of this program. I feel such joy every time I walk into that classroom every Tuesday because I know that us being there is helping to change the life of another person. Being a part of GLOBE gave me a sense of belonging. There are four separate teams, but I feel like we are all a family. My group is amazing and I must admit I was a little nervous at first. I was afraid that maybe we would bump heads. But I am so impressed with how easily I was able to communicate with them. Because of the experience that I have gained from GLOBE so far, I have recently signed up to volunteer at a food pantry where I will be handing out goods to the homeless. GLOBE has really opened my eyes up to the reality of poverty and I want to do whatever I can to help those in need.
As the semester goes on I am really looking forward to: building meaningful relationships with my fellow GLOBE managers, making a difference in our borrower’s lives, obtaining a better understanding of microfinance, and doing whatever it is I can do to make this GLOBE semester a very successful one.
Log # 1
By Boryana Yordanova
A few months ago I went to do some shopping in the city and I found a T-shirt at UniQlo with the following sign: “The only place where poverty should be is in museums.” – Muhammad Yunus. I was quite impressed by this quote but the name Muhammad Yunus did not mean anything to me. So as soon as I got home, I opened my laptop and researched it. I started reading and I caught myself going from one web site to another for three hours. It was incredibly interesting to learn about Muhammad Yunus and his beliefs, the Grameen Bank, what microfinance is and to read about the stories of the hundreds of people that were able to escape out of poverty. This, therefore, is one of the many reasons why I decided to join GLOBE.
And what exactly is GLOBE? This is what St. John’s students were asking me when they saw the GLOBE table at the Activities Fair on Monday. I responded that GLOBE is an academic program in St. John’s University that provides micro loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. However, GLOBE is so much more than that. It has been only two weeks since our first meeting but for this short period of time we have established a strong entity. It is not just a program, GLOBE is a family sharing one ultimate goal: to reach out to the poor and give them a chance to survive, grow their potentials and engage in productive activities. For me, GLOBE is a way to change the world. I am excited that I have the opportunity to apply all the theory and concepts that I have been learning in the classroom and help people escape the never-ending cycle of poverty. It is that simple.
In the first week, the class was divided into different teams and each team had to establish their overall objectives. I am a part of the IT team and our objectives are many and bold but definitely reachable. I was interested in this team because one of our responsibilities is to spread the word about GLOBE and get people to become more involved in the program. I believe that our team will do a wonderful job maintaining the Social Media platforms, take pictures and videos of every event that we host, and most of all, we will make sure that students on campus and people around the GLOBE get familiar with the program.
Reading the assigned books for the class made me think a lot about the existing inequality in the world. One of the things that shocked me the most is the fact that half of the world’s population lives on $2 per day and 1 billion live on less than a dollar. What can you possibly buy for $2? Do you buy food, do you buy clothes and shoes for your children, do you pay for their education? Many people when they think of poverty, they think of not having an iPhone or not being able to buy a car or an apartment or just not having a sufficient amount of money. But while reading Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus I realized that living in poverty in the developing countries means being deprived of basic requirements needed for survival. Yunus stresses the importance of access to health care, education, electricity, shelter, and all these things that we take for granted. It is heartbreaking to admit that poverty is of such a great scale. Therefore, I am dedicated to give all my best to raise as much money as possible to help countless of people.
Log # 2
By Tyler Deng
I first heard of GLOBE my freshman year when I asked Dean Hughes what some of the special academic programs in Tobin and I remember her elaborating on GLOBE, EIRP, and The Student Management Fund. At that time, I didn’t understand what the other focused on but GLOBE appealed to me and I remember telling her that when I was eligible to apply, I would and make the most of the opportunity if I were accepted. Two years later I was finally in the position where I could apply and during this interval, I learned a lot more about microfinance, especially from Kiva. The interaction I had with Kiva as well as the presentation I saw from the past GLOBE semester (Fall 2011), immediately drew me in since it wasn’t focused on charity, but more so on empowering others to break the cycle of poverty. This sense of unity in assisting marginalized people is extremely unique; not too many institutions offer such a hands on approach in doing some social good. Poverty is all around us yet many choose to ignore it, others have preconceived notions about it, and some try everyday to look outside the box and face poverty head on. Not everyone is ready to dedicate so much effort in trying to balance out social responsibility and human dignity, but programs like GLOBE and Kiva are titans of this industry.
With even an intermediate understanding of economics and finance, anyone could venture into this field, but it’s not just knowledge that an individual needs. Mitigating poverty requires solid contribution from individuals who want to make that difference, people who are willing to go the extra step to enter a field that is inherently all theoretical and still yearn to do more. This is where GLOBE kicks in; it’s an enlightening experience where every week we learn something new. The collaboration amongst teams leads to exposure of specified departments all working to achieve the same goals which is great feature due to the different responsibilities.
It sounds like a cliché, but I really had no idea what was in store for us; everything I’ve had a vague idea about was mere speculation but after our initial meeting, we hit the ground running. It didn’t take any time to sink in that we’re actually making a difference, these are peoples’ livelihoods that we are working to improve and the gravity of this program isn’t just your typical out of classroom experience. I can honestly say, only a handful of my friends and family know what microfinance is and there is even a smaller amount of people who care about it, which motivates me apply whatever I can contribute to the team and the program overall. I have a soft spot for programs that achieve social responsibility and an even softer spot for individuals who do it for the sake of doing it, not for a payday and not for fame. I’ve found all of that in a few short weeks in working with my team in GLOBE. It’s truly a learning experience and I’m enthused and lucky to be a part of this process. The first few weeks have been very foundational and it’s almost like the first few days of easing into a new job or internship except that each class is constantly set on ‘go’. As a lasting note, the texts have been extremely instrumental into the transition for GLOBE meetings, not only are the texts extremely relevant, but it’s a warm feeling to bring Muhammad Yunus’s vision into fruition.
Log # 2
By Danai Shirihuru
Coming into this program I was aware that it was an academic program that would give me some real world experience, but had no idea how eye-opening the experience would be for me personally, especially so early on. Having spent over 18 years living in a third world country plagued by poverty and growing up in a home where I was taught to give back, I have never been sheltered from the reality that there are millions of people without access to the basic human necessities, but the truth is in my 3 years away I became removed from that reality. In my first GLOBE class we watched a short video in which there were people living in third world countries, plagued by diseases caused by a lack of basic health care. Seeing the statistics on diseases that are more or less non-existent within first world countries that are existent within third world countries left me shaken. Pictures of one disease in particular stuck with me, leprosy. I felt chills and unable to look at the screen as the video played. I wondered how exactly we could let a disease that can be cured with basic medical treatment upon early diagnosis have a place in a world with advancing technology.
There is a quote by Muhammad Yunus that greatly touched me, “Microcredit is a program for putting homelessness and destitution in a museum, so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long.” How will we explain to our children and future generations that we have allowed the distance between those living in poverty and those living in excess to grow so far? We go about our lives every day and claim we are aware, but at the same time we have allowed fellow human beings to live in complete poverty, plagued by diseases, and with very little resources. If I am so aware, what is it that I am doing to help out?
A fellow class member when asked what poverty was referred to it as foreign. So often people think of poverty as too big, too far away, and not being able to do anything about it, as I felt on being so far away from home, that to have this opportunity to reach people in remote places and change lives through the Globe program is such a unique one regardless of who you are. To me GLOBE has stopped being just an academic program providing real world experience, but it has also become a place for personal growth and introspection.
Log # 2
By Stephanie Pereira Lima
Readings, Logs, Events, oh my! We have so much to do and so much to learn! I will admit though, I am not a complete stranger to the GLOBE program; I was first introduced to GLOBE by a close friend in 2010 therefore I had a very general understanding of the class. After having read over the syllabus, two weeks ago, I could already foresee how wonderful and yet intensive this course was going to be. All reading assignments, events to attend, websites to visit, and topics to research are listed in detail---and I love it! Although we are short one person (from the typical five-person group) I see it as an advantage. We are all very hands on and proactive with our ideas, and after having listed our objectives for the spring 2012 semester I know that we all have great plans to succeed. We fully intend to bring awareness to the St. John’s community of the GLOBE program as well as fund raise as much as possible to benefit our donors.
Our first reading assignment was to read Chapter 3 “Back in Chittagong” in Dr. Muhammad Yunnus’ book, Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle against World Poverty. This book is a personal memoir on Dr. Yunnus’ journey towards dedicating his life to eradicating world poverty. His decision to assist the poor, especially the landless poor, is brought to fruition once he returns to his home country of Bangladesh, after having studied in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. He noticed that most scholars analyzed why people were poor but not how to end the continuous and vicious cycle of poverty. This realization is what most impressed me because he was able to successfully recognize the problem, shed light on the situation, and create a change. This was his “call to action”. Like Dr. Yunnus, we, the GLOBE Managers at St. John’s University, are also doing our part in responsibly creating a positive change. Naturally, on a much smaller scale yet nonetheless significant enough. I am extremely excited to see how the GLOBE course will develop our understanding of microfinance and its affect on reducing global poverty.
Log # 2
By Nirveeta Mahabir
“I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference.” ― Ellen Goodman.
GLOBE represents great change in the world. Introduced by an aspiring member of the faculty at St. John’s University, Dr. Linda Sama, GLOBE was able to come alive! It is by far one of the best courses at St. John’s. It has provided me the opportunity to directly contribute to changing the lives of those living in poverty and simultaneously put my skills to practice while engaging in a learning experience.
“Changing the world, one loan at a time!” This is what GLOBE represents. I am honored to be a GLOBE manager for the Spring 2012!
The readings recommended for this course is life changing. It has already impacted on my life greatly. I am especially awed by readings from one of the suggested books, “Half the Sky”, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Page by page, I shed tears on the hardships that people encounter because of their lack of resources. Education is the key towards changing their lives and they are very limited to even an opportunity like this. I plan not only to shed tears when encountered with such stories, but more importantly to take action towards making a change.
Dr. Sama enlightened us with a great response and insight about someone living in poverty. When that person was asked to rate his/her happiness on a scale of 1-10, the response was 10. In addition, even though they are living in poverty they also consider themselves as rich, and indeed they are, in culture and values etc. I believe that we all have something to learn from this, at times when faced with small challenges, we immediately look down upon our own lives thinking that life is unfair but if we really reflect on the opportunities that we are given as opposed to these people and the great attitude that they have towards life through the most difficult times, we can really learn from them and appreciate what we have.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the fact that I am very grateful that such a program like GLOBE is available for students at St. Johns. The efforts that previous GLOBE managers put into this program has definitely impacted on the lives of people and as the semester begin to progress I hope to also assist greatly in making in lasting change in their lives as well.
Log # 3
By Ana Morales
Last class, we went to the Quad Cinemas to watch “Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus.” I really enjoyed watching this documentary, especially because it gave me a greater insight of what we are doing and helping others across the globe. I really admire all the great efforts of Yunus and his followers, since they have impacted many people in underdeveloped countries that need the most help.
From the documentary, there were some ideas we can apply to GLOBE, especially because I will be helping out a bit with Enterprise Development. Being able to see their different ways of making a living has inspired me to share the ideas with other communities. Of course, not all of the resources are available everywhere, but some may apply. Some possible ideas are, growing trees, irrigation systems, buying/selling goats and cows, providing clean water, and building houses. More research will be needed, but this is a great start.
It would be amazing to have a similar documentary for GLOBE, to get a better feeling of what it would be living with the borrowers and spending time with their families. In my culture, getting to know people is a basic step before making a business. Perhaps, something similar would be great for our program, although distance and resources are scarce.
Every week, GLOBE changes me in one way or another. After watching the documentary, I have decided that after graduation, I want to go to underdeveloped countries in Africa and serve people living in poverty for a month. I know that I do not have to go far to help, but I would love to be there to volunteer, adding a different experience and perspective to my life. I feel satisfied when I know I am helping others and I would like to continue doing so in many ways.
Log # 3
By Tung Hoang
“Here we were talking about economic development, about investing billions of dollars in various programs, and I could see it wasn't billions of dollars people needed right away. “ – Muhammad Yunus
Last week we spent our class time watching the movie Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus at the Quad cinema. It was an especially memorable and insightful experience. Although I have learned much about microfinance after the first few weeks in GLOBE, to see the actual story of how Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank helped the Bonsai people allowed me to see micro-lending in a much closer perspective – working on the field. Every step of the journey to help the poor was described in the movie, from the setting up a branch of Grameen Bank to issuing loans to empowering people to run successful businesses. One can see how people at Grameen Bank quietly change the world every day. They do not travel in executive cars, have lunch with heads of states or talk about investing billions of dollars. Rather, they ride their old bikes on the dirt road of the rural area, speak with poor farmers and issue loans that are less than a couple hundred dollars. But that is exactly what the poor needed. I was shocked to hear that the first micro-loans that Muhammad issued valued at $27 to 42 women.
Apparently, the amount of money is not the most crucial factor in fighting poverty. It is how that money is used. We see billions of dollars being dedicated to charity every year. Nonetheless, if not used well, that money would be a waste. Microfinance flourishes since it not only gives money to needy people but also empowers them with the skills needed to run a business and ultimately to change their lives. Obviously microfinance cannot eradicate poverty on its own, as there are things that require expensive investment such as infrastructure projects to change the living conditions in high poverty area. However, if well administered, microfinance can be at the forefront of the fight against poverty.
Besides watching the movie, I also attended a GLOBE fundraising at the St John’s Alumni Speed Networking event. Through speaking with some alumni, I found that they take interest in GLOBE and the concept of helping the poor through microfinance. Some of them even knew about GLOBE already. Although we didn’t raise a large sum of money (due to the limited number of alumni who attended the event), we were able to promote the message of GLOBE. I believe attending events such as this would be helpful in increasing the awareness of the program.
Log # 3
By Princy Ann Abraham
Last Thursday February 17, 2012 I participated in the TCB Speed Networking event where several GLOBE students sold promotional items and explained the GLOBE phenomena to students and Tobin College of Business alumni. GLOBE raised about $60 through items such as t-shirts, water bottles and bottle openers. While several individuals already knew about our program, others had no idea what GLOBE was.
The actual transfer of information took place when a couple of GLOBE students sat down to enjoy the appetizers at the event. Alumni that were participating in the networking sat down at our table assuming that we too were participating in the speed networking. Once they sat down they told us a bit about what they did for a living and then asked us why we were all in GLOBE t-shirts. I found that we were able to talk to individuals and connect with them better while we were sitting down with them as opposed to standing behind a table full of promotional items we were trying to sell.
I also realized that people at the event were more likely to support our organization after they received adequate information and became genuinely interested in supporting us. After I spoke in depth to several alumni about GLOBE (while sitting at the speed networking table) they offered a small donation without me having to ask them. We made more than half of our profit away from the table in 1 hour than we did standing at the promotional table for 3 hours.
The beauty of GLOBE is that the mission is so strong and the effects are so direct that people can easily become a supporter if they are informed properly and clearly.
After watching the film “Bonsai People” last Tuesday February 14th I was really inspired to raise as much money as possible this semester. Our marketing team has been working diligently to make this goal a reality. We have been working better together and have supported each other’s ideas. Our ideas to have a new promotional item, an international buffet, a bake sale and a grant proposal are all in an effort to raise as much funds as possible to make a difference in the lives of our borrowers.
As we learned in our reading this past week in “The Microfinance Handbook” by Joanna Ledgerwood, in the short term the money we provide to borrowers will not instantly raise their income. Instead, they will protect what people already have and reduce their vulnerability of falling back into poverty. Like we learned in class today people are not moving across the poverty line immediately after they receive a loan. Research and evidence shows that small changes can easily be taken away by outside forces such as political and environmental changes.
Log # 3
By Anastasia Zavgorodni
We began this week with a group Valentine’s Day date to the movies to watch Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, a film explaining Yunus’ implementation of Grameen Bank. The film was incredibly touching, as it gives a face and a story to those being helped by Grameen Bank. It also informed us of the intricacy that goes into establishing a new bank of its kind in a particular region. It was great to see the everyday lives of the women entrepreneurs as they all take different paths of profit toward repaying the loans, while all still working as a community. It is especially inspirational to hear the story of the woman who has benefitted so much from her loans that she was able to make her way into her community’s government. This is the perfect personification of Grameen Bank’s goals: working toward developing a “shift in people’s habits.” Women are the main beneficiaries of micro lending, and seeing that they are moving up the ranks bodes well in decreasing the poverty in developing countries. Additionally, I was surprised to see that a multinational corporation such as Danone actually works hand-in-hand with Grameen Bank to provide much-needed food for the sake of aide and not for profit. Danone is an example of how a capitalist corporation can and must have humanitarian goals for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Our assigned reading for the week, and specifically my section, discussed the importance of bringing the developing Southern world to the same developmental level as its counterpart in the North. Not only this, rather than merely separating the two, and only ensuring that the South learns from the mistakes of the North, we must learn how to make sustainable development equal for both halves. I like the analogy Yunus made for the need of the world to realize that we are on one ship, and if this ship sinks, we all go down. Additionally, one point particularly stood out to me- the fact that the commercialized behavior of the North is not condemned but rather imitated and praised. The South sees its immersion into capitalism as beneficial, whereas this should instead be discouraged. It is somewhat sad that the culture of the North is what deemed as desirable, when it is clear that is has many shortcomings and plain faults. The South should not vie to imitate the North, but rather to create a new progressive system of sustainability so that they may this time serve as an example. Yunus is correct in noting that such a change requires reducing the corruption in government and ultimately creating a more effective system of global supervision for the sake of both humanity and the environment.
Log # 4
By Hua Yong Jack Chen
As it approached Spring Break, I was glad to have some rest. However, as I was watching NY1, something occurred to me. The news channel always had a segment called New Yorker of the Week, and it talks about how people in this city made a difference in their communities. The New Yorker of the Week was a 16-year-old high school student who was a sneaker addict. However, what makes him unique is that he decided to create a charitable organization, develop a line of sneakers, and sell them to people. For every one sneaker bought, another one will be given to a child that needs sneakers. What were his motivating factors? He remembers seeing a picture of a barefoot child in Haiti after the earthquake that occurred there. Instead of forgetting about it, he decided to share his love of sneakers with those who don’t have the financial means to purchase one.
How does this relate to Microfinance? Strictly speaking, nothing. What stuck out to me was that he reminded me of Muhammad Yunus. While Yunus wasn’t a sneaker fanatic, he was an economist. When he heard of the famine problem that was facing his country, he decided to do something about it. One day, he noticed an unused well. When he asked the farmers about it, they didn’t want to use the well due to financial reasons. Eventually, he persuaded the farmers to plant crops without fear of any losses. In the end, Yunus lost 13,000 takka. However, the fact that the farmers were able to get along and plant crops to make a living motivated him to continue helping the area around him.
What did I learn from all this? I learned that in order to develop something special, you have to have a passion in it. For the high school student, it was his love of sneakers. For Muhammad Yunus, it was his love of economics. They may have had different appeals, but for both of them sharing the passion of what they love enabled them to produce and promote a thriving social business. It reminded me that when people are passionate about a subject, what they do won’t feel like work. Instead, it will be a positive reinforcement to do what they desire, to show other people what they love, and to promote something that they care about. I believe that there are many other people like that New Yorker and Yunus, and for some of these people all they need is access to credit. If these people are able to prosper through creating a business that they enjoy doing, then I believe that we should support them all the way.
By Matthew Ricardo
This week in GLOBE was very research intensive because of the mid-term report that is due. I found myself quite fascinated about the many different statistics and coverage given to the different geographical areas in which microfinance touches, and those that have a potential for a microfinance presence. The most surprising to me is to see the amount of resources the World Bank has devoted in creating a very informative and comprehensive database that logs a significant amount of information with respect to the nations and regions around the world. This resource base from which I was able to formulate the preliminary analysis of the two countries the finance team is now researching for our microloan program: Peru and Haiti. When I came across this information I began to connect it with some of the objectives that the finance team had placed in the beginning of the course. The most relevant objective being the one we set for trying to establish a more uniform approach to evaluating borrowers for a loan.
There is one fact that continues to remain, which is that even though there is an understanding that we would like to look for a mix of both quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluating a borrower, some of the statistical measures that we can choose to utilize may not be so applicable to borrowers who do not fit the evaluation criteria. However, I feel that The World Bank has closed a bit of the margin by supplying this information. I feel more confident now; more then ever before, that we can begin to meet this objective that we set out. With the principal behind this objective in mind, I would say that simply having this statistical information on hand is a solid foundation to work with. The idea behind establishing this criteria is that the future class of GLOBE will be able to work with an established chain of reasoning for loan application, perhaps that may even take it a step further and refine some of the measures themselves. What I do know is that when I came to this course and still remember the times in which I was told that the initial couple of weeks might be slow because of lack of direction. We set out an objective to help future students find a direction quicker.
I will end with an example as to how I think this information may be useful. I noticed a section on the World Bank website that supplied a rating system on the ease of opening a business in a certain country. What better information for future finance team members to use in making borrower considerations. This, coupled with the other information supplied about the current structure of the economy can lead to some very well thought and reinforced analysis. I hope that by the time that this course ends the current finance team can at least establish a basis from which others can build upon. I feel that we are on to something if we follow this path.
Log # 4
By Melissa Gomez
“Make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."- Luke 12:44, the Bible.
I chose this quote from the bible because it caught my eye. The term ‘make purses of ourselves’ remained with me. When I think of a purse, I think of ‘safety’. It is where we hold and carry our prized possessions. Purses are strong, durable, useful, and convenient and (of course fashionable) bags that we entrust will hold our valuable possessions. Our treasure. Our personality, ideas, thoughts and our character on the whole are all our treasures. We as GLOBE, a microfinance organization are acting as handbags to those living in poverty. We are accessories to the poor. We assist them in improving their lives and also give them the means, the courage and the ability to maintain them. We allow them to realize their treasure. I love that I can be part of an organization that examines and analyzes every possible aspect of poverty and make efforts to combat it by using our generated ideas and business knowledge. We are in the middle of the semester and we are still inspired and are still giving it our all. Not only are we bettering the lives of other people, we are bettering ourselves. We are implementing our skills in creative ways, learning new ones, gaining a wider perspective on culture and most of all we are acting as purses to the poor & also to each other. We are strong thinkers and doers, we are useful and convenient as we brain storm and strategize plans to achieve our team’s goals and build GLOBE as a whole. All these adjectives are what we look for in a purse-, which we are proving to be. So let us continue to do what we do as a team and even if things do not go as expected such as fund raising plans, events and so on, I am happy to know that I still put in energy and I was able to be a ‘purse’ to someone.
Log # 4
By Luis Colon
We’ve made it mid way through the semester; the objectives are many but the task is possible. The team has been working daily to increase the bar on every goal, big or small. Likes, impressions, articles, quotes, videos, everything we find helps us see how much this industry is growing. We’ve been spreading GLOBE to further reaches within St. John’s. As every semester passes, as every GLOBE class comes and goes, the growth continues.
Our main objective is to spread this knowledge, to spread microfinance further than the limits of St. John’s University. Every networking event and social media platform helps us to get one step further in spreading this movement not only in our communities but globally. Our ambition has become our motivation. Every story we research and find shows us the lives of individuals who have this same ambition to become pioneers and heroes in their communities.
Some of the stories we find on our own are amazing, stories that make you believe that everything is possible people who bring themselves with the help of microfinance from sleeping in tin houses or streets to owning and thriving businesses. Dr. Sama enlightened us with a very similar story that gave me new insight into the attitude of these successful individuals. Dr. Sama spoke of a person who was asked to rate his/her happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. The person responded 10; even though they are living in poverty they believed that they were rich, in life. Many of these individuals take the chance some succeed and some fail.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." -Theodore Roosevelt
Against all odds, the great attitude and appreciation these people have towards opportunities and the fortunate things they have, can teach us all a lesson in seeing and analyzing what we have in our lives and what we can do with the opportunities we are given every day.
Log # 5
By Tyler Deng
For our reading this week, we had to return to a reading regarding the qualities of successful social entrepreneurs. It reminded me a lot about my time in Panama when I did the Panama Plunge. It was a great experience helping out the St. John’s community and the local community in Panama. The local communities were made of entrepreneurs, mainly fisherman and farmers. We were doing service there as per our conduct with Vincentian beliefs so we had slight interaction with several of them. Many of them were very willing to do anything it took to succeed in the field of their small businesses. I took that memory with me when I left Panama but I’ve been aching to go back ever since.
Social entrepreneurialism is not an easy aspect, it takes a lot to put away your self-esteem and be willing to correct yourself. I’ve noticed a lot of social entrepreneurs are very humble and open to changes; this is perfect for those who are unable to see the changes they need. When we were at our service sites, many of them didn’t speak English but we had a translator that worked at the service center who helped us out. She told us about their strong work ethics and how they were willing to put so much on their shoulders, not for fame, but for survival. I have a great understanding of companies that support social entrepreneurship, including Starbucks. In fact, I’ve seen several companies include their trademarks in Panama, which was a good sign but I kind of thought it was a sham for some companies to do so, yes they support this community but besides funneling some money through some company and not being hands on.
It was a good memory thinking about my short trip to Panama. After reading about social entrepreneurialism, it made me think about all the qualities that people need to be a social entrepreneur and how many people lack these qualities.
Log # 5
By Megan Lane
It’s amazing to see how relevant GLOBE is to my other course work. I recently discussed GLOBE as part of my English class, where we were reading A Palace in the Old Village by Tahar Ben Jelloun. In the first few chapters, I came across the following quotes:
“[He] no longer knew whether this racism sprang primarily from the color of their skin or from extreme poverty.”
“Skin color and poverty ganged up easily to reject a human being whose sole crime was not being white and rich.”
“Poverty, insecurity, and overcrowding left no room for dialogue or tolerance.”
I immediately thought of Mohammad Yunus and microfinance. Yunus said that “poverty is a threat to peace.” The reading in my English class supports this claim in telling the story of a Moroccan in France dealing with poverty, racism, and intolerance. I always say that people are good at realizing and criticizing problems, but fail when it comes to offering realistic solutions. Microfinance, as described by Yunus, would be an effective remedy to the issues described by Jelloun.
In my Commercial Banking class, we discussed the “Five C’s” of assessing credit: character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions. I immediately thought of how this applied to GLOBE. We assess character through the recommendations of the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters provide us with a numerical rating from 1-5, with 1 being a strong recommendation, 3 being a moderate recommendation, and 5 being a weak recommendation. We believe that this is one of the most important pieces of information on the loan application, as it gives us information about the applicant’s reputation in her community. We assess capacity through a number of questions. Is this a new business or an existing business that the applicant wishes to expand upon? If it is an existing business, how much does it earn? Are there similar businesses in the area? What is the business plan? What is the applicant’s current economic condition and what are cultural and societal issues that may affect her ability to repay this loan? Capital is assessed through total current income, current earnings from the existing business, outside sources of income (such as stipends from the government), and training, education, or skills that increase the chance of success for the business. Collateral is always a problem for us, as we have social objectives. Often, our borrowers don’t have a source of collateral, and if they do own something, such as a home, it would be detrimental to our goals to seize it in the event of default. In GLOBE, we remove this “C” and replace it with an “N” for need. We want to reach the poorest of the poor, helping those with few opportunities and no access to credit. Conditions include a specified repayment period and interest fee. A sixth “C,” as identified by Rose Hudgins, is control. This is something that our team, along with the accounting team, is working on right now. We are trying to develop and implement a better system of tracking our outstanding loans in order to better assess GLOBE’s impact on reducing poverty and identify the qualities that make borrowers successful.
The more I learn in GLOBE, the more relevant it becomes to my own life. Not only is GLOBE helping people in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty, but it is helping me to understand the concepts that I am learning in my other business courses. I remember once, when I was telling someone about the many community service projects that I have participated in, I was asked, “If you like to help people so much, why are you going into business?” GLOBE proves that effective business principles and social objectives do not have to be at odds. It is teaching me about justice and risk assessment at once, confirming that social goals and economic goals can, and do, exist in harmony.
Log # 5
By Tiffany Wong
Today was our first information session of the semester, which helps us to recruit members for next semester. Honestly, I’m a bit nervous and I hope that more people show up for the second info session. Only 3 people showed up today. But hearing Dr. Sama talk about GLOBE to those 3 students and to hear how passionate she felt about it was so inspiring. She believed in something and did something about it. It inspired me to work harder towards our objectives for GLOBE as well as some personal goals. As a class we aren’t only working towards helping budding entrepreneurs, but we are working towards making Dr. Sama’s vision become an even greater reality than it already is.
Last week, my team and I met with Scott VanDeusen. Last semester the marketing team began working on the phone campaign. So this meeting with Scott was basically to figure out how and when we were to continue this. We did come up with great ideas from this meeting. I personally have a better understanding of the phone campaign and I’m excited to see how it goes.
Scott was such a great help! He went above and beyond, and even offered to help us out with possibly getting some raffle prizes for our upcoming raffles. As a team, we are still looking at a few dates when we will hopefully host the phone campaign. It is all in the works to happen very soon! My biggest concern at this moment is raising awareness to potential future GLOBE members. I think this class is such a great opportunity and you learn so much about yourself. You learn things that you didn’t even know before. I’ve learned that I am patient and that I need to do more things to help others. My previous efforts to make a difference can be greatly improved. I’ve also learned that I need to change as a person. I need to speak up and use my voice. I need to stop thinking that I may not be heard. Even if that is the case, making a little noise may bring attention from someone. If it’s just one person, it’s still a start.
As the semester goes on, I’ve found that what I really love about GLOBE is that we’re not just giving people money, but we are helping them find a way to maintain a stable life through providing them with opportunities in which they are helping themselves. We are helping to educate them/their children through our efforts. After reading the readings from class, I’ve found that education is the key!! GLOBE has opened my eyes to how important education really is. I’m a lot more grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given. And to be graduating from college in 2 months is such a blessing, seeing that so many people aren’t as fortunate. It would really sadden me to see other students miss out on such a great eye opening opportunity just because they weren’t aware of it, which is sometimes always the case. GLOBE is a life changing program and I hope that we can help others see that as well!
Log # 5
By Nirveeta Mahabir
The last class meeting after Spring break, all the groups presented their mid-term progress reports. Half the semester is done and all the teams are making great progress. I enjoyed all of the presentations a lot and the chance to be given all updated information from the teams.
Firstly, with regards to the finance team, they are doing a great job of researching possible countries to issue our loans. One of the countries of their choosing which was of particular interest to me was Haiti; due to the poverty in this country I think this is a great idea. I believe our loans can make a great difference in this country. I hope that we have access to a daughter that is willing to help us make this possible.
Secondly, the marketing team has also done a lot. I look forward to the next bake sale that is on the 15th and hope that we can raise a considerable amount of money at this sale. The marketing team has also planned an international buffet sale to display and sell some of the meals that reflects our diverse culture in the class. This in a way represents GLOBE, we are not just focused in one country for giving a loan, our efforts are widespread and we aim to get potential clients from various developing countries globally.
Thirdly, I really liked the internal audit performed by the Accounting Team. They really provided a lot of useful and beneficial information to all the other teams. The changes made to the Lexicon and the use of Microsoft Access to easily keep track of the loans, the clients, the number of children they have etc. basically all the relevant data needed is definitely a very clever way of accessing all of the information and hence keeping track of the loan applicants. This will be very beneficial to GLOBE.
Finally, the IT Team has been working diligently on promoting GLOBE via the social media through accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. We have also resurrected all the past GLOBE accounts such as the BlogSpot and Linked In account and have been updating and managing these accounts. Another focus of our team is to communicate with one of the daughters of charity via Skype so that she can speak to the entire class, for this to happen we would be creating a tutorial that shows the steps as simple as possible for the daughter to understand so that she would be able to access Skype and hence connect with all GLOBE managers.
In conclusion, as the semester continues to progress, I firmly believe that the GLOBE managers of Spring 2012 would be able to accomplish all of the set goals and most importantly issue more loans and hence assist in changing the lives of others.
Log # 6
By Chi Le
Inspired by the topic of microfinance, which is what GLOBE focuses on; I have been searching about how microfinance works in my country, Vietnam. From the information that I found, microfinance is not very popular in Vietnam because of a few major reasons. There are many restrictions on microfinance in Vietnam. This is surprising since the mission of microfinance is to fight the battle of poverty and inequality. First, microfinance organizations in Vietnam have a much smaller scale than other countries in the world. Second, the government has strictly regulated the development of microloans. As a result, small-scale organizations are not allowed to work legally, give out loans to people and the money used for lending must be higher than a certain amount. Clearly, the government tends to constrain the establishment of unreliable organizations but this, on the other hand, is a barrier of the development of microfinance.
It is said that many organizations from abroad see Vietnam as a target to expand microfinance. However, by the difficulties they have to face when penetrating this country continues to make this a problem. Besides, it is understood that the mission of microfinance is to help the poor and also to get the loans repaid so that the organizations will be able to succeed and develop. Otherwise, the small-scale limits their ability to stand by themselves and this is the reason why some of them cannot last for a long time. Microfinance has not been really developed in the country of Vietnam due to the government restrictions. With that being said, GLOBE is able to get around these government restrictions because our program works with the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters of Charity are our field agents who help to find entrepreneurs who need loans and cannot get them from the bank. Since GLOBE does not have to worry about the government restrictions, which makes our three loans in Vietnam very successful and beneficial to our borrowers. Recently the government has been more open and created more favorable conditions for microfinance to grow after realizing its value and potential.
Log # 6
By Danai Shirihuru
As social businesses have increased in popularity, and attracted a lot of positivity with institutions such as Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, Social businesses have also attracted a lot of negative attention. There have been allegations of microfinance institutions charging interest rates north of 80%, taking advantage of those living in poverty and fabricated default rates. Due to my experiences in GLOBE however I believe the good by far outweighs the bad.
This week our lecture began with a quote by Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka, “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry."
Throughout the semester there have been multiple mentions of the negativity surrounding social businesses, but this quote sums up the reasons I believe in the purpose of GLOBE. Reading this quote and being a manager of a social business, I am proud to know that I am an enabler of revolution. Social businesses such as GLOBE are not simply a way to get by for the day, or for the year, it is a pioneering and innovative program setting up to ease the tension on poverty.
While there have been many documented cons to micro financing, the benefits of micro finance institutions definitely outweigh the costs, especially for a micro finance institution such as GLOBE. The reach of GLOBE is on a small scale; however the effects are long term and positive. As a manager on the Finance and Risk Assessment team, one of the things that motivates me to support an applicant, along many other things of course is the number of children our borrowers have. Our most recent loan applicant Elizabeth is borrowing USD583, and is supporting her eight children. The amount she is borrowing may seem very little in America, but with this money she is able to educate her eight children, and support them over a period of 8 months and hopefully break the cycle of poverty.
Along with helping entrepreneurs, being a manager of GLOBE, we are able to gain an education. We are also able to spread awareness to other students who may not necessarily have considered the idea of going into social business due to the negativity surrounding social businesses.
Log # 6
By Stephanie Pereira Lima
Last week, the Marketing and Fundraising Team was assigned to read Chapter 8, entitled Broadening the Marketplace, in “Creating a World without Poverty” by Dr. Yunnus. The closing section of this chapter consists of Muhammad Yunus’ predictions for the future of social business as a whole. He proposes that more institutions will create appropriate systems to support the infrastructure of social businesses. I most certainly agree with this, however, he continues to propose a somewhat radical idea, in my opinion. In the emergence of social businesses he puts forth a plan in creating a “social” stock market. Consequently, new banks (or rather social banks) to support such businesses will be established as well as a social DOW index. Yunus states that it will function in the exact fashion of current global stock markets: investors buy and sell shares of a business. However, in the social stock market, long-term value of each share is measured by the overall benefits or good consequences.
Although I am rather optimistic, this idea is quite a stretch. I would not go as far as to say that it is completely impossible but it will take some time to be fully in effect. Perhaps if a highly respected intergovernmental agency such as the United Nations or World Bank went about creating such a system then it would, arguably, catch on. I fully agree with Muhammad Yunus in that the younger generations would be the target market, especially in the early stages of its creation. Furthermore, this would be an extremely time-consuming investment. In our current world, as long as monetary profit is prioritized, decentralizing from such a goal into one based upon social development seems far-fetched. To create a globally overreaching stock market, the capitalistic mindset should be overturned within developing communities. As put by Yunnus, we must seek “life rich in meaning beyond profit.”
Regarding our group work, we are making progress in reaching our goals. I feel that with each event we are periodically escalating our visibility on campus, which goes beyond fundraising. However I am somewhat concerned about our number one goal: raising $2,500 dollars. Nevertheless, I am most excited for our Friends of GLOBE Mixer as I see attendance for that event to be extremely high. This is going to be a great opportunity to bring the GLOBE family together, friends of friends, and families of friends for such a great cause.
Log # 6
By Boryana Yordanova
It has been such a successful week for GLOBE! Our second Bake Sale took place on Thursday in Marillac, where with the support of St. John’s students, professors and staff, we were able to raise $301.24. Earlier that day the IT team met with Asia Hauter, who is the Communication Manager for Tobin College of Business and is in charge of maintaining GLOBE’s website. Our team had previously discussed some ideas about improving the website and we were very happy to share them with Asia. We decided to create a timeline, which would represent the history of GLOBE in a nutshell, starting from the beginning and showing all big events and successes of the program such as the first approved loan, Muhammad Yunus’ visit to St. John’s University, Bake Sales, and big events. The idea is to make the website more visionary and interesting for the audience. In addition, we will create E-boards for the upcoming events that will be showed on the screens in Marillac and DAC, which will help us better promote GLOBE on campus. Another thing the IT team came up with is to post the team’s objectives on the website under the name of the particular team, providing additional information about what the tasks of the teams are. We will update all pictures on the website and replace them with newer ones. Since we want to make the website more visionary, we will add pictures of each promotional item so that people can actually see the items and choose whichever they like. It will make the page more appealing and hopefully attract more people. And eventually raise more money from donations. Meanwhile, the IT team has been posting inspiration quotes, articles and videos on all of GLOBE social media platforms. I could not help but notice the increase in likes and activity on the Facebook page. People like and share the inspirational quotes because they can easily relate to them and they find it to be a great way to start your day. I hope that they also watch the videos and articles about microfinance because there are some very moving stories that are worth seeing. I often think about this complicated world that we live in and it is amazing how the power of social businesses can really change the world we live in today and make it a better place. All we need to do is spread the word, raise awareness, and help those in need. It is a simple solution to this complicated problem.
Another exciting experience for GLOBE was today’s class when students from Florida’s Eckerd College came to visit and learn more about the program. Dr. Brenton came in as a guest speaker to talk about Geographic Informational Systems and Poverty Mapping. What is poverty mapping? It can be defined as a powerful tool that provides detailed description of the distribution of poverty and inequality within a country, village, community or neighborhood. An advantage of poverty mapping is that it can be used when trying to identify poor areas and finding the causes that led to deficiency of resources in these areas. However, some may ask how accurate is the data used for poverty mapping or are those people that need the most help, living in very poor, remote areas are even included in the data? Unfortunately they are hard to reach due to their isolated way of life but taking a few samples of the population can still be helpful when targeting poor areas. Poverty mapping is not only useful for policy makers when designing ways of alleviating poverty but it is also a great way to visionary show reality on a map. Yes, people like statistics and other credible source of information but they cannot realize how drastic the issue of poverty is in certain countries just by reading a simple statistic. That is when the visual picture comes in hand to express the seriousness of the problem. I even noticed the reaction of students in the class today after seeing some of the maps shown by Dr. Brenton. Images can be very powerful and may have greater impact than words, thus the IT team has decided to incorporate Poverty Mapping in our final presentation. We hope to influence our audience, the same way we were moved by the images.
Log # 7
By Marie M. St Jean
What it takes to make a difference?
A friend of mine once told me that those who make a difference are not any different from us, average people. However, I beg to differ because there are those who set out to make a difference because they have the passion within them to enact changes wherever they go and therefore leading others to walk on the same path as them. Most people are oblivious to the society that they live in; they tend to be more comfortable with their surroundings and are not receptive to change. I came to realize that the difference between the person who makes a difference and the average person is the average person sets out on a mission and little obstacles that come his or her way usually easily discourage him or her. Perhaps it is a money situation or not enough volunteers that stops their dream from coming true in the end they will most likely give up; where as the ones who actually succeed in making a difference, whether if it is on a local or national scale, does not give up, their desire runs deep. One of my favorite quotes has come to be a proverb that I often think about in my times of struggle “when it is dark you can see the stars”.
I usually follow the teaching that whatever happens in our lives we have to know that we will never stay in it, which is why the words “you will get THROUGH it” means that whatever the situation is, it’s not meant for you to get stuck in it. It is meant for you to go through it and learn from your experiences, although it is sometimes hard but I try to look at the bigger picture when I’m going through my obstacles. I came across an individual this week while doing some research looking for people who are making change around the world. His name is Greg Mortenson authors of Tones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and many more bestselling books his contributions to advancing education has caused the survival of a lot of individuals. One would say that he is somewhat like Muhammad Yunus. Greg Mortenson is a zealous and determined individual. Had Mortenson not been passionate about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, he would have never been able to achieve his goal. Had he been an ordinary person, one who is not receptive to change he would have never gone through the trouble to build what is now over a hundred schools for both boys and girls. His schools are geared more towards girls because he believes in educating young girls since they are the future.
Greg Mortenson said a quote along the lines of “when you teach a boy you teach an individual but when you teach a girl you teach a whole community” in other words what he meant by that quote was that it is in a girls nature to nurture others with what they learn one example that he gave was a girl teaching her mother how to read. Whereas a boy, it’s in their nature to work so therefore they don’t have time to nurture and teach others. Through Mr. Mortenson I learned that I must never say “no” or “maybe” as an answer when it comes to a dream that I want to make a reality. I must strive for the best, whatever it is that I may be doing. To learn from Martin Luther King’s idea, I may not see the results tomorrow but at least I am planting the seeds today and that is all that matters.
Log # 7
By Nathan Holmes
What will the program of GLOBE look like in 15 years? When struggling for topics to write about in my journal entry today I started to wonder whether people ten years from now will also be struggling with what to write about in their journals. Obviously we’re all going to have super computers implanted in our brains so we’re going to be able to do the journal entries instantaneously so that wouldn’t be an issue, but that then led me to wonder what the GLOBE program itself would look like in 15 years.
Obviously, if we just project outwards I could easily see a GLOBE program that has borrowers spread out across Asia, Africa, South America, North America, the Caribbean, and The Pacific Islands. The finance team would have to field loan applications in the hundreds every semester because we have so many connections with Daughters of Charity spread out across the globe that have had good experience with our program. The finance team is already on track to have a more complete loan tracking system and a more standard process for reviewing applications for loans so I could easily see finance teams in the future up to the task of reviewing a large amount of applications. In the future the I.T. Team would be reaching out to thousands of GLOBE followers with every message they send out to the world. In the future Accounting Team would be in charge of a GLOBE account that has plenty of money to lend out to all worthy loan applicants. In the future the Marketing Team would be able to raise enough money every semester to make over fifty loans through well-established fundraising channels.
All of this could easily happen if GLOBE simply expands as it currently is. In my opinion that probably won’t happen and we shouldn’t be satisfied with it. GLOBE is capable of so much more. In the coming years I believe that technological innovation will allow us to start to bridge the gap with the field. The Daughters of Charity are an incredibly invaluable resource and we shouldn’t attempt to over burden the loan applicants by requiring constant communication, but being able to communicate with the loan applicants even once would be an incredible experience. I believe this is very possible in the future. Next I think in the future we will be able to move beyond simply microcredit. With the innovations brought about by mobile banking I believe we may be able to go into micro insurance or another similar field. St. John’s University has a very good actuarial science program and I believe with closer contact with the field we could create a fifth team in charge of insurance. Finally I believe that different schools all around the country could imitate the GLOBE program. We could become the Grameen Bank of University run microfinance programs. I believe all of this and much more is within our reach if we continue working towards new sets of goals every semester and continuing to be innovative.
Log # 7
By Tiffany Wong
This semester continues to fly! There are only a few more weeks left until I graduate from St. John’s and I am extremely grateful that I was able to be a part of GLOBE. GLOBE is one of the most fulfilling programs that I am pleased to say I was a part of. I’ve learned so much about myself as well as others. It was genuinely an eye opening experience. But we’re not done just yet; we still have a few more events planned for the rest of the semester!
This week is our Phone Campaign. GLOBE managers will be participating in the campaign starting on Monday, March 26, 2012. Some managers will also be participating on Tuesday and others on Thursday. Depending on how comfortable people may feel during this week, we will begin planning the second week of the campaign. I’m really nervous about the phone campaign because I’m afraid that I may mess up and fumble on my words. But it is something that must be done and I will do my best! Even though I’m nervous, I’m a little excited to see how it turns out. I’ve never participated in a phone campaign before, but this will definitely be a great experience for GLOBE and its current managers.
What makes me feel less frightened by the phone campaign is the fact that I’m completely comfortable when it comes to talking about GLOBE. I think that GLOBE is such a wonderful program and I honestly love talking about it. Because I am passionate about GLOBE and what it stands for, I’m afraid I may take it personal if someone was to, for example, hang up on me. But I will try my hardest not to.
Also, organizing this phone campaign was a learning experience. While writing the script, I realized that even though GLOBE may not be as well known as it should be it still has done a lot to change many people’s lives. We took a look at some of the current and past borrowers, and there were quite a handful. I knew that GLOBE currently has 50 borrowers spread amongst developing countries, but actually seeing the profiles and reading them more in depth has shown me that even though 50 may seem like a small number compared to Grameen Bank, it is still a relatively large number. GLOBE has done a lot over the 7 semesters and I hope that it only continues to do well! We were also able to meet and work with great people, such as Scott and Kristy. They are doing so much to help us with our planned events this semester. I am really grateful for what they’ve done and I’m excited to continue working with them!
The past few weeks have been extremely stressful, but I’m hoping that all of our hard work pays off and we are able to gain more awareness for GLOBE through our upcoming events!
Log # 7
By Boryana Yordanova
GLOBE is more than a class, program, acronym, term, definition; it is even more than a family. It has become a way of life for me. All of my friends know that I participate in the program and know what GLOBE stands for because that is all I talk about. Whenever they see me on my laptop, they sarcastically ask me “Are you working on GLOBE stuff again?” It may sound funny but I cannot leave my house without my GLOBE bracelets. My team and I have gotten along very well from the beginning of the semester and even though each of us has its own separate task, we are all working together towards the same goals – identifying the technology needs for GLOBE in order to spread awareness easier and in a more efficient manner.
Within the first couple times we met, we became very close and had to quickly devise our team objectives that we will follow as a guideline for the rest of the semester. I think we have been doing a great job so far with meeting our objectives. I am very satisfied with the design of GLOBE’s website because it is coming out exactly the way we wanted it – more visionary and more memorable. Nirveeta has been amazing with organizing the web design and communicating with Asia. We still have a lot of work though; I am in the process of sending pictures of the promotional items, as well as adding few more pictures of the class itself. I have scheduled various updates and reminders on Facebook and Twitter about the upcoming Information Session and International Buffet. While at work yesterday, I distributed 25 flyers all over the resident halls and I hope we have a good turnout of the events. Another thing that I have been working on is creating a template for the final presentation so that we all look professional. However, I am trying to think of a more unique and artistic design, rather than something plain and simple. Aiden will start shooting videos of the different teams, which he will later edit and create an advertisement for GLOBE. Luis is currently putting together a timeline that we want to upload on the web site representing the history of the program and all big events that has happened throughout the years. Anastasia has been doing a wonderful job as a team liaison. I am very happy to be part of the IT team and most of all, I am happy to be a GLOBE member. It makes me feel good that I am helping people escape the cycle of poverty, raising awareness about microfinance and changing the world. GLOBE is a learning experience for me. And I do not only mean the academic part of the program. As a part of GLOBE, I learned how to work in a team environment; I developed time management and organizational skills; I broadened my horizons and met incredible people, who are now my friends. While reading Muhammad Yunus’ books and watching videos about microfinance in class, I have come to realize that social business is something that I am highly interested in. I see myself in the future as an entrepreneur of a non-profit organization that will work towards enhancing the well being of people.
Log # 8
By Hua Yong Jack Chen
For today’s class, I had the pleasure of listening to Susan Kageni Saiyiorri, who was a former National Outreach Coordinator for Jamii Bora. As a student manager of GLOBE, it is sometimes difficult to see the positive impacts that microfinance has on people. Thanks to people such as Susan, it provides an opportunity to see what’s happening on the ground.
One consistent thing that I have seen with people in successful microfinance institutions is that these institutions provide more than a loan. They provide support, education, and a positive attitude when serving their borrowers. What makes these institutions so wonderful isn’t based on the successful repayments that people make; rather it is based on the personal commitment and devotion that they have to their community. This is generally what makes microfinance institutions much more successful than commercial banks.
As a member of the Accounting Team, I was a little concerned when Susan mentioned that training their clients to understand the basics of business was costly and time consuming. One of the Accounting Team’s projects is to update the Business Lexicon and promote Enterprise Development. Considering the time constraints that this semester has because of discrepancies in a few loans, I hope that it will be completed another time. Once the loan tracking is completed, the team should be able to create a database of all the loans.
Finally, I would like to address the psychological aspect that was mentioned in the speech that would relate to GLOBE. The first one was that group loans tend to fare better than individual loans. I assume that because of peer pressure, people are more inclined to repay the loans. However, this is dependent on whether the group is more individualistic or collectivist. The second thing that might apply to GLOBE is that we could split loans into smaller pieces. Susan mentioned that smaller loans tend to have a higher repayment rate than those who take out larger loans. Psychologically, I would assume that large loans are difficult to repay only because it is a large number. Breaking it down into smaller pieces might be more beneficial if this is the case.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation that Susan gave. Not only did it provided a ground view of how microfinance has helped people, but also it showed me that there must be more to be done before poverty can be fully eliminated.
Log # 8
By Megan Lane
What a successful week!
My GLOBE tee shirt is working overtime, as we’ve accomplished so much in the past week. Most importantly, we’ve managed to track many existing loans. We’ve put together all the information we have about our borrowers in one spreadsheet and contacted the Daughters of Charity for updates on their businesses. It was a long and tedious process, as this information was scattered on loan applications, student write-ups and spreadsheets, wire transfers, and past reports from the Daughters in the field. However, now that we have the data in one place, we know exactly what information we still need. We have sent our questions and update forms to the Daughters of Charity and have already received a response from Nigeria with good news, as our borrowers are repaying their loans, some have already paid in full, and one borrower is almost done paying off a follow-up loan that she received after successfully reimbursing her initial loan. We are anxiously awaiting an update from the Congo, and hope to hear similar success stories.
In addition to loan tracking, we held a successful information session for potential future GLOBE managers. The turnout was impressive, proof that the program is becoming better known and recognized on campus. The students had a lot of great questions and showed a genuine interest in our mission. I was especially proud to see that so many non-business students came to find out about the class. GLOBE is usually made up of students mostly from the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, even though the course is open to all majors. It is great to see interest in social justice coming from students studying all disciplines, with many coming from St. John’s College or the College of Professional Studies. The Marketing and IT teams this semester have certainly done a great job educating the student body about GLOBE and getting the word out in the St. John’s community.
I can’t talk about this week without mentioning the incredible success of our International Buffet. We set up tables in Marillac during lunchtime and each cooked a food from our ethnicities. As a very diverse class on a very diverse campus, there were so many different cultures represented. We had food from Italy, India, Brazil, Guyana, Bulgaria, Trinidad, Korea, Haiti, Mexico, England, and many more countries. The spread was well received by students and faculty and we were able to raise a lot of money to fund loans for borrowers. It was also a bonding experience for us, as we got to taste the kinds of foods that our classmates eat at home. I tried my first Brazilian coxinha and my first Bulgarian banitsa, both of which were homemade by my classmates and delicious. The buffet was a hit and was enjoyed by everyone.
This week was hectic, but it was filled with success. Weeks like these make me proud to be a member of GLOBE. The work can be overwhelming at times, but each accomplishment makes it worthwhile.
Log # 8
By Stephanie Pereira Lima
Last class, we discussed the differences between a Microfinance Institution (MFI) in a developed country versus a developing country. Naturally, the circumstances are different in each country given the societal infrastructure. Factors such as culture, government and politics, and the way the economy is made up come into play, as well as the actual stability of the environment. Creating an MFI in a developed country such as the United States, for example, would require more work and hurdles to jump through, but it still makes a difference. After we viewed the short video in class, we were able to see how a small amount of US Dollars really goes a long way (both nationally and internationally). It was really touching and left a deep impression on me.
On an even more positive note, we raised $500 at our International Buffet to Fight off Poverty event! We had an amazing turn out and the participation from each GLOBE Manager was even more remarkable. Everyone pulled their weight, which really facilitated the overall production, in both cooking and working the table at Marillac Terrace. The concept of the event goes hand-in-hand with the workings of GLOBE, which in my opinion is why it was such a hit amongst the St. John’s student body and faculty. Especially when taking into account the diversity on our campus, we had a dish (well, close enough) for almost everyone. I would highly recommend that future GLOBE Managers host at least one International Buffet because it is not only an effective fundraising method but also a great and memorable experience. I feel extremely proud of our class.
Log # 8
By Aiden Eun Gee Min
As part of my responsibility in the IT Team, I have finished half of the video log. As I have mentioned in previous logs, the project will focus more on inspiration rather than global poverty. To give the general idea, the log will look similar to an advertisement in order to appeal to the viewers.
Everyone in the program will be in the project. This is to provide the information about each department’s dedication towards the whole program and its objectives. I have filmed the accounting team and finance team today. I was very pleased with their informative and inspiring speeches. Both teams explained exactly what their objectives and responsibilities are and how their dedication affects the entire program.
I will also include pictures and videos taken during the events our class has produced. So far, we had bake sales, information sessions, the phone campaign, the UN event, networking events, film day, and the list goes on. I have more than five hundred pictures taken from these events, and they will be included in the video log in order to visualize what we do. I believe this is also inspiring to the future candidates since many people would like to join a well-organized and active program.
Dr. Sama gave me a very important, and yet, obvious fact about GLOBE Program: Many students tend to join the program for benefits provided by the program. However, most of the participants get more interested and active in building a world without poverty. Thus, I believe the promotional events and sessions should introduce the benefits of the program first, then the objectives. Once the students join the program, it is no doubt that they will start looking at the world differently.
Log # 9
By Chi Le
One of the issues in microfinance in general as well as in GLOBE is the foreign exchange rate risk. Since GLOBE works with people from all over the world and makes global loans, the foreign exchange rate has been a risk to the borrowing microfinance institutions. It has listed three main components of this risk: depreciation risk, convertibility risk and transfer risk.
It is a fact that most of the developing countries, such as Haiti, Kenya, Vietnam, etc. where GLOBE mostly focuses on, have been struggling in their economies. Their currencies have been devalued and therefore it is hard for them to repay the loans completely or the interest. Even though GLOBE does not charge a high interest rate and has a sufficient amount of time for the borrowers to pay back the loans, it is still emphasized that our candidates are the poorest of the poor plus the fact that their currency values have been falling for these past years, and as a result this has been a risk of our microfinance program.
Convertibility and transfer risks are the two other foreign exchange rate risks that come from the national government. Convertibility risk arises when the national government will not sell foreign currency to borrowers or others and transfers risk results from these countries not allowing foreign currency to go abroad without its source. I think this is also the problem that happens in some developing countries without open markets and have restrictions in the economy as well as relations with other countries.
Foreign exchange rate risk is only one of the risks in microfinance but it does have an impact on its development. As in GLOBE, getting back the loans is one of the factors to evaluate the success of this program and therefore the foreign exchange rate risk has partly brought a little difficulty to the program.
Log # 9
By Danai Shirihuru
Wow, I can’t believe yet another week has gone by. In an attempt to diversify as well as reduce our risk, in December last year GLOBE gave out its first group loan to Vietnam, something which we are all very excited about and can’t wait to see the result. I personally am excited to see the effect it has on our rate of return and the effect that it has on our borrowers’ lives, as this group loan is actually reaching a lot more people. This week the Finance team was assigned a reading on the group lending model, something that I already think we as GLOBE managers should take into serious consideration, and make more use of, but this reading also brought something else that people in business often forget.
Our reading advised micro finance institutions to look into alternative ways to be more efficient. One of the things our reading mentioned that I found very interesting was that when borrowers borrow, it’s not that they can’t pay back the loan, it’s that they won’t pay back. This to me is very interesting and very powerful. The borrowers can pay back, they are not poor and unable to pay back, and they simply have no reason to pay back, no reason to want to pay back. Just like any human being their needs to be an incentive, a motivation to not just be someone living in poverty and is comfortable with taking charitable handouts. When we create criteria for our borrowers we look for their annual income, the size of their loan, the period of repayment and other quantitative qualities, we forget that we are in social business where we aren’t dealing with people’s past successes but are enabling them a successful future.
This reminds me of a story close to my heart. My own parents came from a background similar to that of our borrowers, probably worse than that of our borrowers, but now they are able to send and support their child to school in New York City. It was not a case of great circumstances that lead to my parents’ success; rather it was their motivation to be successful. Most of these people are not incapable of success and creating their own lives, they just lack the motivation, perhaps the belief that they will be successful. One of the things I would like to work on for the remainder this semester is a way in which we can motivate our borrowers, rather on just assessing their risk we should work with our borrowers and give them some motivation. While it is important to give out loans that aren’t quantitatively risky, I think one of the things that sets GLOBE apart is that it also puts a value on those qualities that can’t be so easily quantified and I think it’s time we further capitalized on this.
Log # 9
By Princy Ann Abraham
This week the marketing & fundraising team was assigned to read chapter 6 of the “Microfinance Handbook” by Joanna Ledgerwood. This chapter discussed savings accounts and products as related to microfinance.
The chapter began by unveiling the misconception that low-income individuals do not save or have no reason to save. Often, the poor’s demand for savings products goes either “unnoticed or unheard.” Many bank branches are not situated in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Additionally, banks that are available to low-income clients are hesitant to deal with small amounts of money.
Research shows that savings accounts are a crucial part of developing a stable financial market. So we see that even low-income customers can impact an economy while still benefiting themselves. For savings to be effective in impacting an economy, the transaction must take place in a suitable economic and political environment that is reliable and secure. Depositors need to be assured that their funds will be held safely or else they will not risk leaving their funds with a bank.
This week’s reading can be applied to GLOBE. Savings accounts can lead our borrowers to be stable and independent. I think our organization should start encouraging borrowers to save a small portion of the money we give them. They can turn to this savings fund in case of an emergency. They can also start saving money from their revenue in order to repay our loans back in a timely manner. Borrowers can also use their savings for additional expenditures that they are interested in.
Having a savings account is a wise alternative to keeping cash in the household. Many women in developing countries have difficult time saving cash at home because the male head of their household wants to spend any excess money that is available. Money kept at home can be stolen or destroyed through natural disasters such as fires or floods. Investing all of one’s money in animals or other assets is also not wise since the animal can die or the assets can lose their market value over time.
Savings accounts have the potential to lead our borrowers to a more sustainable life.
Log # 9
By Anastasia Zavgorodni
Our latest reading involved the field of Micro insurance. From what I read, I understood that micro insurance faces the same obstacles as microfinance, in that both are social businesses, which lack the appropriate funding to easily succeed. In terms of life insurance, the venture has been more successful through making a small percentage of a microloan be directed toward such a measure. Health insurance has proved a trickier field, as the poorest do not face the same health challenges as those who are a bit better off than them. The specialization of those providing the healthcare is also of grave concern, as there are obviously great expenses involved with providing pristine health services.
As a member of the IT team, our sector of an MFI could be in charge of providing the necessary software responsible for managing insurances. However, as I have reflected in my previous blogs, this is easier said than done. Seeing as it is a challenge to even provide comprehensive, affordable technology systems for MFIs, incorporating the insurance aspects would only raise the costs. I feel that perhaps such systems could be a large goal for an MFI slowly incorporating insurance into their microfinance system. Initially, helping the borrowers understand health and life insurance should be of foremost concern. As Grameen Bank has done with its borrowers and flourished in terms of microfinance, there is no reason why the benefits of insurance could not be explained as well; particularly when it can be incorporated into a microloan.
Our guest speaker, Susan Kagemi Saiyiorri of Jamii Bora, was particularly inspiring in revealing Jamii Bora’s promising venture into micro insurance for their borrowers. Health insurance was offered at $15 per year for every household, covering one adult with four dependents and all patient costs at a hospital. I am assuming from my readings, that this last part is particularly specific since many people in developing countries will often visit shamans or untrained doctors to relieve their health problems, making matters worse; thus the incentive for actually visiting a hospital. These services reveal such a multidimensional aspect of micro insurance and especially social business. The goal of social business is truly to help people flourish in all aspects of life. To Jamii Bora, their borrowers seem like family, and such a level of care is so rare to find in for-profit business. Sure, corporations, institutions, and foundation may donate money to a cause, but it is in question whether they truly care about the individuals they claim to help. This dimension of involvement is completely essential in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Log # 10
By Tyler Deng
Herein marks the end of an era, the end of GLOBE for the Spring Class of 2012. This is our 10th and final log for this class. It’s amazing how the past 10 weeks have gone by; it doesn’t really feel like it’s been 70 days from our first log until today. The experience of GLOBE is by far, one that can’t be replicated by other courses at St. John’s. The actual hands on exposure to funds and loan tracking provide a wealth of knowledge when dealing with microfinance. The various books we had to read helped a lot; I definitely know I’m more knowledgeable in this field not just because of class but because of the readings too—every book complemented the lesson we had very well (even The Economics of Microfinance book). I’ve had some knowledge of microfinance because of Kiva, but this class has really opened up my eyes to the world of microfinance because of the video clips, the lesson plans, the readings and all the extra activities we did. All of these things combined to form a really enjoyable class that I’m extremely happy that I partook in.
Aside from just the academics, I’m glad to have learned how to delegate and work well in teams. I’m a big advocate of team-based assignments because everyone has responsibilities but also because everyone can hold each other accountable—that’s exactly what happened in my team. Every member was essential to the team’s overall success. GLOBE introduced me to terrific people I would have otherwise never have met on this campus, especially my team members. We spent some great times meeting after classes to talk about the readings or to catch up on whatever goals we have to do for the week; it’s no surprise I tend to gravitate towards them during events but with such a small class, it’s easy to get to know everyone pretty well. I’ll be a bit biased here; I think that everyone involved in GLOBE are just wonderful people because they take the time out of their day to try to impact the world and learn at the same time. Yes, it wasn’t always smooth sailing; with all the reading and preparation we do as well as make time in our schedules to accommodate for GLOBE events. The experience was worthwhile though so there are no complaints on this end.
I started this class with a cliché (you never know what to expect) and I’ll end with one too (It ain’t over ‘till it’s over) but is GLOBE really over when the class ends? I think it has influenced enough of us to know that alleviating poverty is an ongoing struggle and that the fight doesn’t end just because 135 class hours are over. There is an alumni connection first of all, but secondly I think most of us deep down want to see these changes and we realize how education has empowered us to affect others. I know without a doubt, I’ll always be involved in nonprofit work or charitable activities; this was just an outlet of what I’m passionate about. Our class may be ending soon (hopefully on a high note), but the path for 20 newly educated members is just starting.
Log # 10
By Megan Lane
I can’t believe that this is my last log for GLOBE. The semester has flown by. I feel like we just interviewed with Dr. Sama as potential managers, yet we’ll be giving our final presentations in only two weeks.
I’ve learned a lot about microfinance this semester, but I’m taking so much more away with me. GLOBE is not just a class, but also an interactive learning and development experience.
GLOBE is about teamwork. I have greatly improved my communication skills this semester. I was forced to interact with the other members of the finance team, the members of the three other teams, the greater student body of St. John’s, the Daughters of Charity, and so many more people. I am leaving this class better able to exchange my ideas with others and successfully complete assignments as a team.
GLOBE is about perspective. On the first day of class I described poverty as “foreign.” I’ve never seen the type of poverty that we are trying to eradicate through microfinance first hand. Seeing our borrowers change their lives through loans that are so small make me think of how blessed I am. GLOBE has allowed me to take a step back and realize how fortunate I am and to realize how easy it is to help others who have not been afforded the same opportunities.
GLOBE is about responsibility. The other managers and I are lucky enough to live in a country where extreme poverty is largely nonexistent. We are privileged enough to be receiving a college education. These opportunities come with a responsibility to help those who do not have the same benefits. In GLOBE, we attempt to level out the playing field by offering our business skills to help others.
GLOBE is about relationships. I am leaving GLOBE with 18 friends that I didn’t know just four months ago. We have all bonded through our class time, fundraisers, and educational events. We have shared a unique experience that has allowed us all to grow together. We have grown together as classmates, friends, and responsible citizens. As we go off into our careers, many of us in business, we will bring with us the social goals and ethical mindset that we have developed in GLOBE.
Log # 10
By Tiffany Wong
I can’t believe this is my final log for GLOBE! The semester has gone by so fast! It seemed like only yesterday the class just started. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to experience and be part of something as amazing as GLOBE is. I’ve said this in a lot of my previous logs, but I’ve learned so much about myself. I learned that I am a good communicator and I do work well with others. I’ve also discovered that I’m not as shy as I thought I was. GLOBE has really helped me find the voice that I’ve been so afraid to use for a long time. I’m no longer afraid to speak up and voice my opinion. Being in GLOBE, we’re also the voice for our borrowers. We raise awareness of the things going on in their countries and shine light on those who may have gone unnoticed. I will no longer be afraid to speak up and voice my opinions because unlike most people, I have the opportunity to do so.
I’m also extremely happy to say that we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of our goals thus far. I was a little nervous in the beginning and thought that may be we wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of the goals we said we wanted to. But looking back, we’ve been able to get a lot done and we still have some time to get more done. Being part of GLOBE has also helped me to understand what microfinance is. I’ve learned that microfinance isn’t just about providing small loans; it’s also about giving hope to those who are less fortunate. We are showing our borrowers that we believe in them with each loan we provide. We are giving them a chance to better themselves and be the reason for their success. It is so gratifying to know that we’ve helped better someone’s life in some way through all the hard work we’ve put in.
I’m so grateful that I’ve met Dr. Sama, Lina, and the rest of the class. I’ve never met a professor who genuinely cared for their students. Dr. Sama’s the first professor that I’ve been able to talk to outside of class and I’m extremely grateful that she is a part of my life. I will never forget the people I’ve met in GLOBE and the experiences we’ve shared, but most of all I will never forget Dr. Sama. Thank you for believing in me enough to accept me into such a wonderful program and for as long as I’m alive I will continue to support GLOBE in any way that I can!
Log # 10
By Boryana Yordanova
I cannot believe it is already time for my last log. What a semester this has been! Having completed numerous projects this semester and still have a few more before we leave, I can honestly say this class was worth every second of my time. Throughout the semester, I learned a lot about microfinance and social business from the readings, lectures, guest speakers, and the program itself. This has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences I could have asked for. GLOBE has opened my eyes to the power of microfinance and the good that can come from focusing on the social idea, rather than profit maximizing. Muhammad Yunus has truly inspired me into action. It is his work that makes us believe in GLOBE that what we do have an impact on the world. Seeing the faces of the people we help and reading about their stories has not only touched me, but also made everyone in the class more aware of what life is around the world. And this is exactly why our class is a social entrepreneurship - we drive change through helping those in need. GLOBE teaches students how to work together as a whole and make a difference.
Along with the learning experience, we have also accomplished a lot. Our team – the Technology and Communications – have moved forward with updating the website content, optimize all social media platforms, introducing media to the program and raising awareness about microfinance. As the semester comes to an end, we continue to work towards the final presentation, the research paper and the final video. I look forward to delivering the final presentation to all our peers, supporters, and faculty. This is going to be one of the most important things we do this semester as the program displays where it stands in the business college. I have no regrets in participating in this program. I am disappointed though that it is only one semester. I feel like the class has just begun to settle in. If only we could continue with the same set of students the program would soar to such great heights.
In conclusion, I would say that it was awesome working with everyone in the class. I have made new friends and built an incredible relationship with my teammates. I think we did an amazing job given the time constraints and all of our different schedules. Dr. Sama is another inspiring individual that I have gotten to know and I am glad I had the opportunity to work with her. I admire her passion and the desire to help those in need in developing countries to overcome poverty. I will use all of the knowledge I learned during this semester towards helping to alleviate poverty by taking action and being proactive. I would like to thank Dr. Sama for this. I want to wish the future classes the best of luck and loads of success. I look forward to coming back to this program and finding out about our borrowers.
Objectives of the Accounting, Program Audits and Enterprise Development Team: Marie St Jean*, Jack Chen, Tyler Deng, Chi Le, Ana Morales
1. Organizing and revising documents
2. Enterprise development
3. Planning and budgeting
4. Internal auditing
5. External auditing
6. Communicating with other people
Objectives of the Finance and Risk Assessment Team: Tung Hoang, Nathan Holmes, Megan Lane, Matthew Ricardo, Danai Shirihuru
1. Refine criteria/parameters for potential applicants:
2. Research other Micro-finance institutions:
3. Communicate directly with the field:
4. Work closely with the accounting team
Objectives of the Marketing and Fund Raising Team: Tiffany Wong, Princy Ann Abraham, Stephanie Pereira Lima, Melissa Gomez
1. Raise $2,500 for future GLOBE expenses.
2. Have our first fundraising event at the “Career Series Conference” on Feb 11, 2012 where we will sell baked goods.
3. Work with Alumni Relations to develop a fundraising program with STJ alumni (GLOBE alumni as well)
4. Build on the Phone Campaign that began last year.
5. Create our own proposal by developing a grant writing template with the help of a grant writing professional.
6. Hold 5 mini-fundraising events (bake sales etc.)
7. Hold 1 large fundraising event: “Friends of GLOBE Party”
8. Sell raffles at our Final Presentation.
Objectives of the Technology and Communications Team: Luis Colon, Boryana Yordanova, Anastasia Zavgorodni*, Aiden Eun Gee Min, Nirveeta Mahabir
1. Increase Twitter followers to 200 (currently at 101)
2. Increase Facebook Likes to 1500 (currently at 1090)
3. Use the current Blogspot account as an interactive website, update with -quotes, photos, videos, reflections, links, articles, personal blog posts, etc.
4. Produce Video Blog posts for all the task teams and a final video. Use it to promote GLOBE.
5. Update Facebook; Twitter more frequently – one inspirational quote, one microfinance article and a video link about microfinance.
6. Create an event page to post on the GLOBE Facebook for every event we host (work with the STJ Campus Activities page and the Official STJ page so that they also post it and it reaches more people as well as with @STJnow on Twitter.
7. Take photos of all events and post them to Flickr Account for easier access.
8. Keep an organized spreadsheet of GLOBE’s contacts.
9. Attempt to be recognized as an organization /on-campus group so that we can utilize OrgSync
10. Update information about the teams’ objectives and progress on the STJ Globe website
11. Figure out a way to communicate with the Daughters via Skype (send them instructions) so that they can perhaps even speak to our class
12. Utilize GoogleDocs so that we all have access to our documents.