Travel Report: Krista Arnold, El Alto, Bolivia

August 14, 2012

Krista Arnold, a Master's student in the School of International Studies, received a Graduate International Research Travel Award to further her research in Bolivia. Her report:

My study is entitled "Microfinance for Microenterprises: Investigating the Usefulness of Microfinance Services for Microenterprises in Bolivia."

The study is focused on gaining information from the clients of an organization called Idepro. This organization focuses on microenterprise development by providing services such as credit, savings, training, and technological assistance.

The Idepro clients who participated in the study were from the El Alto branch. El Alto is on the altiplano beside Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz. The area is characterized as one large market where microenterprises and microfinance organizations (MFIs) are abundant.

In particular, the ethnographic research consisted of participant observation methods and semi-structured interviews. Interviews took place at the clients’ place of work (their microenterprise) and were conducted via a translator. Most interviews took about twenty minutes.

In addition to the interviews with Idepro clients, four interviews with Idepro staff members were conducted at the Idepro office in El Alto. The information attained from these interviews supplemented the information that was gathered from the interviews with clients.

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