Sophie Kainen

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Stories by this author

  • | August 9th, 2010
    Last week, we went to a village called Dzoole to do a few interviews. We were staying in the nearest town, Mponela, which is not much more than a market, a bus station, and a bunch of banks. Since there is no public transport to Dzoole, getting...
  • | July 22nd, 2010
    I have always been a bit of a skeptic about microfinance. Actually, I think it's hard not to be, because the claims are so bold. Its proponents say it empowers women, keeps children in school, improves health outcomes, and will one day eliminate...
  • | July 14th, 2010
    Today is my last day in Lilongwe, and it's bittersweet. Since we're still finding new things, I'm sad to leave. But 85% of Malawi's population lives in rural areas, and I'm ready to start learning about lending in villages. This afternoon the other...
  • | July 4th, 2010
    My first responsibility when I arrived in Malawi was to take the data I amtasked with finding and turn it into a survey for my interviews. By now I am on what feels like draft five thousand, and it's still a work in progress. Seemingly...
  • | June 20th, 2010
    I interviewed my first two moneylenders this week! Because we guarantee confidentiality before doing the interviews (in accordance with IRB research protocol), I can't share anything I learn during the interviews. However, I can share what I learn...
  • | June 15th, 2010
    Because being poor is really hard. It sounds silly when I say it that way, but that's the bottom line. And if we can better understand precisely why it is so hard, we can help make life easier for the poor.As part of my preparation for this summer,...
  • | June 13th, 2010
    "There is a lot of noise in the world. And there is a lot of idiosyncrasy. But there are also regularities and phenomena. And what the data is going to be able to do--if there's enough of it--is uncover, in the mess and the noise of the world, some...
  • | March 26th, 2010
    I have always been a bit of a skeptic about microfinance. Actually, I think it’s hard not to be, because the claims are so bold. Its proponents say it empowers women, keeps children in school, improves health outcomes, and will one day eliminate...