Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The Spring 2021 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 Juliana Gallo*, Grace Musser, Roshni Shukla, Weiying Zhang
Finance and Risk Assessment Team Sarah Cullivan, Frank D’Elia*, Denny Feng, Sephia Philip
Marketing and Fundraising Team Jacklyn Hadzicki*, Arianna Pappone, Harmonia Peet, Sadhabi Thapa
Technology and Communications Team Christian Eginton, Darren Maraj*, Rebecca Moroukian, Bryanna Smith
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
By: Sarah Cullivan
When I first heard about GLOBE, I had barely been on campus for 24 hours. It was August 2018 and I had just been introduced to the other members of the Rendu Freshmen Service Experience; my group leader, Emily Inzero was highlighting her experiences thus far at St. John’s and mentioned a course she was particularly looking forward to... it was GLOBE! GLOBE has always been an idea in my mind since my first semester on campus, but after taking a class with Josh Miller last semester I knew I had to take part in this incredible opportunity.
It’s insane to think that we have already met as a class twice. My initial feelings going into the semester were a mixture of excitement coupled with a bit of fear. I say fear, but it might’ve been more nerves because I wasn’t entirely confident that I would develop a strong interest in microfinance. Sitting in interviews with individuals who were well informed on the topic made me question if GLOBE would be the right fit for me. Luckily Dr. Sama thought it might be and I was accepted into the class. Overcome with joy I began sharing with anyone who would listen, usually family members, that I would have the opportunity to do incredible work this semester, making an actual difference in people’s lives, and was eager to begin.
I took a leap of faith in applying. Having found my previous experiences with service organizations and charities fulfilling and enjoyable, I decided that GLOBE would be a remarkable opportunity to strengthen my financial background while lending a helping hand to others. After receiving the class syllabus and meeting for the first time I regressed to my initial thoughts- “Is this the right place for me?”, the workload seemed overwhelming having to balance team objectives, reading summaries, logs, and loans all at once. However, in a few short days, it all seemed worth it.
Our first reading summary was on Chapter 2 of The New Microfinance Handbook and it had completely changed my thought process regarding those living in poverty, who I had once simplify referred to as “poor”. How could I be so inaccurate to simply refer to these individuals as poor as if they are not rich in other aspects of life like culture? The reading made me understand that the situations that these people had the unluckiness of being born into shouldn’t just be referred to as a commonality in certain areas of the world like we so often attribute them to. Like many, I didn’t understand the financial handicaps these people face every day, such as income irregularity and the lack of financial tools. I had the misconception that these individuals were living a “hand to mouth” lifestyle spending everything they earned on basic necessities. Boy was I wrong! Those living in poverty are intensive money managers- who constantly set aside money in both formal and informal ways. A quote that struck a chord with me was “Saving, for the poor, is a verb before it is a noun: something you do rather than something you possess.” As far as I can remember the idea of saving was a noun to be, I had a piggy bank growing up in which I kept my savings which later turned into a bank account. It wasn’t something I was doing, but rather an object I had for when I needed it. It’s incredible to think that in just two weeks I was able to rewire my thought process regarding the topics of poverty and microfinance. This was possible because the readings and presentations from my classmates served as a starting point for me to take an active role in my education on those living in poverty.
I have to say that although I enjoyed the readings and listening to my other classmates, I think the realization that GLOBE was the right place for me came after hearing your feedback on our first loan recommendation. I think I always knew deep down that I would develop a deep interest in GLOBE and the work we were doing, but I was scared I was so far behind the others in my class regarding my knowledge on the topic. However, the immense joy I felt after your email regarding our Loan Recommendation reassured me that I was here for the right reasons. While reading Y QUYÊN’s story I began to realize the impact that our work has on the lives of many. At first Y QUYÊN ‘s request for a loan to buy a motorbike didn’t appear dire or rather life-changing; however, as I began reading about her life and the area in which she lives I realized the influence it would have. Y QUYÊN is a 20-year-old girl, the same age as me, from Vietnam and accounts for roughly 75% of her household’s income. Now I’m not quite sure about you, but I couldn’t imagine being responsible for such a large portion of my family’s income at such a young age while pursuing my studies at the same time. The motorbike would provide Y Quyên will a reliable means of travel, so that she can consistently arrive at school and work on time, and safely, allowing her to support her family and further her education. Reading Y Quyên’s loan request I thought how bad could public transportation be, I mean we all take it here, but as I read more about her area, I came to understand that the motorbike would serve as a big step towards breaking the cycle of poverty. It allows Y Quyên to live with a greater sense of freedom and be able to tackle the heavy commute that comes with living in the Dak Ha District. Receiving an education for her is greater than just securing a job but is a top priority in the fight against inter-generational poverty that will benefit not only her but her younger siblings.
Being able to visualize the support our work will provide made me eager to receive more loans and hopeful that we can accomplish our team objective of expanding into Madagascar. A class I entered into hopeful, but with some reservations has become a class I constantly find myself speaking about with family and friends. The people I have met, particularly my group members, have become friends and people I connect with outside of the classroom. The feeling I experienced was so extraordinary that it has made me eager to share my team's work with the rest of the class. I look forward to presenting our recommendation to the steering committee and potentially meeting our borrowers one day!
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team
By: Juliana Gallo
Sitting in my first in person GLOBE class was extremely eye opening. My eyes were opened wide to the world that surrounds me as well as to the great points my classmates addressed in their oral presentations. It is so important to not allow yourself to be confined to the bubble that surrounds you each and every day, in order to grow you must break barriers and step out of your comfort zone.
Poverty is an increasingly controversial topic in today’s world but the bottom line is that it must be addressed. During class lecture some of the slides contained photos of the borrowers to supplement their stories, these photos helped personalize the loans for me. Seeing our borrowers is more effective for me than hearing their stories in my opinion. GLOBE’s smallest loan is $44.00, this number stands out dramatically to me. The fact that someone's life can be changed for $44.00 is insane yet, here in the United States $44.00 could barely last a week. We live in a world of excess and because of it we tend to take many things for granted. After hearing that only 5% of the “un bankable” are reached by microfinance I found myself doing some self-reflection and asking myself why? How is this possible? We need to do better.
The marketing team spoke a lot about the importance of students doing their part in assisting communities. Harmony asked amazing questions to the class which I believed provoked great thought and self-reflection. I believe it is imperative to one's education not only to learn outside of the class room but also apply the knowledge you learn in the classroom to the outside world. The power of education is boundless and each one of us in GLOBE are extremely privileged to be able to be a part of such an amazing project. I recently did some self-reflection and came to the conclusion that I want to help women in my community, through helping others you are able to help yourself tremendously.
Micro finance provides new opportunities for economic development, extends markets, reduces poverty and empowers women. 80% of our borrowers are women and that is extremely notable. Women generally are the center or anchor of the household, if the anchor is broken the boat will sink. A bottom up approach is needed; by helping women you are helping the entire family. When a woman is successful the whole household will be, a strong center is needed. With success comes a great deal of empowerment and self-confidence which is important to a woman's mental health. Microfinance is just one tool in the toolbox and I hope one day to touch many of the tools for alleviating poverty!
Marketing and Fundraising Team
By: Jacklyn Hadzicki
We are now entering our third week of GLOBE and I am already excited about the insight I have gained at this point. Microfinance and this area of credit is not something that I had previously explored in my studies of poverty alleviation through my social justice minor. GLOBE offers a unique perspective on the intersection of business and social good in a way that my business courses have not. I’ve been immersed in the nonprofit field but have not had a chance to connect impact to my major in this way and I’m extremely excited for what is in store in this course.
One thing that I love about GLOBE thus far is that the way that it has brought some of the phenomenon and concepts that I have been exposed to in other settings full circle. For instance, I have met people in my previous role who were not able to open bank accounts in New York for a variety of reasons. GLOBE discusses the issue of financial exclusion on a global scale in ways that are also applicable to problems closer to home.
Today we watched a video that explored the empowering impact that microloans have on women in rural India. The financial gains from the loans also brought women together in social circles and altered family dynamics for the better. The video discussed the way in which a community and its next generation are helped when women are empowered, and their skills are utilized. This reminded me of the 2019 Social Good Summit and its focus on the environment. Although the speakers focused on the impacts of climate change on women, they came back to the central theme that societies are better off when women are successful, and their potential is honored. The trend of communities being improved by female empowerment is directly related to the work done through GLOBE. Female borrowers are a major part of the success of microfinance and continue to be an integral part of the financial advancement of communities.
The strength of GLOBE as a student organization is also evident. Today we had a meeting with past managers who were eager to share their advice and experiences. Some guests had not been in GLOBE since 2016, yet they were still willing to give their time to the program. The dedication to GLOBE that members have long after graduation speaks to the impact of the program not only on the borrowers, but on the students as well.
Technology and Communications Team
By: Darren Maraj
After some time has passed, I believe I have an idea on what kind of program I was getting myself into. Rather, it was what kind of family I was getting myself into. As of late, I’ve been traversing my major courses and required core classes with ease and little to no enthusiasm for they were courses that just needed to be checked off. Do not mistake this for boredom or a general lack of interest since some of those courses were attractive in their own way; nevertheless, it never forced me to expand the boundaries of my comfort zone. Once my friend referred GLOBE to me as a course to take in my last semester – explaining in depth what the program was about, what it represents in the bigger picture, and what it demanded – it was then when I knew this was going to be the program to participate in. This was the program to not only end my last semester on an extremely high note, but to further make my mark on the legacy I envisioned myself establishing when I enrolled into St. John’s four years ago. Seniors, like myself, may rhetorically ask themselves when entering this program: What better way to end your college career than to be part of a family that actively seeks to alleviate poverty in different parts of the world?
Starting the first week, GLOBE kicked off with assigning insightful readings that my team and I learned plentiful from. Presenting these readings to the class was more of a challenge than actually absorbing the value of the readings themselves. The readings derived from one of Muhammad Yunus’ books, specifically where he explains the transition from microcredit to social business. One of the biggest takeaways from the readings is the humanness aspect of it. The notion that the development and launch of the Grameen companies are attributed not from a background of business, but from a background of collaborating meticulously with the poor, endeavoring to comprehend the conditions behind their poverty, while working hard to free them from it. It is a sheer indication that their social business, that was created by Yunus and his team, is an example of integration. Integrating the concerns of the poor within the capitalist system prevents neglectful thinking on behalf of society, but instead, refocuses the lens on the opportunities of helping the world. This allows the possibility of opening new doors of alleviating the very same things Muhammad Yunus was working towards. To me, that was incredibly eye-opening and provided a valuable perspective on microfinance that just wasn’t there before.
On another note, establishing our team objectives was one of the most difficult, yet exciting things that my team and I have undertaken thus far. It took substantial time and active communication between members of our team, as well as members of the Marketing and Fundraising Team, to collaborate effectively on objectives that paralleled with each other, while promoting our individuality within them. After considerable time embarking on creating these goals, I found myself feeling fortunate that I am surrounded by students that share similar passions and values as my own. This is the greatest drive that will push us to accomplish the objectives we aspire to complete.
By: Frank D’Elia
Although our team did not have any loan recommendations to fill out, it was still quite a productive week. This week I also felt much more comfortable thanks to some strong advice given to us last week by GLOBE managers. This has helped me feel ready for the tasks ahead. I am also very appreciative of how quickly my team has developed strong teamwork. From the start until now, everyone has done an excellent job of making sure we can make the best effort that we have to offer. It was also great that during the last hour of our class because it helped us in getting ahead and planning for the meeting with the Steering Committee.
I also felt like the presentation did a great job of emphasizing the importance of microfinancing. Making sure we act ethically is always a top priority. It is something that GLOBE managers take very seriously. In this program, being able to help others is the primary goal and we do this through acting in an ethical manner. We don’t do it to make a profit. Otherwise, we would charge a much higher interest rate. We do this because it gives people struggling to have an opportunity to achieve their goals. Overall, I am greatly looking forward to the remainder of this semester to see what we can accomplish.
By: Roshni Shukla
This week was the week of some significant meetings. Meeting with the EDA team from last semester and last year was both energizing and motivating. Hearing about the struggles and triumphs of the EDA giants before us gave our team some much needed perspective about how we can shape the future of GLOBE. My Micro Dose of Inspiration this week comes from their advice to never give up and to connect with the heart of the program: the borrowers.
Getting access to additional material from previous semesters’ EDA teams has given me a lot of ideas about what efforts we can continue with and where some new ideas are needed. As usual, my team’s weekly Thursday check-in meeting was productive, to say the least, and gave me the idea to meet with Sephia from the Finance team to understand her team’s process better. It is clearer now to see where EDA can fit into the borrowers’ loan journey, from start to finish. Informal meetings, too, occurred this week. I’m learning more about what it means to work on a team, including multimodal means of communication to keep each other on task and collaborate in real time. I even recorded a video of myself and sent it to my team’s group chat to propose an idea, as a text wouldn’t have been as effective. I hope to apply these ever-improving communication skills to working with the other teams and GLOBE stakeholders over the coming weeks.
By: Sadhabi Thapa
During the first week of GLOBE, all the GLOBE managers introduced themselves on the discussion board. We learned about each other’s favorite foods, hobbies, passions, and strong determination to contribute to certain issues that are really close to our hearts. As the weeks proceeded, I realize that the introduction post didn’t just provide mere information about each other but to know that the combination of all was a strong suit to the GLOBE family. Each member is so unique yet radiates the same passion to fuel the GLOBE mission of ‘Students changing the world: One Loan at a Time’ with all our strengths while helping each other with our weaknesses. Every team started off the week with expanding and double-checking their objectives and putting them into action. Our team particularly focused mainly on distributing the responsibility based on our nature, personality, and strength. Reflecting on the process and the potential outcome of the small decisions we made as our team started working on objectives helped me develop and refine my core values as a team-mate. I’m also so mesmerized by the friendship being born between the conversations like “Hey, can you check this out for me...” and “I suggest you…”. I’m conscious of the fact that this is the very early stage of learning and there is more to traverse but these small achievements are what sums up the happiness in our lives.
Our previous class was memorable for two reasons. First, I learned that understanding culture is crucial for the success of microfinance. Customizing, plans, policies, and actions that suit the local culture not only ensures a relatively easier method to gather support from the locals but is also a sign of paying respect to their culture. Secondly, we got to virtually meet and receive great insights from our former GLOBE managers. Being able to connect and ask questions to someone who’s already been through the road we are about to take feels very comforting. During the time of the pandemic, having very clear communication with the professor and faculty with prompt email replies, brilliant advice, and constant support from Professor, Dr. Linda Sama, Lina, and Leslie has played a crucial role in helping us take decisive actions and get closer to our commitments. This whole week helped me enhance the human relationship with the GLOBE family.
By: Rebecca Moroukian
The GLOBE family is very real! Throughout the past couple of weeks, we have heard both Dr. Sama and Lina talk about how strong the GLOBE community is. Both of them had brought up this unity in our interview for GLOBE and I knew I was getting myself into something very meaningful here at St. John’s. However, it wasn’t until this past week where I truly saw the GLOBE family united. 20 or so past GLOBE managers came together to talk about their fond memories during their time in the program and their experiences working together as a team. They went around introducing themselves and the semester that they participated in. By having past alumni from last semester all the way to about six semesters ago just shows how strong their connection is with GLOBE and Dr. Sama. The energy that was projected off of the virtual call was unmatched. They all were ecstatic to be together with their past team members and seeing Dr. Sama. After the group introductions were finished, we then dispersed into our groups with past GLOBE managers who were a part of our teams.
For the IT team, the alumni expressed their feelings about GLOBE and why they joined. They discussed the ups and down they faced in their semester and solutions and ways to work around problems. One of these problems that was discussed during the meeting was; how there is little communication and unity between all of the GLOBE teams. This comment really stuck out to us (the IT team). We are looking forward to the weeks to come, to get to know the other teams and creating a bond with them. By having a strong connection with each manager will allow GLOBE to prosper and grow. Unity between all the teams will be the structure for a strong GLOBE family. Throughout the semester managers will then feel comfortable expressing their feelings and their ideas when they know it is a safe environment to do so. Since our meeting with the alumni, I have learned how important communication is within a work environment.
Another suggestion they had was creating a posting schedule to make sure that there is communication within the team. This was one of our objectives that we had written in the beginning of the semester. We took their advice and revised/clarified our “posting schedule” on excel. Having an organized schedule of what will be posted and when, is key for communication throughout the team.
Hopefully, I am able to join in on a virtual call and help next semester's GLOBE managers. I know how much it meant to me for past managers to take the time out of their busy day and guide us in making GLOBE prosper and I would love to do the same for the future of GLOBE!
By: Sephia Philip
In my last log I mentioned my excitement for our first ever steering committee meeting that would be taking place the following day. Just to follow up our meeting was a success; our first loan was approved by the steering committee! It was an honor to meet the amazing individuals that made GLOBE the great organization it is now. The steering committee provided us with crucial insight that I will carry throughout my journey in GLOBE.
In this week of GLOBE, my team, the finance team received our second loan application from a man in Guatemala. This was exciting because it was our first loan regarding an entrepreneurial business. I was particularly interested in this because I aspire to be an entrepreneur myself. Lower literacy rates, lack of government support, and inequality are the main factors leading to our borrowers' financial hardship. Their sheer determination and courage to start something of their own have inspired me to lead the world by their example. His loan application mentioned that he was looking for a loan to repair his truck, which plays a major role in his business. After reviewing his application, we still had some questions we need answered regarding our applicant before we can make our recommendation. These loans that we recommend have a great impact on our borrowers lives so we want to make sure we are giving out our best possible recommendation.
Throughout our reading for this week, they mention the importance of financial literacy among borrowers. Financial literacy is crucial in microfinance. Many people feel intimidated or just do not know the benefits of having a banking/savings account. It is our job as providers to educate our borrowers on the basics of the financial system. It is crucial to equip them with the necessary tools to stop this endless cycle of poverty. I was very much inspired by example they provided in the reading about Faulu Kenya, a microfinancing bank. Faulu aimed to educate their clients in order to prevent misuse and confusion amongst borrowers. They achieved this through the help of training workshops, where they watched videos and received interactive worksheets on financial education. I wanted to emulate this and possibly create a video for our borrowers to further their financial education. With the help of the technology and marketing team I believe we can make this happen.
Log # 3
This week we took a look at the ethics of micro finance from two very different perspectives, micro finance as a helping hand and micro finance as a hindering hand. The most important thing that needs to be noted is motive; motive matters when speaking about ethics. A companies motives need to be aligned with their ethical behaviors meaning, they need to be engaging in philanthropic behaviors for the sake of helping others, not for a tax right off.
We watched a video about M-Kopa solar in Kenya. I couldn’t help but think, it is so crazy how solar light can change someone’s life so dramatically. Light is something we take for granted yet, the access to solar light opens so many new possibilities for people in Kenya.
Microfinance through the lenses of a “helping hand” is seen as an amazing tool to elevate poverty. The ethics behind this view is that micro finance allows for market-based development which improves state led development. Through money made in the market, poverty is reduced. Reduction of poverty leads to empowerment of women which aims to close the gap between gender inequalities. Micro finance has positive impacts which include increasing people’s savings and income, school enrollment increases as well as infant mortality rates, gender relations increase and so does the food supply.
On the other hand, through the lenses of micro finance as a “hindering hand” we see the opposing view of micro finance as a destructive tool in elevating poverty. The ethics behind this view is that a market-based model neglects structural causes of poverty which in turn only addresses the “well off poor” and has a limited scope which marginalizes a large percent of the population. The main point here is that micro finance does not address the fundamental causes of poverty. I can understand how this may be frustrating to some but, micro finance helps individual people who then are able to help those around them. Another ethical concern arises through usurious interest rates. Some argue that these rates create a cycle of debt for the borrowers because they are too high to ever pay back.
I believe that micro finance is a helping hand to those in need after all, no one is being forced to take out micro credit loans. It is a choice whether or not an individual wants to use micro finance as a tool to end their poverty. No one is forcing them. While helping individual people we are working together to end poverty even if we are not address the fundamental causes of poverty. Changing the life of one person can change the lives of many people!
By: Harmonia Peet
My academic experience at St. John’s as a Global Development has been a roller-coaster ride. I came into college knowing that I was a great social studies student and that I wanted to learn about how to help the poor. Much of my encounters with my course material so far have been quite critical of development programs. Heavy discussions about program mishandlings, the “evils” of the IMF and World Bank, austerity issues, world systems that revolve around exploiting the poor and so forth, left me a bit jarred. While I see the merit in learning all about the reasons development programs have failed or how they can be ineffective, if it is not supplemented with motivational content showing successes, it can get quite disheartening. For a while in college, I felt insignificant in terms of feeling pressure to solve all the kinds of macro-issues I described before, all at once. Additionally, I felt as though I was inadequate or not as “woke” as other students because of how much they posted about a variety of issues that I had yet to formulate an opinion on. Essentially, it was as though I had all of the world’s problems to solve and none of the spark like my peers had to do it.
This semester joining GLOBE, I have been able to grasp a better perspective on what it is I am meant to do. Last week’s class on the realities of Microfinance was important because it was about being transparent about how microcredit is really impacting our world. Despite some of the ethical contestations and effectiveness debates, I felt as though I could still be proud to work in the field because of how the content still discussed the ways that microfinance is beneficial. Additionally, the class has shown me that I can’t seek the positivity and impact I desire for a better world in the scholarly work or textbooks I read, I can see real impact and lives changed by doing the work. There is always a critic, there is always a larger issue, there will always be ethical debates. I am not here to settle all of these but here to be impactful in the now on a small, meaningful scale. If this means addressing one issue that I am passionate about and doing that to the best of my ability, then I can feel accomplished.
Additionally, looking at the life of Muhammad Yunus, focus on one goal can result in passion about other issues one had never considered. What started as a literal out-of-pocket loan became an array of successful social businesses. Yunus, focused initially on alleviating rural poverty in Bangladesh and after setting up Grameen Bank found a number of other issues that mattered in achieving this and expanded the scope of his work to address these further issues. Things like malnutrition for young children, sustainable energy and other development solutions became increasingly important to Yunus.
Technology and Communications Team
I have never been in this many meetings in a span of three weeks, and I am reveling in this type of environment! Most people may not feel the same, understandably, considering that meetings have the potential to be dull or drawn-out, but the meetings that have taken place this week have been the polar opposite. For me, the meetings that I’ve been involved in have been thoughtful, constructive, and very direct. My tolerance for patience is pretty high, but there hasn’t been a need for it to be tested because for the first time, I truly feel as though our team is on the same page, as well as with the Marketing Team. I would be lying if I had said it has been a cakewalk starting the first week; specifically, along with the enthusiasm, there’s a weight of responsibility that is attached. Given the healthy reliance between my team members and I, there is now a willingness to support one another, thus the weight becomes easier to carry since I can rely on a helping hand.
Some meetings that struck me with pride and joy for my team and others was the meeting with the GLOBE Steering Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to present the one loan recommendation for Vietnam (presented by the Finance team) and present our team objectives. I felt a sense of pride of not only my team for sharing our objectives effectively, but for the Finance team for putting together an excellent presentation that was clearly well-choreographed. It was positively complex, meaning that they did their homework correctly and was more than organized to present this application to the committee. We were all happy to find out that the committee was impressed by the content of our objectives and loan recommendation – this pushes us to continue the progress we’ve been making thus far!
During this week, our team also recognized the importance of our alumni connections. After our meeting with the GLOBE Steering Committee, our team had another meeting (surprise!) with one of the Steering Committee members, Alina, who was a former manager for GLOBE almost a decade ago. She gave us a bit of her own backstory – including her employment with Facebook – and how she can help boost our social objectives by offering to help out with ads for GLOBE and suggested incredible ideas that can advance everything we’ve been working on towards higher levels.
What these meetings have taught me is that not only do we have a duty to exquisitely represent GLOBE in all our endeavors, but that our alumni are also essential players to GLOBE’s success. This is why one of our objectives is to connect more with our alumni because they represent the pillars that built the success of this program and continue to sustain it with their kindness and support.
By: Sarah Cullivan
It’s been a bit of a hectic week, to say the least! My mind has kind of been all over the place due to midterms rapidly approaching coupled with my housemate testing positive for COVID-19. However, that being said I can always count on GLOBE to provide a moment of reflection and thanks. Sitting in class, virtually tonight, listening to Evan tell his own personal journey post-GLOBE. inspired me to look towards my own future. The fundamentals I am learning in this class will prove beneficial in the long run of things serving as a foundation for me to help alleviate global poverty throughout my life.
The last few weeks have been slow in terms of loan applications. There was a brief moment of excitement in which we thought we had another potential borrower; however, his application left us with questions that have yet to be answered, sadly preventing us from moving forward. Although we haven’t lost hope yet, I can say we are eager to feel the excitement and joy we felt following the approval of our first recommendation, knowing the immense difference we were making in Y Quyên’s life. I am happy to report that the Daughters in Vietnam had enough on hand to give Y Quyên the loan, so she will be able to purchase her motorbike sooner than we anticipated.
As a team, we have begun to turn our attention towards our objectives due to the lack of loan requests. Currently, we are working on our second objective “reviewing data in the Borrower Update Spreadsheet to both: identify potential write-offs and examine payment patterns.” Although it took some time for us to agree on how to proceed, we eventually decided on each one of us focusing on a specific country’s spreadsheet. I am currently working in the Philippines in which a large portion of our loans should have been repaid but aren’t. In the coming weeks, I plan on connecting with Leslie to get in contact with our friends in the Philippines and try to understand what is going on.
The speed at which this semester has happened is unbelievable and it’s hard to believe in about two months we will be wrapping things up within the classroom. However, before that day comes my main objective is to expand our program; whether that be by forming connections in Madagascar or by reentering into a country that previously wasn’t so successful. I look forward to the future weeks and what is to come with a feeling of optimistic!
By: Grace Musser
I found this past week very productive despite my limited time in the midst of midterms. I am specifically energized by our team’s recent work focusing on measuring financial inclusion, monitoring outcomes, and assessing impact. My background and studies in anthropology and global development have taught me the historical failures of development and have made me weary of imposing my western influence on people who hold the same values. While the evaluation of GLOBE’s impact is one of the organization’s necessary functions, it is vital that we keep in mind the sociopolitical and cultural contexts of each of our borrowers’ locations. This reflects, I think, a widespread struggle in defining poverty: too specific a definition, measures do not allow for broad comparison; too broad a definition, indicators overlook important contextual nuances and specificities.
An article by economist Robert Haveman, assigned for my Economics of Poverty and Inequality course, has provided the ED&A team with some clear next steps in defining a multidimensional concept of poverty: 1) identify and agree upon “dimensions of well-being beyond just income,” 2) define indicators that reflect these dimensions of well-being, and 3) collect accurately measured data. Essentially, this translates into us creating hypotheses-based GLOBE’s impact on different levels (i.e., enterprise, individual, household, and community and creating survey questions that align with these hypotheses. This entire process is a bit more intensive than we had originally expected, but ultimately, I know it will be worth it!
Attending the GLOBE info session as a GLOBE Manager this week gave me a space to reflect on my individual growth since I attended the info session as a prospective member. It is a bit surreal to consider how much I have learned so far this semester – as well as to think about the fact that our semester is already almost halfway through! My experiences in GLOBE so far have been absolutely beneficial, and I am so glad to be helping to “pass the baton” to the next group of managers!
This week went off in a very exciting manner. After an amazing mentorship session during our steering committee meeting where we shared our objectives and received valuable suggestions, I believe we have come strong, confident and motivated to meet our objectives. Even if we are working with a vision, the dream still looks like a dream until it comes true. We are still the elves working to make Christmas very special. The narration for the Give-Campus campaign is almost done with its final touch. Personally to me, it was a really challenging job because I struggled to choose one story among the many inspiring ones. The marketing team is working on the game night and it is a lot of work, creating the event, organizing the game, finalizing dates and designs. My teammates are doing a fantastic job in it. As we’ve divided the work, I’m in charge of conducting podcast sessions and I’m very excited to host the first podcast with our prominent guest speaker and our GLOBE alumni Evan. There is a lot of subjects we want to cover as we will know more about GLOBE pre-Covid and learn about the Fellow trip that has been halted because of the pandemic. I really hope the podcast will help people understand the cause and mission of GLOBE on a deeper level. We’re working on what kind of content will serve best.
Collaborating with the IT team, the website work is going seamlessly. Our task to create a brochure is in an infant stage right now, and that is where we are going to focus along with the game night for the upcoming weeks.
By: Christian Eginton
This week in GLOBE we presented our second Oral Reading Summary in which we discussed Chapter 5 of Creating a World Without Poverty. There were so many interesting takeaways from this chapter, but the one that stuck out to me the most was this idea that credit comes first. Yunus believes that instead of providing job training to the poor we should be providing them with credit and allowing them to use the skills they already have. This is a quicker and more effective method of helping to solve the poverty problem. The poor already have skills, they just need the capital to be able to fund their skills.
Something we created this week for GLOBE was a Linktree. A Linktree is a link that can be posted on our social media platforms, which when people click on, gives them links to all of our social media platforms on one page. We feel this will be very helpful in getting our followers to follow us on all of our platforms and not just certain ones. It will keep our followers more engaged as they see our GLOBE posts across multiple social media platforms.
This past Monday, GLOBE had its first information session of the semester. We had multiple students interested in GLOBE who all had great questions. Questions ranged from how long borrowers have to pay back a loan to understanding who bridges the gap between us and the borrowers (Daughters of Charity). A couple of the students from the information session already followed GLOBE on Instagram. I am looking forward to our next information session, and we will be sure to post about it on social media platforms to get the word out there.
This week of GLOBE has been busier than these last couple of weeks. My team is still waiting on a response from our potential borrower regarding our questions. We had a meeting this week with Dr. Sama discussing how we can move forward with the loan while we wait for a response back from our Daughter of Charity from Guatemala. We decided that we would make a couple of different recommendations and then choose the best out of that. We also talked about how we should be going about our other objectives. One being trying to add Madagascar to our list of countries we get borrowers from. Dr. Sama has been in contact with some Daughters of Charity in Madagascar. She explained GLOBE to them, and the sisters are considering working with GLOBE. I really would like to add Madagascar to our group of countries, but I am having some doubts. Dr. Sama had mentioned she was in contact with Guatemala for years and the daughters only agreed to work with us after GLOBE took a fellow’s trip to Guatemala. Dr. Sama had mentioned that is how they acquired most of the countries we work with today by visiting them. But it will be hard to travel to Madagascar right now given the current pandemic. We have turned to work on our other objectives. One being updating our borrower spreadsheet. In order to update it we need more information about these loans from the field. Dr. Sama brought to our attention that the Enterprise Team also has questions they would like to ask the field, so I have thinking about getting in touch with the EDA team and seeing if some of our questions overlap.
This Tuesday was a very busy day for me with GLOBE. I was in charge of take over Tuesday this week, so I was posting throughout the day everything I was doing. This week our position paper outline was due, our discussion post was due, our peer response was due, and we had our midterm for GLOBE. Me and my team are planning on meeting up this week to discuss the questions we have found from looking over the borrower spread sheet but also talk about our loan from Guatemala and verbalize possible recommendations.
By: Juliana Gallo
This week we had a guest speaker, Evan. Evan was incredibly inspiring and his energy radiated positivity. I learned a lot from his presentation and had many takeaways. One being you must follow your dreams; no idea is too big or small. Just do it! Seriously, follow your dreams; if you never do, you will always look back and have many what ifs. I really liked how Evan incorporated Social Entrepreneurship into his business idea. Personally, I believe it has contributed greatly to his success. Teaching kids not only how to skateboard but life values as well is an amazing concept. Evan has done so much in his four short years of business, it is incredible. It really inspired me to chase my dreams. I thought it was amazing how he traveled to many different countries while incorporating his business into each trip. Something as simple as a skateboard can change a child’s life, that’s the beauty of helping others.
We spoke about Social Entrepreneurship and what it means to be a social entrepreneur. I believe the driving force behind this business orientation is passion. Passion is not something learned rather, it is within you. Passion is whatever ignites your spark and lights your fire. I am an extremely passionate person, so this lesson spoke to me on a deeper level. In today’s world everyone is so concerned with profits; that’s all people see. We are losing sight of the true meaning of business. Profit is not everything yes, it is an indicator of success but, it is not exclusively the only indicator. Businesses have a corporate social responsibility, and more business should have greater emphasis on such practices. In a social business success is not measured in profits rather, it is measured in terms of impact.
Our lesson spoke to me on a personal level because I am in the process of starting a non-for-profit organization to help women in my community. While helping others we truly are able to help ourselves in ways we have never thought we could. I have learned so much in three short months of starting my organization. The lessons in GLOBE directly help me to advance my organization and I am so grateful to have this amazing GLOBE experience.
My team and I received our first correspondence from the field; a survey from Sister Pascale. We are all so pleased and excited! It feels so real to have gotten our revised field survey back from one of the daughters of charity. Her responses are so important and will help GLOBE advance as a social business. My team and I are hoping to get many more responses by the end of this semester, but this was certainly a great jump in the right direction!
By: Harmonia Peet
As I told Evan Dittig, after his presentation on the company he founded Shred.co, I have never been as inspired by a college presentation as I was on that day. It was really cool to see an alum make it in the real world, doing something he loves to do and implementing social business elements into Shred.co. The presentation showed me that not all business is mean and bad (like it is presented to be so heavily in media sometimes). From the way Shred.co empowers children using something that many kids are interested in, to how they work to provide skate products to organizations across the GLOBE or through workshops with people who have disabilities, they are able to ensure that skating is used as a force for good. It showed me social business have to be intentional and important to the leadership of a company for it to work. Evan points to his experience in GLOBE as a catalyst for his passion to give back and that is inspiring to see that he has done it, because not everyone does.
Another important element was his acknowledgment of the difficulties and successes he encountered with his business during the pandemic period. For a whole lot of the presentation, it made me realize that his business was similar to that of the businesses our organization, GLOBE, provides credit for. An element of risk, changing conditions i.e. the Pandemic, thinking about how one is going to make money, how things like inventory or payment schedules work, all come into what it means to be an entrepreneur. However, even Evan pointed out the vast differences between the country he operates in and the developing world he visited. Our borrowers live in this world and may have relatively little lifelines to escape poverty, unlike us in the US who have a pretty high standard of living with social safety nets. It got me to thinking, failure or difficulty for Evan may be horrible for his business but failure or hardship can mean things like starvation for people in poverty. It also means that success has higher stakes for those in poverty. It can mean adequate sanitation or home structures, better and more regular food consumption, the ability to send a child to school and so forth. I think it will be really important to see which of our borrowers’ businesses were greatly impacted (negatively and positively) because of the pandemic or other changing social circumstances. It will allow us to see how effective our program is in getting the kinds of anti-poverty results we desire in the midst of crisis, and how standard of living is impacted because of these changes in businesses. Additionally, thinking about how we can help the companies we loan to bounce back like Evan did (after losing business last year but gaining a lot more in recent times because of COVID) to achieve our social goals. Other than that, I was just glad to be able to make a comparison between different entrepreneurs and think about what business can mean for someone.
This past week in GLOBE, we held a remote session for our guest speaker, Evan Dittig. Evan Dittig graduated from the Tobin College of Business with a degree in Marketing in St John’s class of 2017. He is a former GLOBE manager and was the liaison for the Marking/Social Media department from the Fall 2016 semester. After graduation, Evan pursued his passion for skateboarding and applied his business degree by starting his own skateboard instructional business, Skate. Now LLC, presently named Shred.co. During class, Evan gave us this background, as well as some his experiences with the GLOBE Fellows trip to Nicaragua. This would later influence his future business as it includes global social impact ventures, with an addition of donating skateboard equipment and guidance to skaters globally.
It was nice to meet a former GLOBE manager who thrived off his experiences with GLOBE. The way that Evan carries himself, how his eyes lit up when talking about GLOBE, and the overall vibrational energy that he provided during class was astounding and nothing short of inspiring. He represents the best of GLOBE, and the unique goal of transformative change in the world. Evan took his own individual path to accomplishing this goal by entrepreneurship, but I realized there are other pathways to accomplishing the same thing. He reassured the current managers that it’s okay to start with uncertainty and a lack of understanding, because that is the jumping off point to something extraordinary and something that represents the positive influence GLOBE has on its students.
I would like to add that we are reaching the plateau of our objectives that we’ve set for this semester. With collaboration with the Marketing & Fundraising team, the efforts done on their part to advance our GiveCampus campaign gave us the green light to allow us to do our hard work to align their own. In addition, our recent meeting with the Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team presented new ideas and implementations to our current objectives that would deem effective and easier for the future generation of GLOBE managers. These new objectives would set the groundwork for a better engagement with our borrowers and allow future GLOBE managers to accelerate their movement with this connection.
By: Sarah Cullivan
Thoughts… As I sat in GLOBE class this evening, I found myself more attentive than usual, not that I usually don’t pay attention. But we often just accept the information we are hearing and don’t actively try to understand it. However, tonight, the little voice inside my head, which we so lovingly refer to as our conscience, was running wild. Listening to the different teams present I began to think about society as a whole and our preconceived notions and judgments. How we so easily, without interacting, come to conclusions about one another- maybe it’s the way we look or speak…maybe it’s the clothes we wear. Regardless we have all done it. We have all had a moment in which we thought something about someone based on a physical characteristic or something someone else told us.
This idea got me thinking about poverty, and how we so often classify it to a specific region of the world. However, Dr. Sama said it well tonight when discussing finding our parallel voice and understanding the parallels we share with our borrowers. Because at the end of the day we are all human beings who face challenges that we strive to overcome and need basic necessities to function; some just have easier access to them.
Our reading for this week highlighted the importance of financial inclusion and borrower understating in Nigeria. With each passing week, the importance of creating financially inclusive communities and diversifying how we approach each borrower is emphasized. For instance, in Nigeria, Muslims makeup 55% of Nigeria’s population, but are severely overlooked because of compliance with Shariah. Additionally, these MFIs lose sight of how high-interest rates can adversely affect the alleviation of poverty. Our reading over the weeks has allowed me to fully comprehend the importance of the work we do in GLOBE, how the program is structured with the intent of helping the borrower achieve independent financial success.
Currently, we are almost done with our second loan we are just finalizing our risk assessment model and our final recommendation. It is important for us to heavily vet all possibilities and reduce uncertainty by foreseeing any possible risks. We should have it finalized by tomorrow evening and then we are gearing all our attention towards finish our other objectives because it is hard to fathom but we are already halfway through the semester!
By: Weiying Zhang
This week, our main task is to complete the oral summary presentation. This time our chapter is Hazards of Prosperity. It involves the main reasons for current climate change. It is undeniable that while people are rapidly developing their economy, they are also using a large number of non-renewable resources, resulting in fewer and fewer resources for the next generation, and bringing about fatal environmental changes. In this chapter, the author uses the example of disasters in Bangladesh, such as climate change that makes floods more frequent and natural destructiveness. Entire villages and even entire regions will be washed away, and millions of people will be displaced. Many people were killed by the flood, especially children. Resolving this crisis will require the joint efforts of people from all over the world. Because of the rapid economic development, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries have been lifted out of poverty. But at the same time, it also endangers lives and lives for those in developing countries. We are unstoppable because of the environmental changes brought about.
I think that as long as countries carefully balance the process of economic development and sustainable management, this may be able to alleviate global inequality and improve global human life. Currently, we can see that because enterprises in developed countries seek to maximize profits, this has a greater threat to the environment than in developing countries, and it also increases the burden on developing countries. At the same time, the gap between rich and poor has not narrowed as many people expected. Social problems continue to emerge. Because many times after we put profit first, we forget the environment, public health, and sustainable development. We only focus on how to get the maximum profit margin. What does this have to do with GLOBE? I think that through GLOBE, or social enterprises, schools, non-governmental organizations, charities, and non-profit organizations, in the final analysis, voices made through mainstream enterprises or organizations can be heard by more audiences. Call on people to pay attention to the problems brought about by rapid economic development. I am looking forward to our presentation tonight.
By: Arianna Pappone
As the weeks fly by, we are increasingly becoming more aware of the benefits that the unique experience of GLOBE is bringing to us. First of all, the ability to cooperate and to organize our tasks, communicating through emails and cooperating with other teams, provides us with a real experience that will surely be needed in the work field. This might be taken for granted, but teamwork and organizational skills are essential and required by any employer and working context. A great example of cooperation and teamwork that we have been having these weeks thanks to GLOBE is the collaboration and communication of the Marketing and Technology teams, in order to find innovative solutions and ideas to be applied in the context of what we do. Some of the results of our collaboration include the creation of a podcast, that has been implemented for the first time this semester, and the creation of a new website, which we are working on successfully. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far, and I am looking forward to other results of our work.
Studying microfinance has also had a great impact on my awareness of some features of the economic markets, as well as the “good and bad” sides of microfinance. What I wanted to highlight, which I believe has been something I have found just in GLOBE so far and in no other classes or programs during my college experience, is a whole perspective that looks at both the positive and negative aspects of what we have been studying and working on. It is hard to stay neutral on a topic that is been addressed with particular focus in certain contexts, but GLOBE manages to help us understand how, although microfinance can be an important tool to use, it is not the only and resolutive way to alleviate poverty and solve issues.
Finally, I wanted to talk about how GLOBE has been helping many of its managers finding their own way. One of those managers is me. Through GLOBE, I had the opportunity to discover some things I liked working on and what I would like to carry on in the future. For example, I discovered I like the rewarding feeling of constantly working on new projects and ideas, and for these reasons, I would like to include these in my career. This is something you can find out just through practical experience and I am very grateful to GLOBE for this.
By: Bryanna Smith
As we are in the mid semester of GLOBE, I would like to share how my team has made an impact on my personal life. I briefly touched on this on my first or second log, but now I see the importance of this awareness.
My therapist has pointed out several thinking patterns that I tend to do when I interact with other people. Unfortunately, I have dealt with a lot of trauma due to mistrust, abuse, and abandonment with past friendships, romantic partners, and parents since I was a child. And because of that, I have a tendency to have these negative thoughts and limiting beliefs whenever I come into contact with a person. For instance, if a person is friendly, does nice favors, or have basic respect for me, I take that as them having bad intentions towards me and being inauthentic. And what I start to do is self-sabotage myself and the relationship dynamic with that person. I’ll start to say to myself “This person is being too nice, they probably want to use me, real love doesn’t exist”. And the result of these negative thoughts led me to push the person away and end the relationship by being pessimistic and wary of the person. This ultimately ended up with me not having friends for a long while. I initially had these negative thoughts with my GLOBE team members and explained this to my therapist. She told me that not every person is out to get me, and I shouldn’t let the past determine my current reality (my therapist and I are currently working on healing and forgiving people in my past). My GLOBE team has been very supportive and caring, and I shouldn’t sabotage it due to my past. GLOBE is actually teaching me some lessons that are pivotal to my personal growth. Because I have to be consistent with communicating with my team and I can’t necessarily push them away like what I normally do, I am forced to sit down with my fears and really figure out why I push people away so often. Having the opportunity to speak with a therapist while interacting with a group of people (my GLOBE team) allowed me to see my patterns and heal trauma from the past. This just goes to show that every situation that presents itself in life is an opportunity for growth. I am now starting to have more trust with my GLOBE team and with people overall after having this awareness. It's important to note that if I didn't join GLOBE, I wouldn't have this realization of my fears linked to my past. GLOBE also made me realize the importance of teamwork and unity, and that we need people to work together to accomplish more because we can't do it all by ourselves sometimes. We are all connected to better ourselves and this world, and I shouldn't be afraid of letting people into my life. This is one step closer into making healthy connections with people. Being a part of GLOBE has given me hope to become my better, true authentic self while given the opportunity to better the lives of others as well. It's a win for win.
Stress, but at the same time achievement. Around this time of the year when the weather gets nice, I always find myself falling into a summer mindset. Maybe it’s because I yearn to spend my time in the fresh air rather than behind a computer screen, especially now more than ever with a large majority of my classes completely virtual. However, I am thankful that there is some type of normalcy on Tuesday nights, in which I can gather with my fellow GLOBE managers in person. These past few weeks have been hectic, to say the least. I find myself feeling like once I complete one assignment another is waiting for me. However, I have found that with each passing week my GLOBE team shows up and I am able to count on them. Tonight especially, provided a much-needed stress relief. Unfortunately, the class was held virtually, but during our breakout session, I found that my team was truly able to connect. It was a night filled with laughter and honesty- something that was completely necessary! We had the opportunity to work out some things that needed to be discussed amongst the team members so that we could finish these remaining weeks strong and come together to fulfill the objectives we are yet to meet.
While listening to Dr. Sama’s lecture tonight I found the opening quote to be powerful. It was by Paul Farmer, an American medical anthropologist, and physician, he said, "For me, an area of moral clarity is you're in front of someone who's suffering, and you have the tools at your disposal to alleviate that suffering or even eradicate it, and you act." Not only did this quote provoke my mind regarding GLOBE, but life in general. I began reflecting on my life in New York, particularly the subway. Often while riding the subway, we pass individuals in dire need, who in some instances go out of their way to make themselves known. When this occurs, I remind myself “Keep your head down… don’t make eye contact… they will go away if you don’t acknowledge them!” But do these thoughts make me immoral? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, but Paul Farmer’s quote made me question the ability I have to alleviate someone else’s suffering and my active decision to turn a blind eye. Moving forward I now understand the importance of first recognizing the suffering of another and if I am able to, I should choose to act morally and use my tools to provide relief.
I started this log by saying, “stress, but at the same time achievement.” This is because at the end of the day regardless of the amount of pressure I may be feeling the work we are doing is rewarding. We successfully finished our second loan application after weeks of contemplating whether or not we had enough info and which route we should take. Ultimately, we arrived at giving José Valentin Coroy Zelada a loan of $389.00 to be paid over 15 months at a 5% interest rate. He originally asked to repay in 9 months, but we believed that changing it to 15 months allowed José more security with his monthly income because the monthly payments are lower. José is going to use this loan to repair his vehicle and by doing so he will be able to continue his business and raise his income, allowing him to provide for himself and his family.
It's hard to believe this is the seventh of ten logs and that we have around five weeks left, but tomorrow is game night and I’m excited to meet old GLOBE managers and hear about their personal experiences!
Risk is inherent while conducting business, risks associated with microfinance exist both for the borrowers and the microfinance institution. The root of microfinance is to provide a banking system to those considered “unbankable” by commercial and traditional institutions. Providing microcredit loans to those who live in poverty and considered “unbankable” presents a tremendous amount of risk, you are assisting people whose risk is much too high for commercial or traditional banks. Why is this so? Why do poor people carry more risk when taking out a loan? Is it because they have little collateral to put up should the loan default? If this is the sole reason, then we need a better banking system. I can assure you the problem does not lay between the fact of repayment or skill; people who live in poverty repay their debts and sometimes repay them at a better rate then a “well off” person and poor people have a tremendous amount of skill which we may certainty cannot look past.
Microfinance institutions are taking a chance on the poor, they are financing the “risky” people. Running a microfinance institution comes with many risks such as strategic, financial and operational. Strategic risks come from the problems within management, it is extremely hard to manage a microfinance institution because there are little to no ways to measure efficiency and effectiveness. Management weakness is the greatest microfinance weakness. Financial weakness comes from loaning money to poor people who have no collateral and no credit. The risk of default is huge. Microfinance institutions risks losing all or some money. To compensate for this risks some MFIs charge high interest rates. Operational risks are present which refer to staffing, cost controls and fraud. MFIs are highly costly to run. MFIs should pay more attention to crisis management rather than risk management because crisis management address risk it occurs and helps to plan a strategy for dealing with losses.
Borrowers of MFIs have many risks that affect their livelihood and repayment of their loan. Political, social and environmental risks are all present for borrowers. Many of our GLOBE borrowers are located in the Philippians and have recently been exposed to political risk, a change in government. A change in government can be detrimental to business owners because it could change the way you operate and conduct business. We have a group loan in the Philippians; the group of borrowers own and operate Sari Sari store which are convenience stores. The recent change in government has affected their business by placing heavy taxes on the key items they sell. Social risk refers to social disruptions such as terrorism and vandalism. In countries where governments are unstable there are high rates of terrorism and vandalism which can affect one’s business, should the business get vandalized. Many of our Filipino borrowers are farmers who rely heavily on the weather. One drought or flood could ruin their entire crop yield which they rely on for income and food. The main risk present to borrowers in poor countries is the fact that they have nothing to fall back on should their business fail, they are no income protection, no welfare systems and no healthcare. These are all major barriers that we take for granted here in the United States.
If you know you are doing something for the last time, would you do it differently? I have been asking this question to myself recently. Everything I do is my one and only attempt. My input, things I say, or write will put a mark on me. So, I want to consciously put my best effort into it. Being a Student Leader, I’ve participated in many public speaking and presentations. But my energy is different every time. My nervousness sometimes fakes its disappearance while other times it attracts attention from every organ of my body. I told myself that I am not going to surrender during my GLOBE presentation. They are my family, my peers, there is no pressure, I am creating the pressure within me, so I have control over it. After meditating on this thought, boom! I instantly felt calm and relaxed throughout the class. In all my previous presentations, all the managers looked and nodded while listening to me, which provided me with so much support and confidence and I got the same response this time too. Also, Dr. Sama provides us with valuable tips that really help to present in a seamless and confident manner. It is a blessing to be a part of this cohort.
The more I attend this class, the more I realize there is so little that I know and there is so much more to learn. The discussion about the risk to borrowers and class presentation on risk to the MFIs were so crucial. I realized until I put myself in their shoes, I will not be able to fully grasp the struggle. It is very easy to explain the theory, cause, and effect relationship, and the data and statistics related to the risk, but I cannot fully say I know the human aspect of these struggles which stresses my yearning to gain field experience on MFI institutions. As I was reading “Markets of Sorrows: Labors of Faith” which talks about New Orleans Post Katrina I realized that government aid, private aid, and micro finances can cover up their wound if they really work to their optimum but cannot heal them. I was made aware of how I have been overestimating the responsibilities of microfinance in the lives of the poor. Nevertheless, it is evident that MFI is an important tool to soothe and improve the economic and social (to a certain extend) status of the low-income group. Understanding MFI’s function realistically helped me filter a lot of bias I had for the institute.
This week in GLOBE we learned about managing performance and risk, more specifically, we learned about the determinants of self-sufficiency. I was especially interested in this topic, as for my position paper I plan to explore self-sufficiency within Microfinance. It was interesting to hear the ways GLOBE tries to be self-sufficient or at least works to get closer to that point of self-sufficiency. For starters, GLOBE is self-sufficient in certain countries which allows for the money we get from past borrowers to go towards loans of new borrowers. One way that GLOBE really saves on costs is through staff salaries. We as GLOBE managers work for free, so there are substantial savings in staff salaries. An important factor to keep in mind regarding MFIs in general, is the larger they are in scale, the easier it is to get to that point of self-sufficiency. While self-sufficiency is a significant goal that should be aspired, it must also not get in the way of providing affordable loans to borrowers.
Meeting with Alina from Facebook was so helpful in helping us kickstart our idea for Facebook groups to have our borrowers better connected. One thing she told us that we were happily surprised about was how Facebook can provide translations of posts. This means that borrowers from all over the world will be able to interact with one another regardless of the language they speak. I think this is both an amazing and inspiring step into an endeavor that has not been tackled before. Having this interconnectedness amongst our borrowers will only make our GLOBE family stronger. It will be interesting to see how the borrowers interact with one another by sharing their success stories and how they’ve been positively impacted by a GLOBE loan. Perhaps the borrowers can even offer each other tips and tricks that helped them succeed in their businesses. We are so excited to create a strong foundation for this project that we hope will last many semesters to come!
Last Wednesday, the marketing team organized a virtual game night inviting past GLOBE managers. This event was so exciting to be a part of because GLOBE managers from as early as 2012 made an appearance. This really showed how GLOBE has impacted the lives of our past managers. It was great to hear them talk about their experiences with GLOBE and how they carried that experience throughout life. Many managers were able to reunite with their fellow classmates after a long time and update each other on what was going on in their lives.
Throughout the event they recalled their favorite memories from the class, and it was heartwarming to see that. The past mangers were also such good sports, they were very involved and participated in most of the games. You could see that they were all genuinely happy to be there. During my time at Northwestern Mutual I made many friends but once I left, we all lost contact, and everyone went their separate ways. I never expected to talk to any of them again but one of friends that I worked with their also goes to St. John’s, so we made the effort to meet up every couple of months to update each other on our lives. It always felt great to seeing him and talking about the days we worked together. I hope to one day come back like the past managers did for this event and visit the future and past managers. Even now seeing my fellow classmates and all we are accomplishing makes me feel proud. I hope to continue some of these friendships even after the semester ends into the future. This event made me realize that GLOBE will always be a part of me and my life.
This evening, the club that I am president of, the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Ambassadors, held an event called “Fight Ignorance, Not Immigrants”. First, a man who grew up and lived all his life in a border-town in Texas spoke about his experiences in spaces where he was constantly confronted with his identity, where he constantly had to prove his citizenship. We then had a workshop on dismantling common migrant stereotypes and breakout group workshops on intersectionality and on environmental racism. I co-led the workshop on environmental racism, specifically focusing in on its impact on Latinx communities. Some of what we talked about bleeds into what I’ve learned in my economics classes; mainly the fact that where one is born is a huge determinant of the rest of one’s life. If someone is born into poverty, they are likely to stay impoverished. Opportunity is generally less accessible in “developing” countries compared to “developed” countries. We also talked about climate refugees; people who are forced from their homes due to the effects of climate change. This has become increasingly common as the ozone layer depletes and our climate and land changes.
Moving on from issues to action, we explained that everyone has different spheres of influence – individual, interpersonal, community, institutional, societal – in which they can affect change. As individuals, we can educate ourselves, something GLOBE has helped me to do. Talking to those around us about issues that we care about and that have serious worldly implications can be a way to create change interpersonally. My participation in GLOBE has given me the opportunity to educate others on microfinance, which many of my peers and loved ones were previously unaware of. Organizationally and in my community, I can do things like host and attend events on climate justice and related issues and solutions. Another thing I can do is participate in organizations that actively work to combat these issues, like GLOBE and CRS.
Microfinance gives people opportunities they would otherwise not have, and I am proud to be a part of an MFI that identifies as a social business and that acts in alignment with the principles of a social business. I love that what I do in GLOBE often connects to my other coursework and to my extracurricular involvement!
Game Night, on which our team had been working for weeks, finally arrived and took place a few days ago. This event was a lot of fun and it was particularly good for the Marketing team, as it was very rewarding for us to see that what we were planning worked out well. It was also a pleasure meeting all the previous GLOBE managers, and I believe something unique about GLOBE is that it allows you to be part of a community and build meaningful connections that do not end with the semester, but that will be long-lasting. In addition, what I was very glad to see is how the GLOBE community is made up of so many brilliant and successful people. As we have talked about during the event, every manager’s future was influenced by this program and some people even realized what career path they wanted to pursue because of GLOBE.
During these last weeks, our team had been meeting regularly outside class to work on our projects, and this also allowed us to get closer and to organize ourselves better than we did at the beginning. We are now working on the cultural brochure, which is almost completed and that was useful for us to work on designing and writing in an engaging way, to capture people’s attention. We are also excited about giving Campus Campaign and we are looking forward to seeing how the video is going to look like.
During these weeks, I believe I have been acquiring some skills that I would have not found in any other class: some of the most important are teamwork, which is one of the most important components of GLOBE, and the ability to elaborate ideas and projects in a more clear and confident way, thanks to the oral reading summaries and the meetings with the Steering Committee and the other people involved in GLOBE. In addition, I learned so much about microfinance and I am looking forward to learning more.
By: Darren Maraj
One blink and suddenly, we have less than 2 classes left for the rest of the semester. Now embarking on our final lap, our class is now bearing witness to the objectives that we set at the beginning of the semester. The goals we initiated as a team to hopefully materialize by a culmination of teamwork, hard work, and a great deal of trial and error. This is the moment we’ve been diligently waiting for – to present to our target audiences our results based on the team’s agenda. This doesn’t solely include the Technology and Communication Team’s agenda, but the agendas for everyone, and seeing how their journey progressed. We were excited to listen attentively to the objectives set by our peers, and now seeing them come to pass is an exciting feeling to have.
One event that was set by our peers that we observed from the ground up is our GLOBE Game Night, hosted by the Marketing & Fundraising Team. Needless to say, this event was one of the biggest for our semester and part of a significant category of goals administered by the Marketing & Fundraising Team. The game contained multiple options of different games pertaining to test our knowledge of everything within and outside of GLOBE. Current and former GLOBE managers were invited, and the whole experience of having a virtual game night was exhilarating and beautifully orchestrated. I had my reservations regarding the quality of the experience of having to play remotely, but the Marketing Team devised creative ways to engage with the participants and to keep us on our feet. For instance, instead of being able to hit a button the quickest or raising your hand the quickest, everyone had to answer a 1-word answer in the chat box to a random question, and whoever had the correct answer first gets to participate in the game for their turn. I thought this was so fantastic and it definitely got me on the edge of my seat endeavoring to compete for a spot to answer a nicely written question and potentially get some points. Overall, this was a great success and I’m happy that I got to be a part of this monumental event that, without a doubt, will transform into something greater for future semesters to come.
Finally, our team has created our GiveCampus campaign video that’s been on the top of list of objectives since this journey began. With full honesty, there was much doubt about the construction of this video, particularly due to miscommunications, lack of a vision and plan, and the press for time in meeting certain deadlines for it. Nevertheless, as I’ve always mention in previous reflections about the magic our team possesses as GLOBE managers and students, we didn’t fail to deliver a video of sound quality. I would compare the video to a music artist sampling an original song and clipping part(s) to serve as a foundation for their own song, so that with the addition of the imagination, creativity, and thoughtfulness that gets put into the creation of the work, it becomes an original. That’s the best way I can elaborate on the making of our video. It was birthed with the help of inspiration and pressure, a necessary mix of achievement and thespian venture. Being able to test my editing skills for this whole video is always a pleasure as I’ve been editing videos since I was a freshman in high school. To work with small pieces and putting them together in unique fashion like a digital puzzle creates a feeling of pride and accomplishment. I hope that with this video, we are all satisfied by how it represents GLOBE, our current managers, and in raising the broader awareness of social change we push so heavily onto each other, and onto the world.
By: Frank D’Elia
Another week for GLOBE has passed. I really enjoyed tonight’s class, especially getting to hear about the success story of Jane. She did everything possible to be able to take a loan and used that loan to completely change her life. It was a prime example of what we are about and makes you truly appreciate the life-changing effect that microfinancing has to offer. All in all, tonight certainly a great session. Spending some time organizing with the Finance team, along with talking and socializing with others was certainly an enjoyable experience. Especially as we now get to come together as one big team for GiveCampus.
Tomorrow is a big day for the GLOBE team as we are presenting our second loan recommendation to the Steering Committee. The Finance team has worked really hard with this to make sure everything was done right so that this loan can get approved. This has been the most intense semester that I have experienced during my time at St. John’s but getting opportunities to better the lives of others certainly make the effort worth it.
This class has certainly opened my eyes to how much of issue poverty is worldwide. Growing up, we learn in school that poverty refers to being poor, but we do not learn about the struggles of escaping it and potential solutions to ending it. I am very appreciative of this experience and how it has helped me realize the importance of ethical microfinance, and I hope to see more and more growth over the years.
By: Weiying Zhang
What is unbelievable is that time flies so fast, it has reached the end of the semester in a blink of an eye, and soon we will start the last oral summary presentation. Recall what I have learned in the course of this semester. I think I have a new understanding of Microfinance. What I learned in China most of the Microfinance in China is in the form of cash loans. It is not aimed at people in poor areas. More like a commercial product whose main goal is profit. The development momentum of the cash loan business is extremely rapid in China, and the process and speed of loans are simpler. The common ones among the various slogans on the web page are "No review required", "No guarantee required", and "get a loan in 2 minutes". This is also mainly for low-income blue-collar workers and white-collar workers who have just worked. Their loan uses include daily shopping, renting a house, repaying credit cards, and enjoying consumption. This also made me misunderstand Microfinance, what I knew about Microfinance was too one-sided.
In this class, I realized what we are doing. The goal of GLOBE is to help people in poverty-stricken areas, help them improve their lives, and improve their ability to make money so that they have the ability to develop their own small businesses or maintain the operation of their families. As long as we use it properly, Microfinance can be a powerful tool for many people. This is very meaningful to me. Nowadays, we live a beautiful life, but on the other side of the world, there are still a large number of people still suffering from poverty and lack of resources, for example, clean water. I hope that even after the course, I will be able to help those struggling on the poverty line as much as I can.
One of the most important lessons I learnt from my first in college course at St. John’s, Introduction to Global Development and Sustainability, was about the importance of grassroots organizations. Organizations that grow and flourish from the ground up, not from the top-to-bottom kind of model that pervades the development landscape. This is largely because they place huge emphasis on 1) listening to/knowing the community they work in 2) adjusting programs to fit the need much better (instead of making the same mistakes) 3) use a more specific model (then just applying a general model and trying to mold that to fit the community).
This definitely seems like one of the best parts about Amistad y Fe (Fellowship and Faith), the partnership Edmund Klimek presented in the most recent class. He went into such detail about how his parish in New Jersey developed a strong relationship with a rural, Guatemalan community based of mutual faith and friendship. The use of solidarity lending, along with various other projects the parish helped back financially is a great mission. Klimek spent so much time discussing how the parish regularly communicates with the community, how they adjust programs to better fit the community (ie. Using group saving models that were started by the Guatemalans themselves) and by not adhering strictly to microloans or charity but combining different models and making the assistance unique.
They are the quintessential model of what grassroots, but international partnership can look like. GLOBE in many ways is a small, international organization that has many similar qualities. We communicate to the sisters who we work with on the ground and in several cases, we adjust interest rates and some practices to best fit the communities and people we work with. We are also similar in that Edmund’s parish benefits from their work so much, the same way us GLOBE managers benefit from the learning experience while our borrowers benefit financially. We gain so much in terms of skills, education about poverty, learning about places outside of the US and so forth. It is not a one-way beneficiary system. As GLOBE students work to help those in poverty, we learn and grow beyond what we could have otherwise. Further, it was great to see the parallels between what GLOBE is doing and what Amistad y Fe is doing, in a way that is not two microfinance groups trying to compete-but two organizations hoping for mutual success in poverty alleviation.
Once again, I left another GLOBE class feeling inspired and hopeful.
We have finally unveiled the beauty of our work – the north star for our efforts in this amazing course. This amazing family. This week, the Technology and Communication, and the Marketing and Fundraising Teams, have kickstarted our GiveCampus Campaign for the Spring 2021 semester. Both teams held meetings with Dr. Sama, receiving both praise and instruction on how to carry forward with this first step in our fundraising initiative. On this year’s GiveCampus website, we as GLOBE managers have the chance to be addressed as advocates for our campaign, meaning that we are encouraging the people around us, and the others that have access to our campaign, to be informed with our program, our brand, and our mission towards social change. The video, combined with the narrative outstandingly composed by the Marketing & Fundraising Team, creates a harmonious experience for those who accesses the page, getting a shot to view a video that not only represents who we are, but reflects the behavior of social entrepreneurs that we all strive to be.
This article stresses the importance of collecting good data to indicate experiments and any progress initiated by anti-poverty programs. They mention key organizations such as the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), who, like the concerns our team highlighted in our oral presentations, work to prevent waste of money, donations, and other resources by using randomized control trials. According to the article, one of the trials set up by a non-IPA (along with others that were set up by IPA) consisted of providing smaller loans to poor farmers in Bangladesh if they moved to a city to work, but the trials ended because the data they collected indicated that this move wouldn't have been successful or effective. This article raises a lot of interesting points that we discuss in class, including microfinance ethics, evidence indicating whether microlending empowers women or not, and plenty of great material. When it comes to the operation of GLOBE, you get to witness the trials conducted with strategizing certain groups of entrepreneurs with different backgrounds to receive loans based on some condition. With proper data, you get to see the success of it and whether or not it's really worth the provision or even taking the risk of having these loans have successful repayment rates. This article emphasizes collecting good data in the field of distributing essential resources with experimentation of ambitious individuals, but like everything, it is all trial and error and there's no one-size fit all solution of battling the poverty epidemic.
As I am writing this log, I have an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. Tonight, was our last in-person class… where did the time go? Sometimes it feels like our first class was months ago, but others it feels like I should be writing my second log and not my tenth. Tonight’s class was one full of triumph and achievement. We presented our second unanimously approved loan application to the class and got a special shout out from Harmony for our dedication to understanding the borrower’s needs which felt empowering. As I reflect on the semester powerful words come to mind: influential, collaborative, impactful, community… these are all words that describe my semester as a GLOBE manager. It was one full of a variety of feelings, at some moments stress but at the end, there was always joy knowing the effect our work would have.
Although we said farewell to each other tonight for the in-person aspect of the class, our work is far from over. Dr. Sama informed my team that we may be receiving one more loan, one like something we have never received before, from a Daughter herself looking to start a business. I am excited to receive this loan, but it does come at quite a busy point in the term- we are in the final stretch of completing our final objective (assessing interest rate guidelines), have the research paper to tackle, and the final presentation all within the coming week.
While listening to the team’s present tonight along with my own reading I began to understand the importance of management, a topic that isn’t new, but rather more impactful when envisioned with our real-life borrowers in mind. It is essential to strategically plan, analyze historical finances, and assess the risks to create a successful loan portfolio. As I reflect on my team’s objectives, I can confidently say these three things were performed by us over the course of the semester. We created a plan for the term by setting our objectives, analyzed not only our borrower’s historical income, but the historical repayment from each of the countries we operate in, and with each loan we assessed the risk before deciding how to proceed.
As the semester comes to a close, I am grateful for my time as a manager and for the connections I have made. I am enthusiastic to share all of them my team has accomplished and look forward to passing the torch to the next Finance and Risk Assessment team.
Log # 10
As I sit here and write my 10th GLOBE log, I find myself reflecting on my GLOBE experience as a whole. This is truly a one of a kind unique experience at the very least. This experience is one I hold incredibly near to my heart; it has helped me to see the world around me. GLOBE forces you to take a second, a quick moment, to stop and think about the world entirely. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to new limits and that is truly where the magic happens. There is so much more to this world than your hometown or your comfort zone.
GLOBE encourages you to see poverty in a whole new light, it gives such a complex issue a new way of presenting itself. Our borrowers are real and so are their stories, as much as they have learned and benefited from GLOBE, I believe they have contributed just as much to the lives and education of all GLOBE managers. I can honestly say GLOBE has changed my prospective on poverty, it has allowed me to see past their situation and find hope for the future.
This week we learned about social impact investing which is a great tool to enhance opportunities in developing countries. Social impacting investing is mutually beneficial to both the investor and developing industries. Microfinance as a whole is extremely hard to measure but social impact investing can be measured through its returns. The main reason microfinance cannot be measured or proven affective is that every credible study must address/answer the question, how have the lives of borrowers changed due to microfinance relative to how their lives would have been without microfinance tools? This question is extremely hard to prove because you can never really know what would have happened because we cannot go back in time, than how do we prove their success is attributed to microfinance? This is a very puzzling idea which my team and I have been trying to untangle. My team and I have been working on reviewing and editing the pre loan survey, the loan application and the post loan survey to try and gather information in order to address/answer these questions. We are so hopeful that our new and revised pre loan survey, the loan application and the post loan survey move GLOBE as a program closer to proving their impact in alleviating poverty in developing countries!
By: Sadhabi Thapa
Log # 10
While we’re almost at the destination, my journey has just begun. GLOBE has been one of the best rides of my life. This means I strive to find rides like this in my future, where I can experience thrillers, joy, hustle, and relief all in one package. I applied to GLOBE with the vision that I am going to grow and learn many things about microcredit. But I see myself transformed into a better person. The insight on world poverty through the tool of loans has been eye-opening. As a graduating senior, GLOBE has helped me refine the choices of my career path. Through the experience of marketing and fundraising, learning all the tips and tricks to reach the objective in an efficient way, receiving friendship in a team, I’ve found confidence in me that says: “Soar High”.
I believe all the teams have been really innovative in their own way. The finance team assessed the second loan that was approved this semester and I am very excited to learn about the borrower. It is the entrepreneurs whose motivation and untiring effort that keeps us inspired to push our limits outside of the comfort zone and in the process of helping others I find that I have been helping myself all this time. One instance is that I am not much of a vibe’s starter. But in one of relatives gathering I caught people's attention through my canvassing about GLOBE Give Campus campaign. This not only helped me get done donations, but I was also able to start
a discussion on other pressing family issues in that gathering like the importance of proper parenting and child psychology that became educative and brainstorming experience to so many. With the last objective being the Give Campus Campaign, I have learned not only to communicate and network efficiently but make people feel my passion through words and expression. The enthusiasm I emit while canvassing for GLOBE really revealed that if I am willing, I find my way to achieve it. I never had to look very far to acquire knowledge and wisdom for a fine living. People around me, my fellow managers, my professor, borrowers, and all the staff working at GLOBE had something I could learn from. I knew that if I am not mindful now, I will lose the treasure I can collect. So, if I have to give one piece of advice to any future GLOBE manager, that would be to observe and be mindful of the GLOBE environment, and everywhere in general, to obtain the maximum of what it gives you.
Sitting here writing about GLOBE in my final semester at St. John’s I am reflecting on how this organization has impacted since my first semester. I’ve realized that GLOBE has been all around me throughout my college career. Whether it was with my friend group as a freshman seeing the older kids wearing the GLOBE wristbands and talking about their teams in GLOBE or during Halloween having my classmates come around with a bag of candy and asking for pocket change in exchange to raise money. I have seen signs of GLOBE as my career progressed and knew it was time to pick up on them and begin my journey in Microfinance. I am extremely glad that I had my friends to influence me in joining this meaningful and heartfelt program that many other college students do not have the same opportunity.
It is crazy to think that this is the last log that I will be writing and reflecting on my journey through this program. I started the program eager to learn about what exactly microfinance is and the true effect that it has on people all around the world. Through Dr. Sama’s lectures, the two informative speakers’ events and also my classmates’ presentations I walk away from the GLOBE classroom having a clear understanding of the impact that MFI’s have on woman, their families and their communities. I have come a long way in not only my understanding of MFI’s but also how to become a better businesswoman. Dr. Sama has taught us business etiquette, presentation skills and provided us with the courage to take on the world, after being a part of this beautiful program! I look forward to coming back to events and still making an impact on the GLOBE program.
It is unbelievable how fast this semester flew by. This class is certainly one I wish I could do again. I showed up in January with very little knowledge about microfinance and know I feel like I have been focusing on it for years. I am certainly going to miss the interactive experience that we got to participate in each week as it helped us develop new friendships, along with being part of a productive work environment. I think it showed how far we had come when everyone was rushing together so that we could get some pictures with each other after our last class.
I truly believe this class played a big role in helping me grow as an individual. Getting to work on objectives that primarily focused on helping others is something that is rare in a classroom environment. With all of these objectives, I believe that we should all look back and be proud of what we accomplished. There are few better feelings than being on a call with the steering committee and seeing the loan recommendation our team worked so hard on to get approved along with positive feedback.
Dr. Sama, thank you for always being a very passionate professor and for making this such a positive and interesting experience. Please feel free to reach out if you ever need anything, I would be more than happy to help out.
By: Sephia Philip
As my time here at GLOBE is coming to an end, I find myself looking back to when I started and how far I have come in my journey through GLOBE. My sister benefitted from this program in the past and recommended that I take this class. When I joined GLOBE, I had the intent to meet new people, get more involved on campus and learn about the world of microfinance. Though I am happy to say I achieved all these goals, I have also learned so much more from GLOBE than I ever expected.
When I first joined GLOBE, I felt a sense of the imposter syndrome, soon after; I gained confidence in my abilities through my time in this program. GLOBE taught me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to adapt to ever- changing situations. By working in a team throughout the semester, I was able to recognize how together we were able to fulfill our goals and objectives. I learned both leadership and service skills, these are skills I will take with me throughout my career at St. John’s University and beyond. I got the opportunity to learn more about the advantages that microfinance brought to countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam and many other developing countries. Living in America most of my life, I never realized how this program impacted small businesses abroad. Taking a class that is at service to many people and raising funds through “The Power of One” campaign allowed me to realize the significance that one idea, one inspired individual, and one loan can have to empower individuals, particularly women, to pursue entrepreneurism. Through this program, I have also learned the major role education plays in ending the vicious cycle of poverty for those in these developing countries.
Dr. Sama’s dedication to this program shines through her endless efforts to educate her students and instill in us the tools to grow in our careers, while also giving back to the communities abroad. I am so grateful to be a member of this program and I cannot wait to see what the future GLOBE managers have in store for years to come.
By: Sarah Cullivan
It’s hard to believe the semester has come to an end. Before writing this, I read my first log of the semester and in it, I wrote about my initial feelings of being afraid of the unknown. I had reservations about my abilities to aid our borrowers and wondered if I would develop an interest in microfinance. However, with each passing week, these reservations slowly faded and were replaced with feelings of joy and accomplishment along with an incredible understanding of microfinance.
Before officially becoming a GLOBE manager I had heard the stories told by GLOBE alumni and performed some of my own research to see what I was getting myself into. It looked like a great resumé builder on the surface and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of people thousands of miles away. However, I got so much more than I bargained for. This semester in GLOBE gave me a family, people that I bonded with over our love of creating change and it also allowed me to restructure my thoughts of poverty.
I took a leap of faith in applying and continuing with this course and I am beyond grateful that I did. The first readings that required me to critically think and revise what I had known to be true led me to comprehend that those living in poverty are actually intensive money managers and not people who live “hand to mouth,” but rather individuals who refer to saving as a verb, something that they are continuously and actively doing; not a possession that they have.
As the semester continued, we received a total of two applications, much less than we had hoped for and anticipated; however, through these two loans, I was able to truly grasp the positive effects of microfinance and comprehend the importance of structuring these institutions around the needs of the borrowers. Being able to visualize the direct benefits of our work, allowed me to form a deep appreciation for GLOBE and MFIs as a whole. Although we would have appreciated receiving more applications, not receiving them gave us time to focus on other important objectives. My team and I were able to successfully review and update data in the borrower spreadsheet, which will allow future classes to more easily track repayments and measure success rates in different locations. We also examined interest rate guidelines and came to understand that each borrower is unique in their situation and that a one size fits all model cannot be applied. Despite the situation being completely unique, we established some base factors that can be focused on when deliberating on the interest rate. If there are conditions that will negatively impact the borrower like having a low income and supporting his or her family (with this income) the interest rate may need to be decreased or the repayment period extended. When deciding on the interest rate it is crucial to look at how much the monthly repayment will be of the borrower’s monthly income, ultimately you don’t want to be above 30% because these high repayments can be determinantal to the borrower and reverse the benefits of the loan.
GLOBE has performed an important role in elevating people out of poverty and assisting in the financial inclusion of the furthermost ostracized population. Our loans provide borrowers with not only monetary support, but emotional by empowering them to believe in themselves and their ability to become financially independent. The people I have met, particularly my group members, have become friends and people I connect with outside of the classroom. The feelings I experienced were so extraordinary that it made me eager to share my team's work with the rest of the class and anyone who would listen. My time at GLOBE not only academically benefitted me but allowed me to grow as an individual. My narrowed view of the world was opened to another sector I had never thought about and inspired me to expand my knowledge on microfinance and its extraordinary benefits. GLOBE is an experience I will carry with me for life, and I look forward to keeping in touch and witnessing the growth and prosperity that is to come.
I wanted to understand what working for a non-profit was like and GLOBE was a great first experience in that space. Learning in the classroom environment made it a lot easier and less daunting than being in an internship or job, where they expect you to know what to do so quickly. In a class you’re expected to learn and grow, with peers who are doing the same. The most important thing my team, the marketing and fundraising team, taught me was that we really needed to know our organization. Class presentations prepped us to understand what microfinance is and how GLOBE fits into that world. GIVE Campus and our cultural brochure made us learn about the impact of our work and more intimate knowledge of our borrowers, like Olive or Claudia. GLOBE Game night questions required a lot of research into the inner workings and fun details about GLOBE. Before we could get people to support GLOBE, we really had to know it and our class gave us a great opportunity to do so. Beyond just learning, I saw real impact in people’s lives, without ever meeting a borrower. The last loan recommendation we went over in class inspired me a lot about our work. I think it was because the fact that we were helping Jose with the “beings” and “doings” of life. Jose being able to fix his truck, being able to work and provide for his family was made possible through a GLOBE loan. Who knows what could happen to Jose’s business or family had we not reached him? In GLOBE, we get to help already hardworking people with a chance to do what they already dream of doing, to create a better life for themselves. While I was apprehensive about debt and loans prior to coming into GLOBE, I see why not being able to access credit really limits economic opportunities for families, especially for the poor who lack savings or assets. The reverse is also true, that credit can greatly expand a person’s opportunities in the right context.
Finally, being an organization that wants to continuously get better is something that many organizations can lose sight of. GLOBE managers are always looking out to make loans and our organization better for both clients and future managers. Having rotating managers and teams with assigned roles helps to keep ideas fresh, and poignant to different areas. The impact audit team helps us stay on our toes and check our impact, but the finance team looks to better serve our clients, our technology team reaches out to current and potential supporters while the fundraising team work to raise money to expand our program. Each team has its own way of either expanding or improving GLOBE.
Moreover, being a GLOBE manager has given me so much and has kept me constantly learning. I know that every ounce of effort I put into GLOBE was met with ten times the amount of personal development, growth, and experience. This semester has been the most memorable so far and I know that many fellow managers feel the same way. I am so grateful that I had this opportunity and cannot wait to see how GLOBE continues to prosper with future managers.
Not enough words can explain how much GLOBE has helped me grow as a person. I am writing this right after our last class in person as it made me feel very inspired. It has been a journey that went by so fast but that was extremely intense and meaningful. After these months, I come back home with such a great story to tell: the story of how GLOBE has impacted me and many other people. First of all, just knowing about all the stories of the people that GLOBE has helped over the years has significantly affected me and my future choices: I realized how great the feeling of helping people is, and I would love to include this in my career as well. Additionally, the experience in the marketing team was a very positive one for me and I discovered how I love the dynamicity of the activities related to marketing: things, like working constantly on new projects and implementing ideas, planning events, and designing new content, are very stimulating for me and I love doing those.
Then, I absolutely loved working with my team: it felt like we could cooperate perfectly together, we never had problems with each other, and we connected right away. I am so happy to have shared my journey in GLOBE with brilliant, motivated, and creative people such as the ones in my team. The other teams did an amazing job as well and I am glad that I have met them all, I hope to stay connected with them.
Another thing I wanted to talk about is how GLOBE uniquely manages to create a community of people that love this program and keep following it even after they have completed the semester: it was incredible to see how people who were GLOBE managers ten years ago still cared so much about the program and showed up to the events. I am sure I want to retain my connection to this program and to be there if needed in the next years, to support the future GLOBE managers.
I learned so much throughout this whole program that I do not even know where to start. Before joining GLOBE, I knew very little about microfinance. Thanks to this program I was able to get so much information that is also very useful for understanding how the market works.
I am very grateful for all that GLOBE has given me: knowledge, experience, new skills, and friends. I am looking forward to sharing my story with so many other people and I will never forget how GLOBE left an impact on my life.
This past week, we had our very last oral reading summaries for class, and I anticipated such an exhilarating experience of delivering a vitalized presentation for my classmates. I’m very fortunate that public speaking is on my side, so being able to harness that skill, along with the help of the rest of my team members, makes the experience that much fulfilling. For this oral reading summary, we read up on a chapter by Muhammad Yunus regarding reaching beyond microcredit, in foreign expertise not generally known by the hands of social entrepreneurs. You see, we got to learn that the Grameen Bank was once solicited for their services in areas that were unknown, such as fisheries, textiles, and telecommunications. To me, getting involved in the fisheries project in 1985 was one of the more incredible stories that we learned from this chapter because its informative plot included not only the exposition of the project, but the downfalls of what happens when bitterness comes into equation and the need to spark solutions to further the primary cause.
Muhammad Yunus agreed to take on a project to re-excavate 1000 large ponds to provide drinking water to the townspeople of Bangladesh but was met with natural disasters and government intervention a couple years later. That, in itself, would make any sane human being want to dispose of the project and call it quits, but it is the “insane” – the ones willing to go the extra mile – that become transformative leaders. Yunus and Grameen responded to both crisis with solutions involving providing informational meetings, preschool learnings, and hiring the local poor to help take on the fisheries project. With an intertwining system of the poor providing the physical labor (farming and protecting the ponds) and Grameen providing the technology and management, the project led to a successful initiative of providing clean water and enhancing the local poor into major economic players within their own prerogative.
Honestly, I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to feel about writing the very last log of the semester. Is it excitement for I didn’t have to feel anxious about forgetting to submit by its late deadline, or is it a still sadness for it marks the last one? I believe it’s a little bit of both and knowing that it’s this type of program that we’ll be sending off with a goodbye, I know for sure that it is not a bad thing to feel anyway. I knew in my gut that this program would leave a lasting impression on my heart, and here I am confirming my astounding intuition. GLOBE exemplifies what it means to bring people together for a common, unique goal and with hard work, hardship, and a lot of hard laughs, we didn’t know we were making memories of the quintessential GLOBE family.
I am so happy that we had someone like Dr. Sama to lead us to the point of our education where it is very much applicable to our contribution to the world, with a touch of the Vincentian initiative and leadership it takes to make real substantial change in the world. It only took one class to hook me to the luminous mission of this program, making the #PowerofOne a valuable theme and a north star to guide us, but more importantly to guide the new managers whom we’ll be passing on the torch for in their bright and exciting futures.
By: Christian Eginton
These past few months of GLOBE have gone by faster than I could’ve imagined. I take a step back and look at the work my team and I have accomplished, and it is inspiring to see how far we’ve come. One of my favorite objectives we did this semester was creating the Instagram Reels. Through these reels we aimed to explain the message of GLOBE in a short video format, and it was a lot of fun to film. Another fun objective we did was the filming and VoiceOver of the GiveCampus video. It was awesome to get many of our fellow GLOBE managers involved in this process, and I’m sure they were proud to be in it.
Given the pandemic, I only ended up having one in person class this semester, and I am glad it was GLOBE. I looked forward to seeing Dr. Same and my fellow GLOBE managers every Tuesday. It was always nice to catch up with my team before and after class as well as discuss our tasks we had to complete. I have learned so much about Microfinance this semester, and it has become something I look forward to telling people about. It was really interesting to hear the ins and outs of Microfinance as well as problems in the industry and solutions to fix them. I also enjoyed participating in the events outside the classroom such as GLOBE Game Night, the first Steering Committee Meeting, and the 2 Information Sessions. It was great to see people outside of our class who share/or are looking to share in the amazing mission of GLOBE.
GLOBE was an amazing experience that I will never forget and one that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for this opportunity and could not recommend it to anyone else who has yet to take GLOBE. Through the support of Dr. Sama, Lina, Leslie, and more we were able to work hard to continue and progress the mission of GLOBE. While I am sad that I am finishing up my time as a GLOBE manager, it makes me happy to know that I will always be a part of the GLOBE family!