Kiva Divas: Giving Sister Adventure Divas a Hand Up

"Adventures with the Estrogen Army" is a project for and by ordinary women who want to create extraordinary adventures. In doing so we are committed to giving a hand up to our sister adventure divas around the world who are working to lift themselves up out of poverty and violence. "Kiva" is one of the ways we choose to do this and to give back.

Kiva is a crowd-funding site supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries. Through the Estrogen Army project, we will be investing in women who would otherwise have a difficult time accessing traditional loans to fund their own adventures.

We loan because we want to give people a chance to become self-sufficient and live an honourable life. We believe that a hand up is better than a handout and that it needs to be both transparent and accountable. We believe that planting many seeds of uplift in small and meaningful ways helps people become self-sustaining and strengthens both the economic and social fabric of communities. Micro-lending is the most direct and personal form of uplift and has the capacity for constant renewal.

Dreams are universal. Opportunity is not. We're working to change the story.

In relaunching the "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" project, we're bringing back the "Kiva Divas" project again. We'll be sharing our first sister Adventure Diva for 2020 here soon! You can take a peek at some of the women we walked alongside prior to 2016 below.

Here are the women we've invested in so far …

Our Twenty-Seventh Kiva Entrepreneur - Jennifer in California - June 2016 Helping Jennifer Grow Gardens in Honour of My Mum’s 76th Birthday through our 27th Kiva Loan 2016/06/18 - Today would have been my mother's 76th birthday. She was the original "Adventure Diva" and the inspiration behind the "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" project. She loved to garden. When we celebrated her life on the day of her funeral, we gave the friends and family who joined us baskets of "Forget-Me-Not" seeds to plant in her honour. My mum was also an entrepreneur who ran her own business, and she loved to give back to her community. That's why I knew that Jennifer was the right Kiva entrepreneur to invest in today with our twenty-seventh “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-Sixth Kiva Entrepreneur - God in Uganda - May 2016 God’s in the Clothing Business. No, really … (and he’s our 26th Kiva entrepreneur) 2016/05/08 - God is involved in the business of selling first-hand clothes. No, really. And the Estrogen Army invested in him today. A young man in Hoima, Uganda raises his younger siblings with the help of his older brother. His name happens to be "God", and he started a clothing business with the help of a small loan from his brother so that he can take care of the family. God is our May "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. While we usually fund female entrepreneurs over 40 who are working to lift themselves out of poverty in developing countries where it is very difficult to access traditional forms of funding, this departure seemed so right today. What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than to help a young man who is having to be both mum and dad to his siblings? God's dream is to use the profits from his business to build a permanent house for his family, and we want to help him with that! He struggles with high transport costs to different markets, and trying to raise sufficient capital to buy the stock he needs. He is grateful for the help his brother gave him with a… ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-Fifth Kiva Entrepreneur - Sarjita in Pakistan - April 2016 Our Twenty-fifth Kiva Diva: Sarjita in Pakistan (April 2016) 2016/04/30 - Sajida is our April "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. This is a particularly special investment. We tend to fund female entrepreneurs who are working to lift themselves out of poverty in developing countries where it is very difficult to access traditional forms of funding. This time we had an opportunity to help a woman who has been helping ensure that many others will have that same opportunity. Sajida runs a school to try to change the fate of children from low-income families living in Pakistan's urban slums. More than 41% of her 261 students are females, an unprecedented number in an area where being a woman can mean education is denied. We're helping Sajida expand and equip her school to make it a more inclusive and comfortable environment. She hopes to create a nurturing atmosphere to encourage even more students to attend. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-Fourth Kiva Entrepreneur - Rita in Bolivia - March 2016 Our Twenty-fourth Kiva Diva: Rita in Bolivia (March 2016) 2016/03/28 - Rita is our March "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. This 51-year-old mother of 2 lives in Tarija, Bolivia, and has been making costume jewelry for a year now. She dreams of opening her own shop, and we're helping her make it happen! ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-Third Kiva Entrepreneur - Navtividad in Bolivia - February 2016 Our Twenty-third Kiva Diva: Natividad in Bolivia (February 2016) 2016/02/29 - Natividad is our February "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. This 63-year-old widow and mother of 4 children lives in La Paz, Bolivia, and is rebooting her life after cataract surgery. She lives near a school and wants to open an internet centre at her house to make it available, and we're helping her make it happen! Natividad still needs help help closing the gap ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-second Kiva Diva: Edith Beatriz in Bolivia (January 2016) 2016/01/18 - Edith Beatriz is our January "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. This 60-year-old retired teacher from Tarija, Bolivia has a dream, and we're helping her make it happen! Ever since she was very young she has wanted to have her own macrame weaving shop. She has the training, but the equipment is very expensive. We want to help put it within reach. Edith still needs help help closing the gap ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twenty-First Kiva Entrepreneur - Karen in Bolivia - November 2015 Our Twenty-first Kiva Diva: Karen in Bolivia (November 2015) 2015/11/19 - Karen is our November "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. We're helping her with her internet & game café in Bolivia, because gaming is an empowering springboard for big girls too! (More on the truth of this on the Estrogen Army blog soon...) ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twentieth Kiva Entrepreneur - Siliviah in Kitale, Kenya - October 201 Our Twentieth Kiva Diva: Siliviah in Kenya (October 2015) 2015/10/23 - This month we celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada so we're sponsoring a second Kiva entrepreneur. Our "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" team is helping Siliviah put food on her own family's table by expanding her dairy operation in Kitale, Kenya. Read on to learn how you can help ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Nineteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Yolanda Del Carmen in Santo Domingo, Ecuador - October 2015 Our Nineteenth Kiva Diva: Yolanda in Ecuador (October 2015) 2015/10/23 - Yolanda is our October "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva entrepreneur. She's 53 years old, and we're helping her make a dream come true. She wants to open her own restaurant, and she still needs a little help. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Eighteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - The Mothers of Chandika, Nepal - September 2015 Our Eighteenth Kiva Diva: The Mothers of Chandika, Nepal (September 2015) 2015/09/29 - This month we’re celebrating our seventeenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping Ingrid, a 49-year-old widow and mother in Columbia. Ingrid has a dream about rebooting her business in a way that will allow her to share her own designs, and we were excited to have the chance to help her with that adventure! Read on to learn more about how you can too ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Seventeenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Ingrid Libertad in Sabaneta, Columbia - August 2015 Our Seventeenth Kiva Diva: Ingrid in Columbia (August 2015) 2015/08/11 - This month we’re celebrating our seventeenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping Ingrid, a 49-year-old widow and mother in Columbia. Ingrid has a dream about rebooting her business in a way that will allow her to share her own designs, and we were excited to have the chance to help her with that adventure! Read on to learn more about how you can too ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Sixteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Maria in Bolivia - July 2015 Our Sixteenth Kiva Diva: Maria in Bolivia (July 2015) 2015/07/23 - This month we’re celebrating our sixteenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping Maria, a widow in Bolivia, who is living with her son. While she retired, she's wants to open a restaurant and start a new business, and we were excited to have the chance to help her with that adventure! ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our fifteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Astajona in Uganda - June 2015 Our Fifteenth Kiva Diva: Astajona in Uganda (June 2015) 2015/06/07 - Believe it or not, there actually IS something better than chocolate! Investing in a cocoa farmer 🙂 This month we’re celebrating our fifteenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping Astajona, a cocoa farmer and widow with 2 children in Uganda. Read on to learn more about how we're helping, and how you can too ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Fourteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Sukartini in Bali - April 2015 Our Fourteenth Kiva Diva: Sukartini in Bali (May 2015) 2015/04/27 - We're celebrating our fourteenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship a little early, sneaking our May sponsorship in now in order to accommodate something a little different. I've enjoyed being able to support independent artists through the National Geographic backed "NOVICA" web site for a number of years, and with their recent partnership with Kiva, I thought it would be fun to back the dreams of women artists this way. So for May, we're helping Sukartini, an artisan from Indonesia who specializes in handcrafted jewelry, invest in a bulk purchase of silver and gemstones, as well as to hire additional artisans for her workshop. This was exciting because Sukartini is doing something that has long been on my own bucket list, so to be able to invest in her work feels great! ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Thirteenth Kiva Entrepreneur - Lillian in South Sudan - April 2015 Our Thirteenth Kiva Diva: Lillian in South Sudan (April 2015) 2015/04/27 - This month we’re celebrating our thirteenth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping Lillian, a 42 year old mother raising 4 daughters in South Sudan on her own now as her husband recently passed away. We're helping Lillian buy cement to finish the house her husband had started to build for them. The poverty rate in South Sudan is high, with over 50% of the population living below the national poverty line. South Sudan is an active conflict environment that is extremely difficult for microfinance institutions to operate in due to ongoing conflict, social and political instability, lack of basic infrastructure and extreme poverty. Learn more about how we're helping, and how you can help too ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Twelfth Kiva Entrepreneur: Myriam De Jesus - Medllin, Columbia - March 2015 Our Twelfth Kiva Diva: Myriam in Columbia (March 2015) 2015/03/31 - Myriam is a 62-year-old seamstress, widow and mother of two. Both of her children have their own families. She is alone at home and struggling to generate enough income to survive. Myriam has been working hard from her small home-based sewing shop since 1984. Her biggest worry is keeping her business alive in the face of competition from new and upcoming tailor shops, at a time when she doesn’t have the same agility she had a few years ago. We're helping Myriam buy thread, fabric and brooches. With these materials she will have the working capital she needs to better compete in the market with our March “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship. She still needs a little more help! ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
This widowed mother of 7 is one of the Women Beekeepers in Kenya changing both history and lives, including her own! Say hi to Teresia ... Our Eleventh Kiva Diva: Teresia in Kenya (February 2015) 2015/02/26 - We're helping helping Teresia, a widow with 7 children in southwestern Kenya. With our February “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship we'll be helping her to become one of the Women Beekeepers of Kenya, changing history along with her own life! Teresia has been farming for twenty years, growing maize, millet, sorghum, and sunflowers. She now has the chance to become one of Kenya's women beekeepers, and is excited about that as it will provide her with a new source of income from the sale of honey, while also providing her with honey for her own food. She plans to use the proceeds from her beehives to start a small business, and hopes to experience a changed life through beekeeping. This is where we get to help a little! Read on ... ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Tenth Kiva Diva - Gultakin in Azerbaijan - January 2015 Our Tenth Kiva Diva: Gultakin in Azerbaijan (January 2015) 2015/01/18 - This month we’re celebrating our first Kiva sponsorship of the year by helping Gultakin, a 34 year-old refugee who has lived in an IDP settlement in Bilasuvar, Azerbaijan with her husband and 2 sons for a long time. Gultakin's husband is a labourer and tries to earn money for his family as much as he can. Gultakin keeps a small garden and raises some fruit there. With her husband's help, she drives to the local bazaar every day in order to sell fruit and earn money. She comes back home very late. The monthly income is not more than 160 AZN. The harvest from Gultakin's garden is weak and she needs to increase productivity. She applied for a loan of 1000 AZN in order to buy good fertilizers and build small greenhouse. This is where we're able to help just a little! Through Kiva we were able to help Gultakin through a loan designed for clients residing in settlements for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bilasuvar, Azerbaijan. An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who has been forced to flee his or her home due to armed conflict, violence, human rights violations, or natural or manmade disasters, but who, unlike… ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Ninth Kiva Diva - Ivone in Mozambique - December 2014 Our Ninth Kiva Diva: Ivone in Mozambique (December 2014) 2014/12/07 - This month we're celebrating our ninth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping a 49-year-old widow who dreams of launching a new business. Ivone has two children, both who live with her. She is also responsible for two grandchildren. She makes her living through the business she started in 2005, selling door to door every day, and making deliveries to her customers. We're helping Ivone buy building materials (cement, rebar, and beams) so she can expand her home and offer her family a more comfortable life with our December “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship. Her biggest dream is to build a house to rent out. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Eighth Kiva Diva - Tahire in Azerbaijan - November 2014 Our Eighth Kiva Diva: Tahire in Azerbaijan (November 2014) 2014/11/09 - This month we're celebrating our eighth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping a 49-year-old widow whose work is devoted to helping others. We're helping 49 year old widow, Tahire, buy new lab equipment for disease research. Tahire has been raising her 2 children alone since her husband was killed in the Karabakh War. Her family members are IDP (internally displaced persons) from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. They have been in Agdam city over 22 years and now they are living in the Absheron region. Her older daughter is married and her younger daughter graduated school and is preparing for exams to enter university. We're helping Tahire buy new lab equipment so she can expand her research of diseases with our November “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Seventh Kiva Diva - Sandra in Haiti - October 2014 Our Seventh Kiva Diva: Sandra in Haiti (October 2014) 2014/10/01 - This month we're celebrating our seventh “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping a woman with a real entrepreneurial spirit rebuild her dream after her shop was completely destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Sandra has been making and selling different kinds of scarves and sarongs since 1980. She has two big shops in Grenada and in the States. Thanks to a previous Kiva loan she was able to re-launch after the quake by buying paint and textile fabrics directly from China. She successfully repaid the loan within a year. Now she is looking for funds to build a production workshop and a storefront in her current space. The money will help her buying wood, corrugated metal sheets and iron bars for the workshop. A slight improvement is also needed in the stock room as well. This is where we are able to help a little today with our "Estrogen Army" Kiva sponsorship. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Sixth Kiva Diva - Francisca in Kenya - September 2014 Our Sixth Kiva Diva: Francisca in Kenya (September 2014) 2014/09/30 - This month we're celebrating our sixth “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship by helping a mom with 4 children renovate her home in Tiribe, Kenya. Francisca is a married woman with four children, all of whom still attend school and are still under her care. They live in a rental house that has electricity but not piped water. Her greatest monthly expenses are food and school fees for the children. Francisca operates a rental housing business and town dwellers are her customers. She dreams of establishing a boutique some day, and I hope we can help her with that too! Today we're helping her purchase cement, iron sheets, paint and building blocks to renovate her house. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Fifth Kiva Diva: Mme in Haiti (August 2014) 2014/07/31 - We're sneaking our August loan to a Kiva entrepreneur in a little early, because we just couldn't wait to give Mme Raphael a hand up! Mme is an 80-year-old single mother of 7, and she’s anxious to connect to Haiti's first solar-powered smart electricity micro-grid to get reliable, clean electricity at home. Mme is a farmer and lives in a small yellow and brown house in Les Anglais, in southern Haiti. She worries that regular kerosene use is harming her and her family’s long-term health. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Fourth Kiva Diva: Arafa in Kenya (July 2014) 2014/07/31 - This month we're helping "Arafa", a widow in Kisauni, Kenya, purchase a water tank and install a water tap for her business. Our fourth loan will also help Arafa and her four children, who live in a house with no electricity or piped water. Arafa has operated a business selling fresh water for the past five years, selling from home to her neighbours. She faces a major challenge of seasonality, especially during the rainy season when business is slow. She dreams of expanding her business and establishing another business in the near future. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Third Kiva Diva: Nomagugu in Zimbabwe (June 2014) 2014/06/17 - This month we are investing in "Nomagugu". She is a pleasure to sponsor as our June Kiva entrepreneur. While she has a hard road ahead of her, she gives back so very much to her community. Nomagugu is a 35 year old widow with 3 children in Zimbabwe. She not only runs a grocery store (which our investment is helping to restock), but also makes time to volunteer as a Learning Guide, teaching students life skills, and as a behavior change facilitator at the local clinic. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our Second Kiva Diva: Diloramhan in Kyrgyzstan (May 2014) 2014/05/06 - This month we are investing in "Diloramhan", a 67-years-old widow in Krygyzstan. She struggled for a long time to get over the death of her husband, but with five children to raise, she worked to build a business around milk cows and a few small crops. She has been raising cattle for more than 30 years, and currently has 5 milk cows on her farm. She also has a 0.38 hectare plot of land on which she primarily grows potatoes and corn. Today we are helping her buy more cows to raise and breed, expanding her business so that she can build a new house and improve her living standards. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ
Our First Kiva Diva: Peace in Uganda (April 2014) 2014/04/09 - This month we are investing in "Peace", a 45-year-old lady with 7 children, four who attend school. She operates a piggery project, which is her main source of income. She is a widow and is responsible for all the financial needs of her family. ᘡ READ MORE ᘠ

Field Notes …

Here are some of the terrific things you helped make possible for our Kiva Divas!

Kiva Diva Field Report: Sandra in Haiti - November 20, 2016 Field Report: Sandra rebuilt her Haiti workshop & hired 5 people! 2016/11/20 - It's always exciting when we receive a field report on one of the women that we have invested in through the "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" project. This one is especially cool because it comes from the entrepreneur herself! Back in October 2014 we helped an artist named Sandra rebuild her workshop in Haiti after her entire shop was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. It's a relief that this report comes in on the heels of yet another natural disaster in Haiti, the recent hurricane, and that it finds Sandra safe and well. Yet more great news? She not only used the Kiva loan we helped provide to rebuild her shop, but actually created jobs for 5 more people! Watch and share her inspiring story. Sandra has been making and selling different kinds of scarves and sarongs since 1980. Here's a bit more about our original investment in this wonderful artist back in 2014.
The BeeKeepers: how African women are making history, changing culture, and rebooting their lives. The BeeKeepers: how African women are making history, changing culture and rebooting their lives. 2015/02/21 - This morning a note landed in my inbasket from Kiva. It was a field report about something wonderful that's been happening in Kenya, where a group of women are making history. We're hearing lots about bees these days, usually because our ecosystem is drastically threatened by their looming extinction, so you can imagine my delight when this particular note about bees was about the way that an organization called "Honey Care Africa" had become a Kiva partner, and was empowering women to start new businesses to lift themselves out of poverty. The part that had me nearly standing on my chair and cheering was realizing that this group of women was doing something that had never been done before, simply because they were women. They're not only changing the way bee keeping is done, but knocking down walls in a culture of male-dominance. Let me share a bit of the note that I got from Kiva explaining why...
Nomagugu in Zimbabwe Because of YOU, Nomagugu in Zimbabwe was able rent rent a shop, expand her business and send her kids to school. 2014/12/21 - Hey, sister Adventure Divas! You might know how excited we get around here about the "Do Good" part of our Mini Mission statement, so it's a happy day when we can report back on how an investment in a sister diva made a difference! Remember Nomagugu in Zimbabwe? We were able to help her give herself a hand up this past June. Nomagugu is a 35 year old widow with 3 children. She not only runs a grocery store (which our investment is helped to restock), but also makes time to volunteer as a Learning Guide, teaching students life skills, and as a behavior change facilitator at the local clinic. You can imagine how eager we were to invest in someone who invests so much of herself in others. Even better? We can share her success story with you now! Nomagugu used the loan we helped provide to purchase goods for her business, and also to rent a shop at the local shopping center. The injection of capital made the business more viable, and that helped her make more profits. She is now able to send her children to school without problems, and provide food for her family, which has been a struggle in the past since she is a single mother. Of course every Adventure Diva has big dreams, and Nomagugu is no exception. She wants to expand her business, and perhaps venture into something new in her community. We're grateful to Sinikiwe Makove from Camfed in Nkayi, Zimbabwe for sharing Nomagugu's good news with us.

Want to help us create a little more uplift for women?

We welcome you to join our lending team at Kiva.

If you'd like to assist other hard-working Kiva entrepreneurs and have your loan counted as part of our "Adventures with the Estrogen Army" Kiva lending team, you can indicate that at the time of your loan, or can even set us as your default lending team here. When you click the link you will see "Lending Teams I Belong To" part way down, and a pull-down menu below that allowing you to set your preferred team.

If you're not a Kiva lender yet, you can invest in entrepreneurs in developing countries for as little as $25. Click here for an invitation.

Thanks a bunch for giving us a hand in giving others a hand up!

Namaste,

 

Sue