Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The Fall 2019 student teams include Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits; and Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment; Marketing and Fundraising Team; and Technology and Communications Team.
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team: Anoosha Hamid, Vanessa LaCascia*, Michael Perez, Bipan Sarker
Finance and Risk Assessment Team: Kinga Kruszewska, Brandon Mahabir, Jennifer Medna, Christian Rega*, Brandon SinghMarketing and Fundraising Team: Zachary Goslin, Mark LaVilla, Abby Leadbetter*, Melina ZanfardinoTechnology and Communications Team: Abigail LoManto, Ariel Laura Metayer, Diamond Powell, Juliana Vosilla**Team Liaisons
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
By: Jennifer Medna
It is crazy how fast two weeks of GLOBE has already passed by. I have learned so much about health, poverty, microfinance, women empowerment in such a short amount of time span. It felt like it was only yesterday when I learned about GLOBE. When I first learned about GLOBE, I was attracted to the mission of “building a global community that contributes to the goal of eradicating poverty” and its impact on its borrowers. As soon as I learned more about the program fall of my junior year, I automatically knew that I couldn’t apply due to how restrictive the risk management and insurance curriculum was. So I decided to push GLOBE to the back of my brain for that year. When my best friend of seven years joined the class for that spring semester and I saw how much it has impacted her and changed her outlook on life. Automatically, I applied to GLOBE and spoke to my dean. We managed to work something out where I can take the class. Although GLOBE will not go towards my degree, I know in my heart that I am supposed to be in this amazing program.
In life, I believe that timing is everything. During the spring of 2019, I participated in a short term study abroad program in Greece. The main focus of the class was to study the Greek economy and how the refugee crisis impacted the country. One of the components of the trip was volunteering at the Social House of Caritas Hellas in Athens, Greece, which was a home for refugees. We sat down and spoke with them about their journey to Greece and their trials and tribulations in the country. Many of them were around our group’s age (early 20s) and trying to make a better life for their families. Based on our conversation with them, I learned that they had so many responsibilities compared to us. Many of them were looking for employment, but unemployment is still very high in Greece due to the financial crisis in 2007. As a result, the group created a tourism company where each of them acted as travel guides. When I heard of their business I automatically thought of GLOBE and how a very small loan would improve their life for the better. Not only would the loan help their families it would expand their business. This prompted me to apply GLOBE at the end of the spring semester and to what to learn first-hand how a microloan can help someone in a different country.
In our first class, Dr. Sama said something that will always stick with me. It is also something I have experienced first-hand. She stated that people living in poverty are very happy. When she said that it automatically stuck a chord with me because when I volunteered in Ghana I saw exactly that. I had the opportunity to meet a 100-year-old woman with perfect blood pressure in a community called Suprodo. She was only walking with minor limp and cane. The 100-year-old woman was very gal and hearty and even told jokes to the translator to us, which made us all laugh. Another example was the kids. They were very boisterous and full of life running around playing games. By the end of the trip, I had even learned a couple of hand games or two and was invited to play. Playing with these children was hands down one of the best experiences of my trip. Although they may be living in poverty that does mean that they don’t find ways to enjoy life. Their happiness was so contagious that I can’t help but smile when I think of them.
After those two experiences, I knew that GLOBE was the program for me. Being able to volunteer in two different countries abroad has given me a sense of appreciation for what I will be doing on the Finance and Risk Assessment team. Behind every loan application that we receive, I know that there is a story waiting to be discovered. I am very excited to be that person that not only makes sure their story gets heard but will cause a positive impact on their lives.
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team
By: Bipan Sarker
As the beginning weeks of GLOBE come to an end and the work begins, I wanted to take this time to think about what I’ve learned so far and what I expect to take away from this program. Learning some of the background knowledge on microcredit, Grameen Bank, and the other examples of it were very helpful. These lessons helped lay a foundation for our learning and our actions. Not only did it help set a foundation but it also inspired me and got me motivated in the next steps of GLOBE. Knowing the mission of Yunus and seeing how GLOBE adopted a similar mission, knowing these extra details about what we were doing really helped me gear my mindset into the best possible job.
When our class initially met Dr. Sama stressed to us that now that GLOBE was a decade old, she wanted our team to focus on what drastic changes we could implement to develop the enterprise and business of GLOBE. For this reason, we based a lot of development GLOBEs on the post loan auditing as well as ways we can help our sponsored entrepreneurs diversify and maintain their businesses. Some of our objectives include creating rudimentary financial reporting sheets for borrowers, updating post loan audit questions to reflect on the borrowers’ business, and also taking an environmental analysis of the areas we are working to help our borrowers’ budget correctly and also diversify their businesses. Past GLOBE managers have told us that we should try to keep our goals as realistic as possible and not take on too much. Although our goals are high seeking and do require a lot of legwork, I believe that these goals would be great implementations to the GLOBE ecosystem. These ideas will not only help our borrowers but it will help us assess loan applications and our impact much more effectively.
At this point, we also had to think of our position paper topics for GLOBE. The topic I’m thinking about exploring is a case study on two microfinance initiatives by large corporations. One of them I’m considering is the 10,000 Women Initiative by Goldman Sachs. This program helped foster economic growth and promote female entrepreneurs by helping women network, maintain their education, and other opportunities. I wanted to explore this topic because I’m interested in what microfinance has become in the realm of large corporate companies. Has the mission changed? Are there ulterior motives? Is it overall a good cause by these companies? These are all questions I believe many people have and I believe with a case study we can try to find some answers.
Marketing and Fundraising Team
By: Abby Leadbetter
When we started getting emails over the summer saying how intensive the workload was going to be, not going to lie I was a little scared. Yet I knew this class was going to be good for me in the long run, so I made it a goal to make time management a key thing for me this semester. When I went and bought my books from Lina, she showed me a book called Half the Sky. She told me it wasn’t mandatory, but I decided to buy it anyway, solely because it looked like a good book.
I looked at our reading requirements for the summer, and I pretty much ignored them, and I am happy I did. I avoided the other books until I got a little bit into Half the Sky, solely because there was something about it that drew me in. I am happy I did this because Half the Sky made the other readings a lot deeper for me because this book discusses young girl’s horrific lives and what they had to go through. Then it explains how microfinance helped them later on. I was shocked as to how many young girls go off to foreign lands to better their lives, just to have it unexpectedly made worse. It made me take a step back and realize how many things there are that we take for granted every day.
As I sat in class for the previous two weeks that book was the one thing in the back of my mind, along with all of the other stories that we have been told. I realized that this needed to be a priority because helping people help themselves is a beautiful thing and that is what GLOBE is all about. The loans aren’t a handout it teaches the borrows an immense amount of valuable skills that they are able to pass along to their children. When people say knowledge is power this is what I believe they are talking about. That once someone in a family has knowledge, they are able to educate their children and so on and so forth until they are able to lift themselves out of a situation that they no longer want to be in. And all of that starts with us, it starts with GLOBE, which is why I am no longer scared of what the semester is going to bring, I am excited to see what we are going to able to do.
Technology and Communications Team
By: Abigail LoManto
I am proud to say that I am a new GLOBE manager. I have only been in class for two weeks, but I can already say that I am very happy with my decision to apply for GLOBE. As a marketing major, I am excited to be able to use the skills I have learned in class and in various internships to be able to help those in need. The marketplace often gets a bad reputation, so it is nice to be able to connect with others who are using their knowledge to help change the world.
I am even more excited to be a part of this class after learning more about Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance. Microfinance involves giving out small loans to entrepreneurs and allowing them to make money for themselves by starting a business. Microfinance is not charity. It is a dignified way to help someone get back on their feet. I have learned from the readings that Muhammad Yunus is truly a special person. We all hear about poverty and some of us even see it first hand. It can be easy to feel sorry for these people, yet do nothing to help them. Muhammad Yunus saw the problems within his home country and around the world, and he actually went out to find a solution to these problems. It made me realize that there are no perfect solutions to poverty, but it is still vital to work towards its end. In this class, we each have a small part in helping to change the lives of individuals across the world. I think it is important to act when we see others suffering, and it should be our mission to act unselfishly in everything we do.
Within these first two weeks, the Technology and Communications team has been working hard to set objectives for the semester. Our main goal is to increase awareness of GLOBE and increase engagement across all social platforms. With our goals, we hope to be able to teach others about GLOBE’s mission and what they can do to alleviate poverty. My role on the IT team seems very small when you think about how large the issue of poverty is across the world. However, I believe that what we are doing will make a difference, and I am determined to put in the work to reach our goals.
By: Kinga Kruszewska
In my previous log I mentioned how excited I was to meet past GLOBE managers. This time I am happy to say that all my expectations were satisfied. GLOBE alumni not only provided us with valuable insights on how to effectively work on the loan recommendations but also motivated us to go the extra mile and be even more cooperative as a team. Former Finance and Risk Assessment managers shared their downfalls and moments of victory throughout their contribution to poverty alleviation. To our great surprise, each of the former managers mentioned a different method of loan screening as well as the recommendation preparation process they were using as a team. This proves the versatility of the methods used to execute a microloan. However, the most important lesson that we learned from past managers was to look at the applications as though they were individual’s life stories. The former managers explained that even though sometimes certain numbers or information might not provide a clear view of the borrower’s request, we should try not to initially discard them.
The chapter we were assigned to read for the next class focused on the role of government and industry in financial inclusion. Part of the role of government is education and transparency, which varies sporadically in developing nations. The book defines transparency as, “Providers will communicate clear, sufficient, and timely information in a manner and language that clients can understand so that they can make informed decisions.” Having screened the first round of applications, we became concerned about a certain lack of transparency, because the applications were not all filled out properly. We also understood the problem as partly stemming from financial illiteracy. With this in mind, I am glad that we have established one of our objectives to make adjustments in the applications in order to make them more easily understood, in the hope that we receive better data in the future.
By: Anoosha Hamid
In the past week, our Enterprise and Program Impact Audits Team began to take the first few steps toward solidifying our goals and objectives for the semester. Meeting with Dr. Sama before class to go over our objectives allowed us to take a broader look at what we had planned, which in turn has truly given us more direction in the way we are going to delegate and complete our personal assignments. Our team has come up with quite a few strategies that we hope will decrease the retention rates of second-time borrowers. We aim to cater the documents and questionnaires to the individual businesses and the community surrounding them so we can gather a deeper understanding of what the money would be allocated to and suggest what might work best for their environment. The objectives we established really resonate with me because it shows the passion and determination the team has to guarantee growth in this aspect of GLOBE.
Another very helpful conversation stemmed from the GLOBE Alumni that came to speak to us during class last week. Although nobody from our team was physically present, we were ecstatic to speak to the managers that made an effort to speak to us and offer general advice about the course and things they saw with this team during their years. Most importantly, a previous manager was able to FaceTime us and share a ton of information with us about her time on this team and the templates they used. Having such a heavy support system as we process and implement new information has been so helpful in transitioning into our roles as managers.
On a more personal aspect, reading the stories of Muhammad Yunus and his basic philosophy behind microfinance has been so enlightening. It is hard to understand the actual environment of borrowers without seeing or experiencing it for yourself, but his books and his stories give a narrative perspective into the lives of these people and the difference these loans make for them in their lives.
By: Zachary Goslin
This past week we finalized our objectives and goals for the semester. This was in part due to the help of former GLOBE managers who took time out of their busy schedules to visit and help work on these objectives. Also with the help of Lina, we were able to set more accurate and attainable goals for our fundraising events. On top of this, our meeting with Scott went very well. He seemed genuinely interested in our exam care packages and we discussed the logistics of creating a calendar and stickers rather than a thank you lunch for our donors.
Like last week this week’s reading intrigued me. This week the marketing group was tasked with reading chapter seven of The Economics of Microfinance. This chapter focused almost entirely on women borrowers and why they make such good candidates for microloans. As we all know women have never had a fair stake in the business or working world. This is due to outdated notions and beliefs that women cannot yield the same results as men and will only slow business down. This chapter highlights how women are actually more responsible than men and if given the opportunity can actually yield the same if not better returns. This intrigued me because I have four sisters and I know women do not get fair pay even in the United States yet hardly anything ever changes. This chapter talks about studies that demonstrate the capabilities of women and how if given the opportunity can do amazing things. My hope is that one day we can see the error in our ways and fix this issue. I hope this so my sisters, one of which works in an extremely male-dominated field, have the same opportunities to grow in their respective industries and receive the proper pay for whatever it is they do. Going off of this I look forward to learning more about what the women who receive loans from GLOBE have done and continue to do. It is truly extraordinary everything they accomplish when the odds say that nothing can be done.
By: Juliana Vosilla
About a month has passed since I officially began my journey as a GLOBE member. Although in the beginning, I was nervous, this program has already impacted me as a student and individual in several ways. Throughout my life, It was known that there were people all over the world that were less fortunate than I am. I have constantly wanted to help but I did not know how I could truly make a difference. Joining GLOBE has made me feel like I am making a legitimate impact in bettering a life and in some cases a whole community. Throughout the first two weeks, I have learned an immense amount about Microfinance and have received a boost of motivation when it comes to assisting others. With only a few classes under my belt, I have been stunned at the impression this class has created on me.
I have never experienced textbooks or books distributed by professors that have perfectly flowed with the curriculum as well as GLOBE’s has. The weekly readings keep me well engaged, open-minded and influence me consistently to be a better person, not only helping myself but also helping others in any way, shape, or form. Muhammad Yunus and his concepts of Microcredit and Microfinance highly fascinate me because he attempts to alleviate poverty one loan at a time. He is a considerate and heroic leader who used his authority and brilliant mind for good without seeking extreme profit for his actions. This class has inspired me to be a more confident person and has allowed me to openly express my ideas by having us work in teams together. This past week the IT team and the Marketing team met with Scott VanDeusen. It was a very nice conference because it brought all of the strings of running social media together and made me realize exactly what has to be done. New ideas have flourished through this meeting and we have developed pre-existing concepts that were merely proposals on our objectives. The team, as well as Ayana Ibarra, conducted a video conference with Alina Rizvi to discuss how to create Facebook Ads. This opportunity to work synergistically with others is extremely exciting and I am very eager for this upcoming semester with GLOBE.
By: Brandon Singh
Each week Globe continues to expand my knowledge on the impact of Microfinance. This week my team, the Finance and Risk Assessment team presented a class presentation about ways government creates financial inclusion. From the presentation, I learned how financial inclusion gives individuals and businesses an equal opportunity to have affordable financial products and services that meet their needs. Some ways financial inclusion is facilitated by the government is through financial capability, financial literacy, and financial education which makes up the three consumer protection strategies, according to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. However, I think it’s safe to assume that not all governments implement these components in regulating their economy because then poverty rates would be capped and more resources would be offered to those in nations where poverty is the major hardship.
This piece of knowledge helped me to understand the value microfinance plays in the lives of those whose governments do not include financial inclusion in their economy. However, some individuals oppose microfinance and believe it hinders nations through increasing inequality, conflict, violence, and lags between economic growth. Nevertheless, I do not agree with microfinance hindering societies but instead helps to build stability into societies. Having a microloan program like GLOBE helps assist those who have been longing to acquire capital to expand or establish a business. GLOBE and other microfinance intuitions not being able to be active in these nations where government intervention lacks financial inclusion, will continue to leave those who are oppressed with poverty to remain in these conditions leaving them in a repeating cycle. Microfinance is their way out of that cycle and their chance to do more for their businesses and families.
Furthermore, some progress the Finance and Risk Assessment has achieved was complete our first draft of loan recommendations. Now we're currently working on our second recommendation and making good progress which will allow us to have all our Guatemalan recommendations done before we present to the Steering committee. My team and I have been more collaborative with one another this week, allowing us to proofread each other’s recommendations and give suggestions on how we could improve with formatting and help us to be more familiarized when we do the second one. All these experiences these past 3 weeks have helped me to appreciate the value of helping our borrowers, working together with a team, and practicing my public speaking skills. I am looking for what’s to come the following weeks of GLOBE.
By: Bipan Sarker
Today in class we were able to hear from Jim Monnier, specifically about his work with Habitat for Humanity. It was interesting to learn about the work they do to progress their mission of “financial inclusion”, a new umbrella term for what microfinance institutions try to accomplish. Throughout our GLOBE sessions, we’ve had numerous examples of microfinance institutions that we can learn from. One of them is GLOBE, an organization that services microloans and uses the earned interest on these loans to reinvest in the same communities are borrowers are from. Another is Kiva, a platform that allows users to pledge money that can be used by borrowers. One of the critiques about Kiva is that there is a lack of transparency about the interest rates and the institutions that service the loans on your behalf. Grameen Bank is another example, Muhammad Yunus’s organization that services loans in developing places such as Bangladesh. Although it’s rewarding to learn about these microfinance institutions in our class sessions, I do think it is hard to fully grasp an understanding of the impact that goes beyond reported statistics.
For this reason, it was interesting learning about Habitat for Humanity and their nuanced approach to tackling financial inclusion. One of the points that stood out to me was Monnier’s case in Buenos Aires. He pointed out the lack of regulation in these places compared to the United States. There are many illegal apartments and thus a lack of permanent housing situations for renters. If a renter is caught living in an illegal apartment, not only are they forced out of where they live but they also have no viable credit to use to search for a new home to rent. Habitat for Humanity’s approach to this is creating their own apartments that act as short-term rentals, usually below the market rate. By living in these apartments, not only are citizens of Buenos Aires able to receive affordable housing but they are also able to start building their credit so that in the future Habitat for Humanity can act as a sponsor, confirming that the tenant has good credit. This is a good way of Habitat for Humanity not only maintaining their operations and generating streams of income, but they also are able to help citizens and most importantly, give them the opportunity to create some sort of foundation for themselves so that they can progress even after Habitat for Humanity’s involvement. I thought their model of requiring potential habitat homeowners to volunteer their help building homes was interesting as well. This has an exponential effect, allowing potential homeowners to qualify for a mortgage but also at the same time setting up another position for a future client. Much like Monnier said this is a hand up gesture not a handout. Not only does it make sense in their action plan but it also definitely fosters a sense of community, one that can supersede location and stretches beyond all members involved with Habitat for Humanity.
It was nice to see a financial inclusion institution that didn’t seem to just solve the superficial needs of their demographic. I can see that it would be easily possible for institutions to go into areas and run away with interest. Yes, they do solve some issues for their clients but do they help their clients grow? It is easy to give your clients a product they need but will they be able to progress without that as well? Habitat for Humanity is a good example of an institution that isn’t just focused on immediate changes but is also focused on changing habits, financial understanding, credit history, etc.
This past week we started to get the ball rolling on Treat for Change. We had people sign up for when they can work the tables or walk around asking for change. Everyone also signed up to bring candy and what they will bake. The more we talk about how we are going to execute this event the more excited I am getting. I have been a part of fundraising events before, whether it be working the event or partaking in the event. Never have I been this involved in organizing the event. While it can be stressful and we won’t really know how successful everything was until after all is said and done I still remain optimistic.
While researching my position paper topic I came across an interesting point. This point was that sometimes giving a microloan to someone living below the poverty line is more is riskier than lending to someone who lives in poverty. It went on to say that the reason for this that people with more wealth tend to make riskier investments. This stuck with me because I always knew that the wealthier one is the more opportunities they have. I never thought about it as taking more risks than those who are less fortunate. It caused me to reflect on my life and how truly fortunate my position is. I can go to a coffee shop and buy an iced coffee and not have to worry about how I am going to pay for dinner later that night or week. This example of a purchase alone represents an investment that I can personally afford but that many in the world cannot. While this may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things it still stuck out to me. The reason being that many of us do not realize the position we are in and how fortunate we are to have such a simple luxury as purchasing an iced coffee. I see this as one of the many reasons why these loans are so important because we are allowing these people to try and break the cycle of poverty they are in. They are trying to give their children and future generations the opportunity to make the “risky” investments you and I make on a daily basis.
By: Ariel Laura Metayer
When it comes to microfinancing the primary goal should be towards liberation and financial self-sufficiency. During our visit today by Jim Monnier, Senior Development Officer at Habitat for Humanity, and his focus on the rich island of Haïti reminded me of how much desperation resonates throughout the nation. On his most recent trip to the country, he recognized the importance of not solely visiting to build houses but to also create streets, bring about electricity, and establish a curriculum that educates the people on how to apply financial inclusivity in their everyday life.
Technology is an important developmental tool; therefore, his initiative to construct a source of energy, electricity, and a light source in the midst of overlooked cities in Haïti which have been neglected by their own government. The numbers were alarming to me when he had posed us questions, but what struck me the most about his questionnaire was of how many children are without adequate shelter. The answer is 1in 3. One-third of the roughly 2 billion children residing in developing countries are deprived of adequate shelter. On top of that, millions face high mortality rates yearly due to substandard housing and the reverberating consequences they encounter, such as polluted water contaminated with waterborne diseases, poor sanitation, and extreme temperature.
As a GLOBE family, it always seems to fascinate me as I ponder on the positive effects of our work when it comes to our borrowers and their success stories. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that these financial loans empower and sustain families as they shift from poverty to becoming financially secure. This form of equity could be passed on to generations that will follow and magnify the work of their parents who benefited from a system providing financial support and developed accountability amongst themselves.
Learning about the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter emphasized the sense of building and expanding inclusive housing markets both for families in the United States and those living in underdeveloped countries. Additionally, the language of financial inclusivity that was introduced to me during class helped me to understand our collective pursuit of translating financial services into accessible and affordable costs to all individuals and businesses as they seek to address and provide solutions to the constraints that hinder people from taking part in the financial sector. This break down provided a clearer comprehension of how attainable stability, success, and sustainability are when the right amount of resources are in alignment with the pursuit of an individual. GLOBE’s efforts to revitalize neighborhoods are all made possible through the audits we make, the contributors who donate to us, and essentially, through the Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs.
By: Brandon Mahabir
Since my last blog, each member of the Finance team has successfully completed two loan recommendations, totaling 10 completed loan applications. However, our new challenge will be to attempt to complete all outstanding loan applications, as we’ve stated on our objectives list to the Audit team at the beginning of the semester. While this alone won’t be an easy task to complete, it teaches me a lot about real-world responsibilities and workload management.
Last Tuesday, the class had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by a Senior Development Officer for Habitat for Humanity, Jim Monnier. Throughout his presentation, he discussed financial inclusion and what it really took to build a community. Prior to Jim’s presentation, I had always wondered as to why the cities were always so crowded when there are so much more land and homes in the more countryside. I always figured that communities would thrive better if we were able to build more communities and expand areas. While this may be true, Jim’s presentation showed the complications of reality and why that only exists in a perfect world. He put the class into deeper thought as to what it truly took in order to build a community. While most thought about homes being the main focus of community development, he spoke about schools, groceries/food, clean water, electricity, sanitation, etc and how many tend to forget these areas of development. Similar to how Grameen Bank has their checklist as to what qualifies an individual as living under poverty, the goal of the presentation was to question GLOBE on what consists of making a community and what makes it “livable”. It made me realize the actual process of what progress through micro-finance actually looked like. While it may seem easy, the process takes a lot of planning and development and can, in fact, be quite slow, yet rewarding.
Next week, our class will have another guest speaker present, this time a United Nations NGO Congregation of the Mission Representative. I’m very excited to learn more about what drawbacks micro-financing runs into, but more so on its impact in its community. These lectures are especially very rewarding to the class as we are studying real-life case studies based upon what we are reading in our textbook materials, making the course very applicable to the real world.
By: Michael Perez
One of the most inspiring and incredible aspects of GLOBE is hearing about the empowerment of women that microfinance has to offer. Empowering women is extremely important throughout the world, but not every country respect women and give them opportunities to be successful. Whether it is economic or cultural conflicts, women have a lot more difficulties in countries throughout the world. The United States is not perfect in the way it treats women, but sometimes it makes me forget that there are a lot of unfortunate women around the world. These stories remind me of my mom. She was a single mom supporting two kids but didn’t let that stop her from achieving success. Obviously, my mom’s struggle does not compare to the stories we hear about in GLOBE, but it makes me a lot more appreciative of what she did.
Last week in GLOBE we also had Jim Monnier, from Habitat for Humanity, speak to us and he made a lot of interesting points. The main takeaway I had was how economics/politics have such an impact on the way of life in a society. For example, Monnier talked about how the people of Argentina cannot rent or buy land unless they have owned or rented before. This was interesting to me because I am Argentinian and I did not know about this, granted I have not been there before it is weird to think I was only one generation away from growing up in this situation.
These two topics are what makes GLOBE so amazing because it is so humbling and informative. I have really enjoyed every part of GLOBE and know it is only going to be uphill for the rest of the semester.
By: Melina Zanfardino
This past week has been a little bit stressful with midterms and different objectives that needed to get done for upcoming projects/ events. My team and I have been hard at work reaching out to vendors, creating flyers and thinking of different things to make our fundraisers as successful as possible! One thing that happened this week really made me grateful and positively reflect on this class as a whole. On Monday I attended the information session for prospective GLOBE students and it was more rewarding than I could have ever thought. After the initial session when we were mingling and informing the guests, Brandon on the Finance team and I spoke with one young lady. Together we answered her questions and were building off of one another about the different aspects we loved about the class and the struggles we are facing on our respective teams. Both inside and out of class I have been very connected to my team members, but I haven’t gotten the chance to connect with students on other teams in the same way. The guest was really excited and grateful for the feedback that we both were able to provide for her. After she left me and Brandon both laughed and high fived each other for the great informative conversation we had with her! We then informally introduced ourselves and mentioned how it was nice to work together and network in an informal setting rather than what we have learned from one another in our first-day introductions. This interaction left an impression on me because it reminded me that I am working in this class with very intelligent like-minded students. We all have the same goal and I really feel that the bonds I make with people I meet and connect within this class will go way further than this semester!
While beginning this week's log, I have heavily reflected on my past experiences of GLOBE. I have been actively talking about and starting a discussion with my friends regarding the mission of GLOBE, encouraging everyone to join. The curiosity of my friends when I explain the program gives me a sense of accomplishment. It humbles me and makes me realize that I am involved in a program that is actually making a difference. During my Women on Wall Street organization body meeting this past week, I mentioned the program to the upperclassmen members and they gave me their undivided attention as their eyes filled with interest. They asked me various questions regarding the class, asking if it is open for everyone and when the next information session is so they can attend. That brought a humbling and wholesome feeling because I was giving others my knowledge and educating them about an important cause that they had no idea existed at St. John’s.
During this week we had the honor of Father Guillermo Campuzano come into class and speak with us. Father Campuzano’s lecture truly impacted me and brought the effects of poverty to a realization. He spoke about how education is a human right, not a privilege and whoever has it has a tremendous responsibility to use that education to change the world for the better. Not everyone has similar opportunities as myself, having the opportunity to go to such a prestigious school while many people around the world don’t even have a roof over their heads or know when the next time they'll be able to eat is. Within my group, the Technology and Communications team is becoming fully engulfed in the GIVECAMPUS and Quadrangle campaigns. We are meeting on our own time to create the blueprints of the campaign video and working for hand and hand with the marketing team to develop our ideas.
By: Anoosha Hamid
Before our class today, the Enterprise Development team had a chance to meet with Dr. Sama to go over a couple of items we were working on. As the semester carries on, our team is continuing to take the steps necessary to create a foundation for future managers. We have drafted different templates and questionnaires for post loan borrowers and aim to gain more insight on the long term effects our loans are having on the borrowers. We hope to fix and implement the changes discussed in our meeting into our actual work, and hopefully will have a more concrete stand soon. Although at times it feels as though our work isn’t translating as well on paper as the other teams, we are confident our research and development will set up a strong groundwork for future borrowers and managers.
During the class we also had our midterm presentations, and I was delighted to hear the wonderful progress finance team has been making. We often hear of the work that goes into filtering out the loans, but their presentation certainly showed us all the steps they’ve been taking. I am glad to see that our borrowers are requesting amounts for more versatile means; hearing of an aspiring travel agent as a borrower was very intriguing and excites me to see what other professions our loans will go towards. I believe it is very important that all managers stay up to date on all correspondence happening between the teams; I already know I am going to be discussing the most recent loan applications with my peers as often as possible to show how interesting and different they get. Coming up next week, we have our first sale and I am ecstatic to be a part of it. I remember I would walk through Marillac and see the GLOBE stand with Halloween decorations and the most adorable cupcakes. One of the previous GLOBE managers, Kenzy Shetta, would always stop me whenever there was a sale going on and would ask me to support the program, which I always did – oh how the tables have turned! I anticipate it will be a wonderful and successful event, and hopefully we will be able to recruit some new members!
By: Christian Rega
As always, tonight’s class really resonated to what we do in GLOBE. Father Guillermo Campuzano came and spoke with us tonight. He came and educated us about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and what they are working on. His presentation was vibrant, full of fun facts and heartwarming stories about his life and the lives of others. His story of his start in America was beautiful. He came into the states dressed a nun so he could evade the corruption in Colombia. During this time, crime was at an all-time high; drug cartels ran the country. His story is the definition of the American dream.
I realized that as a middle-class citizen, I take a lot for granted. I take the ability of owning a car for granted, living under a roof and going to a University as well. He told a story of the time he spoke to little kids in Colombia asking him if highways were an actual structure. This made me think that life isn’t so bad for me. Stressing out for a midterm is not a real stressor compared to what people in impoverished countries go through. I am grateful to hear his story tonight, it will resonate with me for a long time.
By: Mark LaVilla
GLOBE has been a great experience so far, and we are only about halfway done. We have been doing a lot of preparation for our upcoming events and fundraising endeavors, so it is exciting that Treat for Change is right around the corner. This means we finally get to begin chipping away at our goals and the fun is beginning. Things will probably be getting hectic, but I know our team will be able to pull it all together to make sure all our events go as planned and that we reach our goals.
Being a manager for the GLOBE organization has been helping me develop a lot of professional skills. Constantly monitoring my emails is a new habit, and I have been working on my communication skills. Problem-solving and critical thinking are crucial when you have goals you would love to reach. When there are obstacles in our way, we have to find a way around them. For example, I was trying to figure out how we can keep our burgers warm for our fundraiser if they don’t provide warming bags. I remembered that my roommate has a small space heater. It is a very small device but can easily be put into a cooler / bag insulated with tin foil to keep the sandwiches warm.
Although I was unable to attend the last class, I had read up on our guest speaker, Guillermo Campuzano. His bio is very interesting and quite impressive. I think it is very cool experience for the GLOBE students to be able to meet such influential people. These people serve as a role model for many of us. Just like Guillermo, I would like to become an expert in my field and travel the world speaking about it as well as teaching in many higher education institutions.
By: Diamond Powell
In the past week of GLOBE, my team and I began working on our ad campaign for Facebook. Our ad is for ‘Women in Entrepreneurship’ week. We met up last Thursday to work on the text and picture for the ad. We met at 6:30 pm and left at 10:30 pm. We spent four hours bonding and sharing stories with each while of course working on our ad. It was one of the best nights I had and I think it was really beneficial for our team. I think a challenge we faced coming into GLOBE was not knowing each and immediately be put on a team and work together. Team bonding was something I think we should have done a while ago but I am glad we did and I think it will make the rest of the semester go smoother because we have built a connection with each other.
Another thing in the past week was that another GLOBE manager and I, Jennifer, and the GA Ayana, got to speak at a UNICEF general body meeting for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We discussed our own individual definitions of Poverty, how we define Eradicating Poverty, and what was is our #1 Top Priority in Eradicating Poverty. It was a great ice breaker and a chance to use what we are learning in GLOBE to teach others. We then explained what GLOBE was, the different teams and what they do, why we joined GLOBE, and then we opened the floor to answer any questions and pass out flyers and sign-up sheets. Going to this UNICEF event was another great experience for me because I got to know Jennifer, who is on a different team than me and I a chance to get Ayana as well.
Lastly, another exciting thing that happened in GLOBE this week was that we had a guest speaker, Guillermo Campuzano, who works at the United Nations. It was great to hear from him and he gave us a lot of good information. One thing I remember him talking about was that a lot of organizations just send money to countries with concentrated poverty. They never meet with the people to find the real issue and that the money always doesn't help. It made me think about all the ideas I think about to help eradicate poverty but none of them involved the people in those areas. Hearing that made me reconsider how I will go about with non-profits/businesses that is tailored towards helping a certain demographic of people. To make real change, the people in those countries need to be involved because they are only the ones that know what really needs to be changed.
By: Vanessa LaCascia
This semester GLOBE has made tremendous efforts in the process to alleviate poverty. All the teams are continuing to work together and make a difference and spread awareness of GLOBE. Our bake sale was successful the marketing team was able to raise around $500 dollars! Aside from the bake sale we did treat for change. This was one way to inform other students more about GLOBE. I was one of the “treaters”, who wet around handing out the candy in exchange for change that anyone had. Seeing how much others were willing to donate when hearing about what it was going to was amazing. The loose change that everyone wanted to give up because it was “too heavy” is now going on to make an impact in an individual’s life.
Another event we had were two-information sessions. I participated in the one during November. Seeing how more students are interested from a variety of different majors shows how much GLOBE is growing outside just the Peter J. Tobin College of Business. It was cool to share our input on the class to the perspective members and seeing them excited about a class as powerful as GLOBE. We are currently thinking about the future GLOBE class to continue the new ideas that we have implemented this semester!
By: Jennifer Medna
This past week in GLOBE, we had our first steering committee meeting. The emotions that I had for the steering committee meeting were mixed because I was nervous to present the loans but at the same time, I was excited to show all of the work we have accomplished on the Finance and Risk Assessment team. As a team, we presented 15 loans with 13 loans being fully approved. One of my greatest accomplishments so far being in GLOBE, was the approval of 2 loans out of 3 loans, with one loan sent back for more information. As I was sitting in the meeting, I was thinking of the story of each loan applicant and what it meant to me of having the opportunity to represent them. I believe the capability to review the loan applications and give loan recommendations has been one the most rewarding experience in GLOBE on the Finance & Risk Assessment team.
This past Monday, I attended the GLOBE information session during common hour representing as GLOBE manager for the Finance and Risk Assessment team with my fellow team member, Kinga. I had the opportunity to see a familiar friend as well as meet new people. This familiar friend of mines actually traveled to Ghana with me through Global Brigades. It was amazing that we crossed paths because in Ghana we provided healthcare access to two villages through working in student-lead clinics with medical professionals and staff from the community. The work we accomplished in Ghana definitely correlates with GLOBE because we tried to provide a sustainable health system through mobile clinics that allow empowered communities to have access to a thorough check-up, education on hygiene and medication. In GLOBE, one of the contributing factors of why some borrowers default is usually due to health implications. During the informational, Dr. Sama mentioned that understanding public health is important because it allows us to understand the circumstances of the borrower, such as their access to clean water and healthcare. I am going to a hundred percent agree with Dr. Sama on this statement because if borrowers do not have to worry about where they can find clean water or falling sick, the less the likelihood they will default.
This past week we had our first event, Treat for Change. This event went really well despite the fact we missed our goal. It was slightly disheartening that we did not reach the $600 goal, though we weren’t far off after making a little over $500. This being said it was very encouraging seeing how much the class enjoyed the event. For a while, it seemed like no one was particularly excited or that dedicated to the event besides the marketing team, but when the day came everyone did a great job. I had immediate help setting up and didn’t have to assign jobs as I thought I would have had to. I was under the impression that no one wanted to be “treaters” and everyone wanted to work the table, but people were very enthusiastic about walking around. They all came back saying they had fun and asking what else they could do to help. All in all, the class really came together and tried their hardest to sell all of our candy and baked goods.
Currently, my team is working on making the final touches for our fast food event, we are planning the finals care packages, and now have to do our online donations write up. It is a lot to do in a short time but we are taking it day by day and slowly checking one thing at a time off of our checklist. I am confident that we will have a great semester in terms of funds raised when all is said and done. I believe in me and my groups' ability to pull through and execute. I believe this is especially proven after our first and very successful event. I hope everyone brings the same excitement and dedication to our next event as they did for our first.
By: Ariel Laura Metayer
Throughout this past month into November, our primary topic of conversation throughout the residence halls focused on minority college student debt. Throughout the residential programs that I’ve hosted on professional and collegiate development, students expressed their concerns about being a first-generation student having to face the college student debt and loan crisis alone. From having an experience as such myself, I resonated with their uneasiness and discomfort knowing that their future in higher education, here at St. John’s University, is on the verge of prematurely concluding.
It is during times like these that I often consider alternate routes that are sustainable in ensuring that my peers, residents, and friends are able to finance their education without the worry of their education being suspended due to lack of funding. Applying for scholarships, grants, and work-study seems to be a lottery game for some since the population of people simultaneously applying oversaturates the applicant and selection pool. Which leads to me the annual President’s Dinner. I was ecstatic to be invited and nominated by three different departments on campus. It was such a beautiful opportunity to be amongst alumni who are now game changers both in our global market and today’s economy. Our host for that evening was the first woman, and a double minority at that, to be the master of ceremony for such an elite event. That in itself was monumental. As the time approached for donations to be made that would contribute towards the academic welfare of perspective and current St. John’s University students, many donors began to prepare themselves for the large sum of donations that they would give. I, even, noticed that certain people matched the donations of others as if it were a collaborative game. This gave me hope. Within 5 minutes approximately $20k+ was accumulated and in less than an hour, more than what was hoped for was accomplished.
The impact that those donations have on students of SJU reverberates and influences the decision of many throughout their college selection and commitment process. The truth is, these factors of scholarship donations, bring a sense of solace, excitement, and comfort to a family who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to sponsor the advanced education of their child. In effect, this is the mutual impact that GLOBE has on our borrowers. The excitement, the tears of joy, and the dedication to ensuring that their fruit shows forth gratitude to those who found it valuable to invest in their ventures. GLOBE is more than just a course offered to a highly-select few on the campus of St. John’s University. GLOBE breeds opportunity in immeasurable ways that will elevate the lifestyle and future of those who exist and those to follow.
By: Bipan Sarker
Last week, we covered an article that covered the recent microcredit scandals in Guatemala. There have been cases of Guatemalans requesting loans and using them to pay for human traffickers to smuggle them across the U.S. border. Often these people get caught and sent back but now with the risk of defaulting on a loan, they must now request another loan to pay back this one. It leads to a rapid cycle of debts in the worst-case scenario, in the best-case scenario a borrower might be able to enter the United States to attempt to find a job that can help their families back home financially. I can only imagine in the current state of America’s immigration policy that this whole situation can end up being disastrous for immigrants and families.
Reading this article made me question the whole dilemma and the morality behind it all, to the point where I’m not really even too sure how to feel about it. On one end, these people are often fleeing conditions that have plagued much of Latin America such as gang violence, corruption, unethical persecution, etc. When it comes to the issue of borrowers falsely requesting loans to flee these conditions, what should we make of it? When it comes to the use of these funds to migrate from Guatemala to escape these conditions, is the blame on the borrowers? One could argue that these conditions that are in place in much of Latin America are a result of the U.S. exploitation, trade barriers, and overall interference in their affairs. Then on the other side of the argument, I can see how this use of loans can actually just cause more issues for a borrower. This also results in the microcredit institutions’ funds being used inappropriately and taking away from people who need these loans to actually help their businesses. This whole situation is very complex and hard to pinpoint exactly who is in the wrong and what should be done. This article was interesting to read considering the work we do as well as the current state of the affairs of Latin American migrants. It truly makes you think about the argument that if microfinance helps the impoverished, especially if things like these are what migrants will do the escape their situations. Is it a loan that they need or something much more drastic?
This week for GLOBE my team and I were able to work on our two last loan recommendations for Guatemala. Our last two borrowers for Guatemala was Sandra Leonor Mena Hernandez and Zoila America Qinac Garcia. The borrower I worked more closely with was Zoila America Qinac Garcia. She requested a loan amount of $200 to purchase a refrigerator for a new business, allowing her to store her homemade ice cream and ices and help her to sell more. Originally, at the beginning of the semester, my team and I had some questions about Zoila’s application., since on she had left some questions empty. As a result, of this, my team and I had come up with some questions that we gave Dr. Sama to give the Daughters of Charity to contact Zoila. Due to this, we were able to get our questions answered regarding Zoila’s monthly income, whether or not she was married, and if she had children.
The information we received back from the Daughters of Charity was very helpful for my team and I to complete her recommendation. Before the homemade ice cream and icy business, Zoila wanted the loan for her sewing machine. While working on this recommendation, I had liked Zoila's idea of selling homemade ice cream and ices because she planned to market her business via the mouth and placing a platform in front of the house. I believe this is a sustainable business because its different from other borrowers' businesses in Antigua, Guatemala. Since Guatemala’s climate is hot all year round, it will make her a competitive advantage in the neighboring area. Lastly, we had found out Zoila is separated from her husband and this goes back to the idea of empowering women and giving them an equal chance to support themselves and families without a significant other. By having a program, like Globe, we can help those in need to reinforce the positive effects of Microfinance.
Also, this week I learned about Micro-Insurance which to me sounds resourceful because many times, people who take out Microloans sometimes fall ill and cannot remake their payments. Today, we saw a video in class that discussed Micro-Insurance in India, where the insurance called Nirmaya has given many Indian families the opportunity and chance to focus on their business and being covered with health. I think implementing a Micro-Insurance plan is essential with Microfinance institutions because it helps borrowers prevent risks and gives them leverage in maintaining expenses. India’s rural areas and other nations in the world are more limited to health services, making it more difficult for them to have an enabling environment since not everyone in the society have the same access and resources to people who have more money.
Overall, my team and I have made some more progress in updating our loan recommendation and working on the loan application to upload on the Google Form. Other, then that we are working on other objectives and hoping to have them all achieved during Final Presentations.
By: Zachary Goslin
This past week the marketing team finalized several things. We finally have all the items for the finals care packages, we have written our write up for GiveCampus, and we have had the class sign up for the Burger IM fundraiser. This part of the semester is really starting to roll as our objectives are slowly getting knocked off. This is really encouraging as we can finally see all the progress we are making. I am also felt really optimistic when Dr. Sama told us that we could definitely surpass some of our upcoming objectives such as the raffle.
This week we learned about microinsurance, what really stuck with me is the short video we watched at the beginning of class. This organization was offering insurance plans for impoverished families that proved to be very beneficial. It saved one family's daughter from a disease that could have very likely turned fatal. There was another family who enrolled their entire family and extended family besides their daughters into the program and it proved to be a mistake as one daughter was badly burned. This last point especially stuck with me because I feel that we do not always realize how progressive our society really is. It seems unbelievable to not include a woman in family insurance plans or not allow them to make decisions on their own. The cruel reality is that gender equality is very progressive as strange as that sounds. It really shows that everything GLOBE does to empower women is extremely progressive and could really start a change in these patriarchal societies.
Three weeks left of GLOBE and words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience. I have developed much better public speaking skills. Last week, our team had one of our last oral reading summaries. I think overall we have grown a lot as a team but also as individuals in terms of speaking in front of a crowd but also being able to speak with one another. By creating more visuals in our slides it causes us to learn and know the material so we can speak off knowledge and not read word for word off of the slides.
As a team, we are preparing to finish our GIVE Campus and Quadrangle video and still updating our social media and focusing on engagement. Working on our video was super exciting. It is funny to see how we acted off camera versus on camera. I am looking forward to seeing how the video looks on the website and the donations we receive.
I am excited for what the rest of the semester holds. I am sad that it is coming to an end but thankful for the friendships and connections I made. We all came into GLOBE with wanting to make a difference in the front of our minds. But, I think individually we all came out with something greater and a sense of purpose for the rest of our lives.
By: Michael Perez
I work for a midsized accounting firm in NYC called, Marks Paneth LLP. Our slogan is, “Success is Personal”, and I really believe that this slogan can be applied to our borrowers. Success is not something that is going to be given to you or just fall into your lap. Success is something that is earned, and you have the power to do something about it. Many people relate success to being financially wealthy and if you have money then you must be successful. Success can lead to money, but I do not believe that you should judge a person’s success based on their monetary value. For example, my mom got a degree from Hofstra University, got her CPA license, and raised two children basically on her own without a large salary. She does not judge her success based on her paycheck, she judges it based on how she raised us and what she was able to accomplish so far in her life. She has always told me that she is proud of who she is and if she had the chance to go back and do it again, she wouldn’t change a thing.
When our group was putting together our Borrower Success update worksheet, we didn’t want to put too much emphasis on money, rather we wanted to see if their life since the loan has improved. More money obviously helps improve their life since they had such little of it, but we also wanted to hear about their happiness and family life. Money can help, but it isn’t everything. I believe that we shouldn’t judge our borrowers on their monetary growth, but based on the improvement in their quality of life.
This week is a week before Thanksgiving and we are in the final stretch of the semester. I was happy to hear in class that a good number of my fellow GLOBE managers did their current events article on microinsurance. I find this ironic because I was discussing microinsurance the other day with a professor from the School of Risk Management. What I learned from that conversation is that microinsurance is operated in mainly Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, heavily in Ghana and Senegal. I also learned that reinsurers are heavily invested in research and development for microinsurance and most international insurance companies have microinsurance a part of their operations. I am glad to see the impact of last class lecture on my day to day life as well as my fellow classmates.
In today’s lecture, we learned about impact investing, which was my first exposure to this topic. The first quote used for the lecture was by Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and it stated, “impact investors actively seek to place capital in businesses and funds that can harness the positive power of enterprise.” This quote resonated with me because investors are placing investments into social businesses that are changing the world as we speak. Dr. Sama mentioned that she sees our generation of young people, Gen Z, as motivated people that want to make a social impact. I am going have to agree with her because through social media more social issues are transparent and people are able to learn about different causes with a simple click of someone’s reshared post.
The most inspirational part of the class was learning about Jacqueline Novogratz's Blue Sweater Story. I love her story and what she stands for. I believe that everything in life happens at the right timing so the fact that she found her favorite blue sweater that had been given to Goodwill on a boy in Rwanda is amazing. This prompted her to leave corporate finance to start Acumen, an impact investor, which invest in business models that bring needed services to underserved markets. I will definitely read her book “ The Blue Sweater.”
Lastly, GLOBE will be having a fundraiser this Thursday selling BurgerIM’s sliders. I can’t wait to see how this fundraiser will go and I am excited to raise profits for GLOBE this week.
By: Abby Leadbetter
This past week has been very exciting, we were able to launch QuadWrangle and GiveCampus today which is very exciting!
I am a little nervous about both of these campaigns because everyone needs to want to get people to donate. I hope the class has a positive reaction to it tonight when we all sign up to be advocates. This is also the time of year most non-profits are asking for money so I genuinely hope ours sticks out as something different and has a cause that people will want to help.
I have also furthered the research on my paper, and it disheartens me to read all of the different stories of the victims who have gone through sex trafficking. The success stories in which microfinance has helped these individuals are beautiful. What really is upsetting is when they return to these horrible places because they are unintentionally addicted to many different drugs, and they are going through withdrawal. I could never imagine going through that at such a young age and it is truly upsetting that so many girls actually have to.
By: Abigail LoManto
During this week’s class, we watched a video about the effects of microinsurance. Microinsurance is a way for people living in poverty to afford insurance. One family was unable to afford health insurance for all of its members. The parents chose to insure themselves and their son, but they did not insure their daughter. The daughter ended up getting severely burned. Not only did the family have to pay the costs of the medical bills, but they had to deal with the pain and sorrow towards their daughter’s injury. We often hear the phrase, “money can’t buy happiness”. While this is true in many of the cases of our borrowers and the people in poverty who we have encountered, I think that money is still extremely powerful, whether we want to believe it or not. When watching this video, it was clear to me that money has a huge impact on our livelihood. Microfinance has the power to protect families from hunger, poor living conditions, health risks, and much more. Poverty opens up families and individuals to even more suffering and risk. In America, health insurance is something that most people have, and are almost required to have. However, in other countries, especially amongst the poor, investing in health insurance is not a very common priority. It is sad that situations like the one shown in the video occur for so many people.
This lecture on microinsurance also made me think back to a reading from a few weeks ago. The reading from the book Creating a World without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus explained the environmental situation in Bangladesh. This country experiences many natural disasters each year such as monsoons, floods, and storm surges. The people of Bangladesh, many of which are living in extreme poverty, often have to rebuild their lives, their homes, and businesses after a disaster. There are even many fatalities that occur. I could imagine a scenario in which a family lost their home and primary breadwinner after a natural disaster. I think that microinsurance would be a great help for the people in Bangladesh. However, I wonder if the need for microinsurance in Bangladesh is actually being met and whether insurance companies would even be willing to serve these people. As a result of the high risk of disaster in Bangladesh, the premiums may also be very high. I think that it would be important for microinsurers to make insurance feasible for the people in Bangladesh who experience the negative effects of natural disasters.
Yesterday I was very excited to attend the Henry George Lecture Series, “Good Economics for Hard Times” with Nobel peace prize winner Esther Duflo! As Dr. Sama mentioned in class today, it is so important to attend lecture series like these whenever possible because opportunities like this do not come around often. As a graduating senior, I see the perks of trying to reap all the benefits that the university has to offer and I am very glad I was able to do so with this lecture. Having gone in with no prior knowledge of the book that was being talked about, I was not sure what to expect or if I would be able to follow along. However, the talk was nothing but inviting, encouraging, enlightening, and empowering. I sat there in awe with the topics and themes Dr. Duflo mentioned such as financial incentives, consumer preferences, mobility, but most importantly dignity. Her connection of these themes to different economic policies such as cabin taxes and climate change opened so much insight into a different way of thinking and excites me to get a start on the read! It was a wonderful experience and I hope to attend more lectures like this in the remaining semester left in my St. John’s career.
Another topic I wanted to discuss in my log has to do with the upcoming holiday: Thanksgiving. Given that these days are meant to reflect on the things we are thankful for, I wanted to express how grateful I am to be a part of such a wonderful program. I’ve expressed how my journey with GLOBE began long before I joined, and I am so happy I stuck through and made it to the course. To be surrounded by managers that share the same goal of trying to eradicate poverty in our lifetime generates such an uplifting feeling!
By: Kinga Kruszewska
In my penultimate log, I would like to reflect upon today’s lecture by Esther Duflo. This year’s Nobel prize laureate in Economics gave a lecture at St. John’s University based on her book “Good Economics for Hard Times.” This was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the direction of economics for the future and the role that microfinance could potentially play in that future. While the topic of the talk was not about microfinance explicit, Dr. Duflo shared a few insights about poverty alleviation, which also happens to be the mission of GLOBE.
A very interesting point Dr. Duflo mentioned was that many wrongly believe that people provided with financial incentives lose motivation to work. She gave an example of her experiment on conditional cash transfer programs in countries of Latin America. The outcome of the study suggested that those afforded the financial incentive through that program not only continue working as much as before but also see positive effects on their living conditions. This reminded me of a program called Oportunidades described in one of our GLOBE readings, “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The program, launched originally in Mexico, provides the poor with monthly cash grants when their children enroll in school and keep continuing their education. Oportunidades, described by authors as: “one of the most admired antipoverty programs in the world,” is a great example of the financial incentive that is being effective as it keeps being reinvested in children’s health and further education. Additionally, I think that the fact that the children who were encouraged to not drop out of school will eventually become a human work capital for, in this case, the Mexican economy, supports Dr. Duflo’s lesson. The lesson that there is no negative impact of cash transfer programs on the amount of work performed in a country.
Another point Dr. Duflo made, was that it is necessary to go out to the field when conducting an experiment, because if you do not then you are working in the dark. She argued that you must see the experience of the community that you are trying to help, in order to be effective in helping that community. I agree with this notion, and it is something in which GLOBE actively participates. Dr. Sama’s fellowship program that travels to different poverty-stricken areas of the world, does exactly what Dr. Duflo was arguing for.
Lastly, I found Dr. Duflo’s words: “People get the message but are not interested in the message” in reference to the issue of poverty strikingly true. People are aware that poverty is a problem throughout the world, but that knowledge does not motivate them to make a change. This is something that resonated with me because it faces one of the root issues with poverty alleviation head-on. GLOBE is a program that has developed the mentioned motivation in me and I will continue to cultivate it.
By: Mark LaVilla
This past Thursday was out fast food fundraiser, and although we were short of our goal, we made almost $220 in profit. I would consider that a success. Physically raising money and volunteering your time to help people all over the world is such a rewarding experience. As a class, we continue to keep chipping away at our fundraising goal of $3500. Watching our progress is exciting, especially since we are working towards such an important cause and a powerful mission.
I feel that it is especially important for students in GLOBE to be able to articulate our mission and what we do with ease. At our most recent fundraiser, it was interesting to see how knowledgeable my classmates are and how much better they continue to get at selling people on our mission. People who are normally shy have also become more outspoken and I believe that is due to the family that we have become.
Our GLOBE class is made up of a lot of interesting people and it is a great thing to be a part of. Going to class or an event related to GLOBE never feels like a chore because I know that I am going to be working with bright people who I can always learn from.
As we near the end of our semester, I am looking forward to reaching our overall goal and to be able to share our experience and knowledge with the next semester’s class! I remember my first class and I was very unsure about what to expect. I had never fundraised like this, and all of a sudden I had the task of raising $3500! I feel like my team and I have come a long way and gained a lot of valuable experience. I think I will have a lot to say to the next marketing and fundraising team.
By: Juliana Vosilla
The GIVECAMPUS Campaign has already reached over $1,500 which well exceeds its goal of $1,000 during its first week into the campaign. I am personally ecstatic as to how much we have already raised and am excited about the potential this fundraiser holds. We have been continuously promoting the GIVECAMPUS campaign through all forms of our social media. This week the Technology and Communications team has sent out a Facebook Ad for Thanksgiving that will be displayed on Wednesday, November 26th and will last for a couple of days, utilizing a majority of the budget. We have been continuously editing the interview video that we are creating with Dr. Sama and hope to have that completed within the next couple of weeks. Another video that we are actively working on is the overall GLOBE class video that will be presented during our last GLOBE meeting after the Final Presentations. Another activity that we are working on is the creation of the template for all teams to utilize during the Final Presentation. We have been looking through various presentation templates to choose which one is appropriate and professional. As we depart each other for Thanksgiving break, the class is trying to end the semester on a positive and strong note and I believe we are on the right track.
Now that we are coming to a close to this semester of GLOBE, it only makes sense to reflect on the process that led us here. Initially coming into GLOBE, I was fresh with new ideas to bring to the Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audit team. All I could think about is how my team and I can change GLOBE from the inside out and improve the organization by enormous lengths. Quickly I came to the realization that this wouldn’t be the case. With the stress of students’ schedules, work, and now with GLOBE, the pace that I had thought we would have was drastically slowed. This was discouraging at first because I am typically used to immediate satisfaction, but GLOBE taught me a real-life example of what I can expect in the professional world: as much as ideas can seem so great, they must be reviewed and tested over and over to prove that they are full proof. It was a good experience because even though I was discouraged, I realized that this is the typical experience in organizations.
My team was another great part of GLOBE. I couldn’t imagine a different environment that could’ve fostered our productivity so well. We were good at bringing each up, collaborating ideas, and executing them with success. Not only was it easy to rely on them, but I believe they felt it was easy to rely on me as well. Working with my team in enterprise development, a field I’m interested in for my future career, was great and helped me develop skills working in a professional setting. As easy as it is for people to walk into GLOBE with confidence, it was easy to walk away from GLOBE with a renewed confidence and a fortified palette of skills to bring with me to wherever I go from here. So, with that, the final thing I am thankful for is GLOBE itself! I hope to see the future classes make this as a rewarding experience as it was for my team and me.
Today was the last day of class. The end of the semester is near and so are the final presentation and research papers. During class, we went through our final presentations and had Dr. Sama critique us. Standing up there one last time in Bent 223 was a weird but exciting feeling. It made me realize that we are done with the semester and it felt like it just started. Seeing my teammates every Tuesday night is what made my day. It was a different dynamic from being on a lacrosse team but in a good way. It opened up more ideas, cultures, and traditions to me; no one was the same. I learned about Haitian culture, Polish culture and Trinidadian culture. These were all new to me but they didn’t seem foreign. The cultures didn’t seem foreign because my teammates felt like family. The only thing that really differentiated each other on the outside was our cultures but realistically it didn’t, it bonded us more. I feel that it is the main mission of GLOBE; to come together, no matter your gender, race, or ethnicity, and fight poverty around the world. Our mission is so powerful that it is bigger than oneself, it takes a team.
By: Melina Zanfardino
It feels pretty surreal to finally be at the end of this class. I remember starting and being so overwhelmed and excited with all the objectives and work we had to get done. I think as a group and as a class, in general, we have executed all that needed to be done extremely well. The marketing team took on many different tasks this semester, and although we did not reach all of our goals, I think we still tried our hardest and worked together. I can positively say that I have been able to advocate on GLOBE’s behalf as a marketing manager and speak with students in Tobin and within SJU. I have been feeling a little bit overwhelmed with the end of the semester rapidly approaching, but tonight‘s class presentations made me feel at ease. My group has pulled together and we’ve been able to make a great presentation that I think will speak beautifully to the audience. Tonight’s class was nice to speak with my group and have a recap on what we need to get done for Tuesday! I have been working on my final paper and I will continue working on it to the days leading up to its submission. It’s a bittersweet ending with this class, but I know my place in GLOBE will go way beyond this semester!
By: Abigail LoManto
This log marks my last week as a GLOBE Manager on the Technology and Communications Team. This semester flew by, so I think that it is important to reflect on all that the Technology and Communications team has accomplished as a whole, as well as all that I have experienced in GLOBE.
The Technology and Communications team is finally wrapping up the last of our objectives. We have just released our second Facebook Ad, which was not as successful as the first. Our third ad reverts back to the style of the first, so we hope that this ad will perform as well as the first. Then, we will be able to release our fourth and final ad of the semester. To finish off the semester, we are trying to push the GIVECAMPUS campaign on social media so that we can generate as many donations as possible before the final presentation. When compiling our final presentation for the semester, it feels good to look back at what we have done for the past three months. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of time spent, but I would not have chosen to spend my semester any other way.
It is crazy to think that this time last year, I knew nothing about microfinance. Through this class, I have come to realize the power of microfinance as a tool to alleviate poverty. Alleviating poverty is no simple task, and this is something I now better understand. Hearing the stories of our borrowers has led me to recognize the great income disparity across the world, and how as little as $45 can go so far for a borrower in South America or Africa, for example. I am now able to look at global issues in a new light and with a different perspective. Through my experience with GLOBE, I have become so passionate about this organization that I cannot imagine not being a GLOBE Manager next Spring. I hope to remain a part of the GLOBE community during the rest of my time at St. John’s, as well as the rest of my life by continuing to give to this organization. I have always had an inkling that I would like to work for a nonprofit organization. GLOBE has shown me that this work is truly necessary, and, if the opportunity arises, I hope to work with a nonprofit organization in the future, specifically one that works to educate women. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and interact with other students, along with Dr. Sama and the entire GLOBE community.