Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The Fall 2020 student teams include Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits; Finance and Risk Assessment; Marketing and Fundraising; and Technology and Communications. ln order for this semester's class to be featured (without wearing masks) during the pandemic, we have made a collage of their selfies sporting their GLOBE tees!
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team Nicolas Bermudez, Chris Bernabe, Nicolette Daisley*, Francesca Scarpa
Finance and Risk Assessment Team Husna Bedar, Abigail Guzman, Joshua Miller*, Dylan Willis
Marketing and Fundraising Team Shane McGovern*, Becky Mei, Jayda Parrish, Justine Pascual
Technology and Communications Team Jennifer Bonilla, Hiwetay Haile, Daniil Prokopenko, Kayley Wood*
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
By: Josh Miller
Last summer, instead of doing a normal summer job at a restaurant or a reception desk, I decided to take a job I never really had the opportunity to do before: working with the disabled. It was one of my favorite experiences ever, and getting to help those people, as well as their parents, was outrageously infectious. From then on, I had this need in my life to be helping people, in any way, shape or form at any time. When I first heard about GLOBE, I was super intrigued for this exact reason. An experiential, hands-on course where I can gain valuable career experience while also bettering the world and providing help for communities in need? How could this reality exist! It merged two things that I really needed, so I applied, interviewed, and was (thankfully!) accepted.
The first couple weeks of class have been busy, but all I could hope for. The pace is challenging but encouraging and motivating. Our duties are important but fully doable for us. It’s been amazing meeting my team and learning how we work together, as well as experiencing other teams during presentations. In this time of Coronavirus, it seems like lots of things are not as they used to be, but GLOBE seems to have barely skipped a beat.
In the more specific subject matter of the course, it’s been really incredible how fast I’ve learned so much about poverty in our world, along with how we can be a force to alleviate it. Coming into the course I didn’t have much exposure to poverty, but what I knew about it mostly came down to charity and religious groups giving out meals, supplying shelter, or doing mission projects. Never had I really been exposed to something like microfinance, a method of poverty alleviation that does not fix things for a population but gives them a tool they need to fix it themselves. It’s enlightening to know that this sort of thing exists and has the ability to lift up a community, as we’ve seen with a few loanees. No matter what they are specifically applying for a loan for, I feel like I can always see the dots it connects; the way that that one thing ripples throughout its surrounding area and makes it better, not just for the loanee, but for everyone. It’s extraordinarily special and unique in that effect.
My anticipation for the semester mounts with every class. We learn so much every time, it’s honestly infectious. Aristotle once said, “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”, and I think, in the best way possible, that’s true for this program. There’s so much to learn, and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. I think that’s amazing, and that trait will make the experience that much more valuable. I’m very grateful I’m in GLOBE and can’t wait for the rest!
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team
By: Nicolas Bermudez
As we move into the third week of GLOBE, I’m happy to say the experience so far has exceeded my expectations. The first week we were shown what to expect from the course and also introduced ourselves to our fellow managers. Hearing everyone’s story behind why they decided to join GLOBE made me realize that it’s not so much about what we can take from it but rather what we can contribute. As Dr. Sama shared photos and personal stories with us about past travels and personal stories from borrowers it was motivating to see the first-hand experience we get which goes far beyond the classroom walls. After exchanging contact information with our group members, we met up to plot our tentative objectives for the semester. Being four in total, we each decided to audit one group throughout the semester to optimize focus while still jointly working on the enterprise development aspect.
I found the assigned books are a great compliment to the course as they enable us to stay engaged in the learning process from home. Each book focuses on a different topic and yet they all merge to create the perfect pie chart of knowledge. Before joining GLOBE, I had never heard of the name Muhammad Yunus and already two weeks into reading about his story I’ve found a new inspiration in the world of business. Having played a crucial role in the establishment of a Bangladesh nation-state he went on to become a leading social entrepreneur; helping strengthen the democracy in his country and contributing to the alleviation of poverty. Apart from his, there are countless stories of other social entrepreneurs who, through simple but smart innovation, have improved the lives of many around them. It has all certainly made me feel more optimistic and broadened my mind about the impact we can make as individuals. Through our reading summary presentations, we not only exchange different points of view but also improve our presentation skills which are most definitely needed in the business environment. The discussion posts are a great attempt at challenging our ideas and exteriorizing them. For example, this week we each had to share our perception of poverty and it was great to read about my classmates’ backgrounds and how their understanding of it has evolved through the years.
For this week, I’m excited about meeting former GLOBE team managers as personal experience is always appreciated. I’m sure that through their stories of success and failures my teammates and I will get a better understanding of how to approach our objectives and fulfill our work. They’ll also help remind us to not strive for too much as it’s always better to do less and accomplish more than to be pretentious, though excitement sometimes gets the best of you. I’m also keen on learning about cross cultural and gender issues, two factors that often present obstacles to the success of micro finance. Nonetheless, this business practice also helps break through such socio-economic barriers and promotes female empowerment (among other things). Ultimately, in these past two weeks we’ve already covered lots of terrain and we’re now ready to tackle this fast-track marathon. It’ll be a worthwhile challenge for us all.
Marketing and Fundraising Team
By: Shane McGovern
The Worm’s Eye View
“I opted instead for the “The Worm’s Eye View””. These are words that have stuck with me since I saw them graze across on eyes, wise words I have since vowed to follow on my GLOBE journey, said by Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance. In the lives of the those who are privileged enough to not go through the hardships of poverty, we often have a watered down view of what it actual means to suffer from such challenges, we take the severity of the issue with a grain of salt without ever understanding the full context of things. We have “the birds eye view” when we continue to allow such perspectives to run in our minds. To get “the worm’s eye view” for me, is to investigate the lives of individuals, understand their struggles, and find a way in which we actively can bring support and seek improvement to their futures. I want to not only understand, I want to create change, be the change in the fight against poverty. GLOBE encompasses the concept of the worm's eye view and the desires it comes with.
Ironically, I learned of GLOBE whilst traveling the world last fall during my semester abroad. Two, now former GLOBE managers, were in the process of getting ready for their interviews when they had told me of the program at St. Johns. That one conversation was enough to encourage me to want to do further research, and eventually, apply to become a GLOBE manager myself. The opportunities that GLOBE provides, not only for the managers, but for those that need something bigger, are unparalleled to anything I have ever heard of from a University. GLOBE represents something greater than a college course; it represents a spark for change and growth in the lives of people who are rarely given the chance to thrive. The impact we make on these loaners lives is imperative to their success long term, they see us a beacon of hope, we see them as a beacon of change.
Throughout these three of weeks of being a part of GLOBE, I am, already, reaping the benefits of what this program has to offer. Named Team Liaison for the Marketing and Fundraising Team, I have been given the responsibility of being the middleman between Professor Sama and team members, a role that carries weight as its important to have information be exchanged with as much clarity and fluidity as possible. While it can be a challenge at times to have everything be 100% on point, I know, that with time I will be able to perfectly execute my role as Team Liaison and I am excited to see how I personally flourish within this aspect of the program. My team and I have been working relentlessly to make up a proper blueprint as to why we want the semester to play out. With COVID-19 still be an impact on the world as we know it, there have been some obstacles to overcome on how we plan to fundraise and market for the class, as no longer can there be in person events. However, this can only be a burden to us if we allow it, and that’s something we’ve come to recognize. If we let such things consume our energy, we won’t see success, with that in mind we were quick to investigate our alternatives, and after much research and meetings we feel as though we have some good things coming for us this semester.
My journey of experiencing this journey through the worm’s eye view has only just begun, but with that, I see a journey of intellectual growth and changes to be made that will have lasting impact. I cannot wait for this semester to start settling in.
Technology and Communications Team
By: Daniil Prokopenko
When I first heard about this class from my dean last semester, I was a bit hesitant to join, because I wasn’t sure if I would be interested enough in microfinance. I’ve had some experience working with non-profits, charities and organizations similar to GLOBE, so I thought I would give it a shot since I have nothing to lose anyway. Right away, during our first interview session I realized just how important is what this organization does for the world. It immediately made me feel like a part of something big and gave me a lot of motivation to try my best in this course. Professor Sama clearly stated what she expects from us and assigned us to different groups.
Our first assignment was to present the reading of one of Muhammad Yunus’ books, which I found really interesting. It talked about many things that you normally would not find on the news or in any other books. Reading it felt really inspiring, because the author had a firsthand experience of what the poverty in Bangladesh is, and was able to share that picture with the reader. It talked about how him and his team have been trying to provide basic needs to the people of Bangladesh through organizations such as Grameen Telekom, Shakti and many more. Normally, I do not like this type of writing, because to me it usually seems like bragging. I’ve read countless different business journals and am just so used to rich people spending most of their time writing about the things they’ve achieved, rather than how you can achieve them. With Yunus’ reading, it was different. It felt as if it pushes you towards action, and makes you rethink your values. I especially loved the part of the book, where he focused strongly on providing specifically “green energy” to the people of Bangladesh. This showed me that not only does he look for solutions that would help the poor, but also cares about the environment. I believe that my group and I did a great job presenting the reading, and I really believe that the things I’ve learned so far will be helpful to me in the future.
As for setting the objectives, our group had a couple disagreements at first, but in the end, we managed to come up with a final version of what we would like to achieve by the end of this course. I believe that I am really lucky to be in such a hardworking team and can’t wait to work my hardest in order to meet all those objectives that we have set for ourselves.
By: Dylan Willis
In class this week we were given the opportunity to talk to people from past GLOBE classes to explain some of the difficulties we may encounter along with the impact GLOBE has. It was great to converse with people who have completed the course and invested so much time into it. While conversing with these former GLOBE managers their genuine appreciation for the class was evident. Not only did they take the time out of their day to speak with us they did so energetically and with no haste. Talking to former members of the Finance team was critical in my understanding of our role and impact. They provided tips on how we as a team could be more productive than they were during their time this semester. The former managers provided us feedback on our goals and explained which ones were realistic and how we could alter them to fit our timeline. They also assisted us in narrowing down our position paper topics and emphasized the importance of making the topic as concise as possible. Though my favorite part of the conversation would have to be when they talked about to real-world applications GLOBE has. Since my main objective is to be working in financial services their advice on excel and its importance was appreciated. They could not stress the importance of working within a team enough, and the advantage they had been able to do so in the workforce. I connected with William Alexander on LinkedIn to make sure I can keep in contact with him during the semester.
I intend on developing my skills within Finance, and I was overwhelmed with joy to find out there were more loan applications made. Although this will require more work on my teams’ part this is why I desired to join GLOBE. I have taken the responsibility of working on a loan from Vietnam for a food cart business. The requested loan is 433 USD and is the women's first loan, there is more information required to finalize this loan, but it seems as if it could yield great profit for her in time. I feel a little bit of pressure with this loan as it is my first one and I want to make sure everything is correct and properly calculated. Though my teammates and I are all doing separate loans, so any questions we have can be handled by all of us as a unit. I am also going to decide my position paper topic and have many ideas though I must make sure to keep the final topic concise. Keeping the position paper topic concise is easier said than done because of all the things I’ve learned thus far that I want to address and learn more about.
By: Francesca Scarpa
In the past week, our Enterprise and Program Impact Audits Team has begun finalizing our goals and objectives. We were able to send our goals to Dr. Sama at an earlier time which allowed us to get a head start on the revisions. The feedback we received from Dr. Sama helped us create changes to our goals in order to make them achievable and condensed. She helped us realize how important it is for us not to bite off more than we can chew. It’s more important for us to create small goals and objectives we can achieve this semester rather than larger ones which we would not be able to complete. These objectives and goals already seem to be helping us organize how to tackle the rest of the semester.
The highlight of this week was meeting with the GLOBE managers from previous years. The experiences and advice shared with us greatly helped. They shared tips on how to keep organized and ways to create forms through the computer. The file they shared with us through Google Drive was beyond helpful. In giving us the files, they saved us so much time. Instead of having to write all the surveys we now only have to adjust. This allows us more time to focus our attention on other objectives and goals. The biggest piece of advice the previous team gave us was to meet as often as possible. They explained that meeting just in class will create difficulties in reaching objectives and goals. Often times in class we will not have an adequate amount of time to discuss. From early on my group has had difficulties finding a time to meet. After hearing what the previous group had to say, we decided to establish a time every week to meet. After looking over all our schedules, we decided to meet every Tuesday an hour before class. Hopefully, this has positive effects on our success.
We are continuing to look into a new country for the GLOBE program. With the help of Dr. Sama, we were able to find the contact information to a sister in Detroit, who will be able to assist us in adding a new country. We are continuing our research in finding a country that would be a great fit for the program. This is an objective that our team is extremely invested and hard at work on. The finance team just received four new loans which we are extremely excited about. We cannot wait to see how these loans will affect their lives for the better. This week of GLOBE has been so much fun, and I can’t wait to see what the next week brings!
By: Becky Mei
This past week in the marketing team, we came up with many new ideas, refined those ideas, and made more concrete decisions on the ideas that we wanted to pursue this semester. We were very fortunate to have received advice from former GLOBE managers as well as Scott VanDeusen as they helped us generate ideas and narrow down our most feasible options. It was a pleasure to talk to the former GLOBE managers as they had a lot of advice and feedback to offer and I really appreciated their enthusiasm. It was incredible to see how passionate they still are in wanting to help GLOBE.
Speaking with Scott also went very smoothly, as he gave both our team (marketing), and the IT team lots of clear and specific advice that will surely help guide us in the right direction. From the types of promotional items, we should be considering to how we should go about creating donor thank you cards, Scott gave us a lot of direction in what we should expect, cost and timing-wise. It was really amazing to see how devoted he was in helping us achieve our goals and he encouraged us all to be equally devoted to GLOBE, with the right amount of time, effort, and commitment, and would certainly be able to reach our objectives.
The obstacles of the pandemic were a given, however, we were struck by the idea of the upcoming election this November potentially affecting the way we go out certain things, so we are taking this into huge consideration as we implement our fundraising and marketing strategies according to what we think will be the best option time-wise. Despite the current obstacles, our team is still very optimistic and plan to execute our objectives as best as we can!
By: Jennifer Bonilla
As I continue to progress in my GLOBE journey, the program has become more real and has truly put into perspective the impacts we will be making not only in the lives of others, but myself included. Throughout my life, I got a deep perception of poverty firsthand when traveling to my mother’s home country of El Salvador. I have been able to see both sides of the global divide and the battle for survival. Being a part of GLOBE and being surrounded by people with the same common goal, to make a difference, truly inspired me and made me realize I was in the right place.
It wasn’t until we were able to listen to people who have dedicated so much time, effort, and energy into this program before me, that I was able to truly gain that extra boost of motivation that I needed. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with accomplishing all of our objectives and whether I had the skillsets needed. However, upon speaking with the alumni, they provided me with reassurance and told me that they felt the same way when they were in my position. They said that this program can be stressful, especially during the transition to a remote environment due to COVID and effectively reaching our audience. However, they advised that we fairly divide the group work and each manager monitors one or two social media platforms to make sure that we are actively engaging with our followers. All in all, from our meeting with the alum and Scott VanDeusen, I was able to gain a lot of valuable advice that we will be implementing this semester and alleviated any of my worries. As technology managers, we have a great deal of work to complete; however, I know that it will be very rewarding and fun in the end especially since we have a desire to succeed and keep GLOBE on the right path. We will be possibly incorporating a new social media platform, and collaborating with my sorority Gamma Phi Beta, SGI, Women on Wallstreet, etc. on Instagram to reach a much larger crowd and hopefully more donations and future GLOBE managers. The objectives that we finalized resonate with me because it demonstrates our passion that we have to show the difference GLOBE is making in lives and communities around the world.
In class, we discussed the context culture of Microfinance and how women are ultimately better borrowers. In most third world countries, women are marginalized, victims of domestic violence abuse, and have no control over the money in households. However, microfinance has provided an opportunity for women to be entrepreneurs, help their family, and be financially independent by generating employment. What microfinance does is more than charity, it helps people to help themselves and future generations. This week, I began brainstorming possible topics for my paper and trying to narrow my broad topic to something that I am passionate about and more manageable. I have also followed a few of the alum on social media to stay in touch. Ultimately, I am extremely excited about this opportunity to see our objectives come to life, work with my teammates, and to make a difference.
By: Josh Miller
Log # 3
As this week has come to a close, I have definitely learned a lot about what it means to work as a team, especially the value of cooperation and communication. This week was by far our team’s busiest yet, finishing four loan recommendations, starting on our objectives, preparing a presentation for a reading and doing our logs over the course of the week. All the tasks were very fulfilling and doable, but they were not without challenges.
Our approach for the recommendations, starting off, was to do one on our own and then do the rest cooperatively. While we succeeded in writing what I consider quality recommendations (proofread by the whole team) I still found that I was seeking much more cooperation in the process. Had we done them all together, we would discuss each section of the recommendation, what to include/exclude, how we wanted to approach certain borrowers, etc. We absolutely helped each other out on these fronts once we had finished our recommendations, but I felt myself wanting to be in the thick of the process for every recommendation (as we’ll be doing going forward).
Often times teamwork can be inefficient given its prevalent scheduling issues, possible uneven workloads, and longer process, but I think it’s the best thing for a program like GLOBE. When evaluating potential borrowers, there are many factors to consider, and perspective is very important when considering them, especially as a business heavily focused on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). We want to be very understanding of their situations, avoiding rejection if we can, but also realistic, not approving a loan that has no chance of getting paid back and will just hurt the borrower. Sometimes these lines can be blurry, so it’s very valuable to have more than one person in every step of the recommendation process. I’m grateful my team has such sound skills so that we can have that diverse thought pool.
This week my big conclusion/lesson was on the topic of the aforementioned teamwork, but the prevailing one that continues to sharpen me is the necessity of planning. GLOBE being a hands-on, real-life course that makes it, so the work is very motivating. It also makes it, so I have a good amount of work to do every week. There aren’t really up weeks and down weeks, it’s always go time, and that requires busy people like us to really make sure we are organized and planning out our lives. It’s been extremely valuable to be able to practice that.
As I say every week, this program has taught me so much. I expect this theme to continue on for the whole semester, if not after. I’m so grateful I’m here. Onto the next!
Enterprise Development and Impact Audits Team
One thing I’m loving about GLOBE so far is how much it appears in my daily life lately. For example, this week I was watching a short reportage on TVE (Spain’s main channel) about how COVID-19 has affected individuals across the world. In focus were three individuals, a barber from the outskirts of Madrid, a single mother in the Bronx, and a juice street-vendor in Iztapalapa (Mexico City). In this reportage, each person shared their struggles in life, which noticeably increased this year. The story that impacted me the most was that of Ruben Sanchez, the juice vendor. Every day he wakes up at 3:30 am and walks (with his vending cart) to the nearest hospital where he’ll set up. Then he takes a bus to the Iztapalapa fruit market (the city’s epicenter for the virus) to buy the daily ingredients and rushes back to the hospital. After long hours of work and a few customers, he heads back home. Apart from sharing the small space with his children and grandchildren, they have no hot water and must heat the water with bare wires. Last but not least, he shared about being diabetic but not being able to afford health insurance. Throughout his whole story I kept thinking, how is this man who works till exhaustion not accessible to credit? Surely, he would be better off with a small loan which could benefit not only his business but household too.
Truth is, before joining GLOBE that thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind. Instead, I would’ve thought more hopelessly about him not being able to break free from that cycle. Mexico has a very strong economy and high GDP, but most of its population operates in the informal economy. Apart from Ruben, there must be hundreds of thousands of other individuals fighting to make it through the month. And again, it’s not that they can simply work their way out of poverty because on the contrary, they’re often the ones who work the most. So, the problem is that either one; there are no MFIs present in the area or two; people like Ruben avoid the process of taking loans out of fear of being worse off. This made me realize that local government agencies and institutions (both formal and informal) must market their availability better. In communities like this, it is best to recur to old-school methods of marketing like house to house visits. My guess is that many individuals fear financial institutions because they think they won’t be able to handle a loan, but with the proper guidance and training their payback probability is very high.
Coincidentally, this all connected with this week’s topic which is financial inclusion. Microfinance is unlike any other service in the sense that usually your potential customers don’t even realize they need you. And so, it is up to the institutions to make themselves available and almost try and convince clients how they can help them. And this is exactly what M. Yunus did in his beginnings with Grameen Bank. Field work by both governments and MFIs is essential for breaking the accessibility gap. There are plenty of people out there who are desperate for help but simply don’t realize the path they must take, and it is up to the financial sector to enable such path.
Marketing and Fundraising Team
By: Jayda Parrish
We finally have a theme! After a considerable amount of brainstorming and narrowing down our vision for this semester, we have decided that our theme will be on “unity.” The idea is that “Unity is Strength” and more can be accomplished by a team with a common goal, than individuals. This theme is perfect because it merges our desire to be a part of the program as well as the structure of GLOBE itself. During a time when the country seems to be most divided, unity is what we all need right now. I think it’s fitting.
Additionally, I am still finding that the assigned readings are engaging, and I learn something new every week. It feels more like a deep dive into the real world. For this week’s group project, we were assigned a chapter on gender. As a woman of color who enjoys reading about women empowerment, I’m always drawn into understanding how microfinance plays a pivotal role in the lives of women. I was fascinated by the idea that a tool like microfinance can provide so much to a woman who might have originally believed that her sole purpose in life was to bear children and take care of the household. The readings provide me a glimpse into the real-life effects of microfinance in the lives of these remarkable women. Due to external factors, like health and social climate, microfinance may not be a viable option for some women, but I’m hopeful that the future will bring with its new social norms.
Lastly, I’m so grateful to be in this program. As I reflect upon my last week and look into everything I have scheduled, I feel that this is where I have the most opportunity to make a change. This year has brought a new set of challenges, but I am still just as excited about GLOBE as when I first applied. My team and I are starting to make progress and I have a good feeling about the remainder of this semester.
By: Hiwetay Haile
This week we discussed the pros and cons around microfinance. There are many difficulties that investors face and there are many cultural barriers. A major issue addressed in this week’s reading has been trying to find long term solutions and establish social businesses. A huge theme in what can be considered, successful or impactful microfinance is the consideration of a country’s skills. Many companies come in simply to take advantage of a struggling society and use them for their own benefit. This does not allow for structural and economic growth. This also dilutes the skills and values of the impoverished country. This issue goes hand-in-hand with the issue of profit-based business, and specifically microfinance.
Yunus often discusses the importance of social business. The consideration of all parts of life are crucial for understanding how to approach different countries. The concept of social business allows for businesses that are set to aid in the fulfillment of basic needs and circulate revenue that can eventually be reinvested into the country. For many major companies and sponsors, this is not attractive because their main goal is not aid, it is profit. This narrative needs to shift in order to achieve the mission of microfinance. Even Yunus struggled in his mission with Telenor because they later on decided they did want the shares to be returned to citizens. This is very important to consider because even an incredible plan and goal like Yunus’ can be hindered by a company that is attracted to profit.
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
By: Husna Bedar
This week we have completed four of our loan recommendation applications and each one of them has made me feel connected with the borrower. Each member of our team was responsible for one loan application to complete in order to fully grasp the concept of how the loan recommendation works. The application that I worked on was a borrower who was expanding their business of selling secondhand clothes in Guatemala. While working on this loan I feel like I truly know a lot about my borrower and makes me feel like I know her personally. Reviewing the loan application, I began to understand the lifestyle the borrower has, having information about who she lives with, her annual income, and a brief background about her. GLOBE has allowed me to review actual loan application and suggest the loan amount and the payback period for borrowers, it’s an amazing opportunity because it allows me to make a decision based on what the borrower will ultimately benefit from, not what will allow us to make a profit.
With my team members this week we were able to discuss each one of our borrowers and the recommendation we thought was best fit for them. It was interesting to see how we each came to a decision based on the borrower’s type of business if it was new or they were expanding, and the best chance they had of paying their loan back. Our team also decided that since we were finalizing our loan recommendation it would be a good time to schedule a meeting with the Steering Committee in order to present our recommendations. As a team, we also discussed creating a template for different payback periods for future GLOBE managers. This template will allow future managers to be able to efficiently make the decision of what payback period would be best for their borrowers.
It’s awesome to see how impactful this program is on the lives of so many people around the world. I thought this week familiarized me more with all our borrowers through their loan application and made me feel like I’m truly making a difference in their lives through GLOBE.
Enterprise Development & Program Impact Audit Team
By: Nicolette Daisley
Log # 4
Like I mentioned in my previous log, it is especially important to me that I fine-tune my professional skills in GLOBE. It is currently the only ‘real-world’ class that I have, and I want to take full advantage of all that is offered to me. One of the most nerve-wracking things in this week’s class was the oral summary. In my future career endeavors, I intend to speak in front of large crowds, give presentations to investors, and generally be heavily involved in public speaking. As such, I do not take our oral summaries lightly. I genuinely believe it is the best way to practice public speaking, and as such, each oral summary is more than just an assignment to me. If I cannot adequately and clearly express my chapter summaries to my classmates in a manner that they understand and retain the information disseminated to them, then how am I to get investors to trust me with their money? Or government regulators to use data I provide in their policy reforms? Public speaking is simply a must in any industry, and I would like to take any opportunity I have to perfect it.
Often when I am faced with a presentation, I am automatically nervous about forgetting the information. I try my absolute best to only look at the slides as a jumpstart to my talking points, the information that follows is always entirely from the top of my head. Although I am confident, I know the information, my anxiety tends to get so unmanageable that the physical effects of my nerves make it difficult for me to give a smooth presentation. Further, I have an accent. There is nothing I can, nor want to do to change that, however, my people speak naturally fast, and as such often when I speak my anxiety and accent cause the words to overflow from my mouth. In addition to this, proper body language is another challenge for me. I am sure this is common amongst everyone but when I stand in front of a group of people, I become very conscious of my body. Not in the way I look physically but I feel like I have all this extra body that I do not know what to do with, cause all that is needed is my mouth. This week, I was heavily focused on slowing down my speech and articulating my words. I also gently reminded myself a few times throughout my presentation to keep my hands in front of my lap, away from my pockets. I am confident by the semester’s end, my public speaking skills would improve greatly, and my professional attributes very finely tuned.
By: Shane McGovern
As GLOBE continues to fly by, at what seems to be exceeding rates, for this Fall semester, I begin to acknowledge what my future will be post GLOBE. I would expect that not only will I feel accomplished with my work as a GLOBE manager and Team Liaison for The Marketing and Fundraising Team, but I will feel more insightful on issues that matter to me most. I feel as though, to date, my passion for this class has grown immensely since our first day in class. I once thought I had answers on what it means to be involved in something that is greater than myself, but little did I know I was wrong.
GLOBE has shown me what it means to strive for change in the lives of others. It has demonstrated what it means to have a commitment, dedication, and passion for something you truly care about. Since GLOBE has taken on its role in my life, I have continuously practiced all of these, and through doing so I have grown as a professional and individual. Each class, I gain further insight into every aspect that there is to microfinance. I find the ethics aspect to be the most interesting. We all act on the same situation differently due to the way we think and see the bigger picture. Outside of class, I learn how to hold my weight for my team and address the objectives we have and how to ultimately achieve them in the long run, delegating to the higher-ups on how we want to proceed with achieving what it is we set out to do. GLOBE has been pivotal for my growth as a person overall and gives true value to a college education. To strive under such a program is my goal, right now I feel I am achieving that. For the future, I hope to uphold and even improve my reputation with the program.
By: Kayley Wood
This week’s discussion board topic really gave me a lot to think about. We talked about ethical microfinance, some of the shortfalls of organizations, and if this was the only solution to eradicate poverty. There were a lot of good points raised in everyone’s discussion that really made me think. I started thinking about my position paper topic, how to make the impact of nonprofits organizations sustainable. Obviously, microfinance serves a huge role in this as it provides people with the means to earn an income from the skills they have and work themselves out of poverty. However, I am of the opinion that this is by no means the only solution.
There are so many different problems within poverty, both causing and sustaining it, that it would not be possible for a “one size fits all” solution. Every area has different needs, and that means the need you start with isn’t always the same. I feel that often we are of the opinion that what we are doing is the most important, or the right way. I think this needs to change to a broader view, trying to see the bigger picture of what you are doing. Every organization has its place in this fight, whether we are doing different things or the same things everyone is needed. It’s important to see that every organization ultimately has the same goal and the only way we get there to work together and help solve the problem.
By: Dylan Willis
As the class has progressed, in responsibility, information, and depth, the benefits of what we are doing have become increasingly clear. These benefits are for both us, the students, and most importantly our borrowers. We as a team have been able to master communication amongst each other and provide advice for one another regarding tasks. Every week we are learning about the impact of our work on the borrowers, and just how crucial it is. The need for microfinance in these locations is now more than ever essential in the livelihoods of our borrowers because of the COVID-19 effects. In my Economics class, we are learning about how the inequality gap is widening, and the poorest countries and their citizens are suffering the most. With all sources of income coming to a complete halt and very little government assistance, they have been placed in a hole that seems unfathomable for them to get out. Though the worst part is it seems as if this is only the beginning of the impact as this will affect the generations after them.
I altered my position paper topic accordingly; I am now focused on the education perspective in poverty since this is where the COVID-19 impact will have its greatest effect. These impoverished people not being able to provide a substantial education for their kids will have a lingering effect on their development and overall success in life. The connections between poverty and education are stark and have been thoroughly observed in data. A microloan could create some sort of revenue to send their kids to school, which in turn would make that child more valuable in the future.
The combination of my Economics of Poverty and Income Inequality class and GLOBE could not be more of a perfect combination. The topics are very similar, though my Economics class goes more in depth on the statistics of what alleviates property and what increases it. The sources I have used in my economics class will be imperative for my position paper to further my knowledge on the subject and I believe I will have a true understanding of poverty and its correlation to education. I’m excited to dive deeper into this topic!
Enterprise Development & Program Impact Audits Team
By: Chris Bernabe
This week we finally finished our audit for the class, and most importantly we were on track with our objective of rolling it out on October 6th. We decided to use Google Forms because it was easiest to navigate and kept track of all the data using excel sheets. Running through various test runs, we as a team decided that our audit was easy to use, uncomplicated and could be easily tracked. We used a linear line scale to track how well teams felt about the progress of their objectives, while also leaving room to answer questions about how they felt about the team’s chemistry and what improvements can be made. Seeing how all the data could be compiled it made me realize how important this information is.
Auditing is the sleeping backbone of any business/organization. It holds people accountable and keeps people on track with their goals. It is easy to lose sight and to stay on track especially with a mission as large as GLOBE’s. With all the data put in a way that allowed me to understand where we as a team could improve upon and maintain. Our own audit made me realize that we were strong internally with making an easy-to-navigate audit and keeping consistent contact with other teams within the class, but our external goals are not as on track as I hoped we would be. We still need to establish the groundwork for expanding into another country, contact previous GLOBE borrowers for testimonials, review, and revise pre and post loan surveys, and evaluate the effects of the pandemic on our borrowers. I believe we have done a great job internally within our class, but to help develop those we serve, more work needs to be done. Sometimes when you take a step back, you take two steps forward. The audit is something I am grateful for because it woke me up and made me realize that I must keep pushing forward. It made me realize that I must hold myself accountable and do what I came to GLOBE to do. The drive and ambition may wear off a bit, but this is a moment where I got to see where I was. Seeing where I was made me realize that I need to do more. Am I fearful about not getting our objectives done? Of course not. But am I prioritizing my schoolwork and GLOBE now? 100%.
By: Justine Pascual
"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."
– Phil Jackson
Today was the first audit and now I understand the importance of checking in on each of your team members. Before today I never really understood the significance of an audit but as we were going down our objectives, I found that knowing everyone’s individual thought on the status of a project was crucial for everyone to be on the same page.
When thinking back to my high school years when I was a Senior class secretary, I thought having an audit would have made our senior year more successful. I remember that my fellow class officers found it difficult to collaborate with other committees because we would overwhelm ourselves with numerous projects and fundraisers that we would inevitably lose track of projects we had already planned. If I were to go back and change something, I would suggest having an audit team in the ASB class in general.
The role of the audit team can also relate to our campaign theme “UNITY IS STRENGTH” because without an audit to check up on teams it would be easier for teams to lose track of their objectives. In addition to checking up on the status of objectives, they also focus on the feelings of the individual team member and how they feel about either their team or their team’s progress of a specific objective.
Ensuring unity amongst team members will only bring stability and strength in the team creating opportunity for more successful outcomes. Since we are totally different people with different backgrounds, we all have different mindsets. This can seem daunting at first but as we begin to acknowledge our individual strength and how it can benefit the team as a whole, all of our fear of working with strangers is suddenly not a problem anymore. Instead, with a more diverse team with different skills can only make a team stronger. This mindset of “unity is strength” will forever have an impact on my future career as being in the business field will always deal with collaborating with people from different background, culture, skillset, and etc.
Another week of GLOBE has come to an end. Time is flying by and it has been a great experience so far. Being a manager for GLOBE has been helping me develop a lot of professional skills. Consistently monitoring my emails is a new routine, my communication and presentation skills have also been put to the test and I have gotten more comfortable with public speaking which is crucial in my future career. This class has challenged me to complete all my requirements by a specific deadline. Dr. Sama teaches a strict course and pushes us as a boss would in the real world. I appreciate her honesty in acknowledging my weakness and strengths. I’m thankful to be a part of an organization that pushes me past my limits and prepares me for life after college.
We are social entrepreneurs as students that are facing and changing GLOBE with our ideas and actions. This week’s chapter on “Social Entrepreneurship,” began with a quote from Bill Drayton. It talks about how social entrepreneurs address the world’s biggest problem as an opportunity through innovation to transform lives. As GLOBE managers, this is exactly what we are striving for in alleviating poverty through microfinance.
I have completed my first round of auditing and can see that our team has been fulfilling our objectives. Upon our meeting with the Enterprise Development team, we realize that we need to pick up on a few of our objectives, so we are steadily on track to meet them by their designated due date. Our team has been promoting the purpose and the meaning of GLOBE across all social media platforms. We have seen our following and engagement slowly increasing, especially with our Manager Monday and national days of the month posts. I have taken on the responsibility of running our LinkedIn account and have noticed some positive engagement so far. Hopefully, this will be a platform that future GLOBE managers will continue to utilize. Last but not least, we have completed our midterm assessment in class. I felt like I was prepared and knew a lot of the information as I had seen it before. Overall, there is still a lot of work to do but I’m looking forward to it!
By: Abigail Guzman
Our Steering Committee Meeting was a success! After much preparation, we all presented our goals to the group of experienced administrators and the finance team’s loan recommendations were all approved. We are all very excited that the applicants will be receiving their loans soon and be able to start their business endeavors. Another piece of good news is that the money from prior repaid loans will be enough to cover the new loan amounts in Vietnam. I believe that this is a clear sign that GLOBE has been able to expand and grow because we have reached a point where wiring new money to the countries, we are active in is not always necessary more than once. During our meeting, I also enjoyed listening to other GLOBE teams present their goals and progress so far. During class and throughout the week, all the managers are busy with their own objectives and assignments, but this meeting gave us the opportunity to listen and learn with each other. I was especially intrigued by the possible expansion into a new country for GLOBE. The Enterprise and Development team received wonderful feedback on the possibilities of moving into a new country. Madagascar was mentioned as a possibility and I thought about how interesting new businesses there must be and how lucky future managers will be to work with borrowers there!
As we move towards the second half of the semester, we have received four new loans from Guatemala. I look forward to working with my team on learning about these new individuals and how we can help them. The team has also read an article about Microfinance in Nigeria this week, more specifically Islamic Microfinance Institutions. I learned that charging interest is against Shariah’s law which is a challenge some MFI’s must learn to work with. I realized how microfinance must adapt to different cultures and belief systems in order to reach its full potential and truly help alleviate poverty. As MFI’s continue to grow and expand, there could quite possibly be many forms of institutions depending on the culture of an area. In my economic history class, we read a piece by a historian that explains how culture directly affects economic systems. We can also apply that logic with Microfinance. Unless MFIs (GLOBE included) are aware of the cultural set up of a place or group of people, the full ability of microfinance and its work in helping those in poverty cannot be unlocked.
By: Nicolas Bermudez
This week, in one of my other courses, we discussed the issue of how Capitalism contributes to climate change through its profit maximization policy. Again, many of the topics touched on what we talk about in GLOBE, and particularly this week the chapter we had to read was highly related to this issue. There is no denying that we’ve been living unsustainably for a few centuries now. The Earth simply can’t regenerate the resources we take from it; and this includes soil for agriculture. The idea of family-run farms that our parents grew up with has been sold off to conglomerates. The sad truth is that small scale farming wouldn’t be able to sustain our consumption rate. Instead, we now have agribusiness and monocropping that produce higher yields, but at a cost. However, there has been a slight increase in organic farms (especially in developed countries) for local production. These offer sustainable methods but, of course, produce lower yields. Essentially, this practice (across any industry) seeks to look away from mainstream product retailers/suppliers and produce locally. And just like in GLOBE, this speaks about sourcing for alternative routes that create a higher impact for future wellbeing.
We need to stop being dependent on world-suppliers to change our course of demand and instead be open to individual-driven alternatives. This may seem somewhat unachievable, but it’s been proven effective in the garment & fashion industry. But what does all this have to do with GLOBE? Well, the idea of innovation and promoting sustainability over commercial interests. I believe microfinance can (and is already doing its part) in providing alternative routes for satisfying consumption in a sustainable manner. Many developing countries have had tremendous growth rates during these past decades but at severe environmental costs. What is referred to as uncontrolled growth (something we’ve normalized under Capitalism) has left sequels that may be too deep to undo. But at a microeconomic level, MFIs are one of the oars that have contributed to the decrease in poverty. Even though countries become richer their HDIs often don’t improve at the same rate. A higher GDP doesn’t translate into better living standards for the population. This is because of unequal wealth accumulation. MFIs help the large minorities seek alternative sources of income without having to enroll in (for example) exploitive factory work. To us in the modern world, the selling of baskets may not seem much of entrepreneurship but in the reality of developing countries, it opens the door to economic and social independence, the start of a new life. Ultimately, it’s all a matter of scale… but smaller is often better.
This past week we had the honor of the meeting with the steering committee with the intention of getting our objectives examined further and our loans approved for administrating. The whole of the steering committee meeting felt so mature and professional, it was one of the first times I had a truly authentic business transition. To take a post on such an enriching opportunity showed me the power that these people have, they have the ability to look at all of our work we’ve created for the semester and easily talk about how they feel there can be some adjustments in which we must comply.
During the meeting, I also found interests in not only the marketing and fundraising teams’ objectives but the enterprise and development team as well. They discussed their want to expand to GLOBE to a new country and members on the steering did not disappoint as they actually had connections to two of the three counties in which they were looking into Ethiopia and Madagascar, amazing. To witness that proved to me how serious these people are when it comes to making our impact happen, it inspires me to work even harder to make them aware of the fact that their work is being respected by all the managers in our work. I hope to make them proud to come to our final presentation.
I really enjoyed the reading this week. My Team was assigned Chapter 8 of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. The author discusses social change and the movement of ideas. He emphasizes that the growth of a new idea needs time and promoters. The lengthy nature of social change has been a major discussion topic within my family recently because of the upcoming election. We are constantly debating on the causes and solutions for systematic issues. Although we agree on general issues, I have a bit more of a radical belief system. They are constantly telling me I am too idealistic and have unrealistic goals, but I really don’t. I recognize that my ideas for social change require systematic solutions because they are very complex problems. I also emphasize the argument that many issues seem unattainable because money is not being invested and how quickly things can change when they are. People refuse to recognize how much power social media and advertisements skew our perceptions of reality. For example, the campaign to end smoking. This is an incredible example of the power public officials and the media hold. At one point in time, even doctors were telling us to smoke because of the money being invested from big tobacco, but when the health side effects became so obvious, the law had to change. This change began in 1965 and in the early 2000s, we began to see major legislative change and completely new norms. Smoking so ingrained into our society but only took about 40 years to make us hate it. There are still smokers and a myriad of other awful things people put in their bodies, but many people do recognize the extraordinary nature of this shift.
I think it can be very frustrating for many people because so many problems seem too complex, but it is important to recognize things that took thousands of years to build cannot be dismantled in a few years. It is important for people to understand the more long-term goals and solutions for social problems, so they know how to help. We have learned how long microfinance needs to be applied to a country before it can even make a dent on poverty. We have also discussed how we can educate people on microfinance and shift the culture around poverty. Microfinance and other social entrepreneurs deserve more money, regulations, and overall social attention. This could help people understand how they can help alleviate poverty and the core issues surrounding it.