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The power of community: Q&A with FKZ board fellow

Pita Lacenski, Fonkoze USA’s new board fellow, in Niger, where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Where are you from? Where do you live now?

I was born in Dallas, Texas, but grew up in Denmark, Wisconsin. Denmark is a small town (just over 2,000 people) about 20 miles south of Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of the Green Bay Packers—for any (American) football fans. 

I’m currently living in Philadelphia, PA. I moved here in 2007, after the Peace Corps, to be closer to my partner, Geoff Oxholm. Geoff is from Philly. I wasn’t sure about Philly, when I first moved here, but now I love the city. It’s got a lot to offer without being overwhelming. Also, West Philly, where we live, is incredibly diverse. Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, there wasn’t much diversity in my community. I value the breadth of experiences and energy offered by diversity. Philly is a great place. 

How did you become involved with Fonkoze?

I became involved with Fonkoze through the previous board fellow, Frankie Warren. Frankie and I went to grad school together. He talked often about this micro-finance organization he was involved with. Investigating ways to adapt financial instruments, traditionally created for wealthier individuals, to meet the needs of poor people is part of what brought me grad to school. I wanted to learn more about business and finance, and how these things can be used to benefit poor people. Fels, the graduate program Frankie and I were in together, has helped a lot with this. I’m also very committed to women in developing countries. Small income generation activities with women were a big part of the work I did as a Peace Corps volunteer. When Frankie asked if I would be interested, I immediately said yes. I’m really excited to be involved, and very grateful to Frankie. 

What do you wish more people knew about FKZ?

I wish more people knew about the network in Haiti Fonkoze has built. I work in a low-income Hispanic community in North Philadelphia. The power of community to help or hurt poor people cannot be overstated. Fonkoze has built a national community of women, and has been able to leverage that network to do thing far beyond micro-finance. It’s amazing what can happen when people are organized. Fonkoze is a great example of this. 

What do you do for fun?

Working, going to school, and planning a wedding means I don’t have much time for my usual fun activities these days. I’ve developed a nasty Huffington Post Entertainment page habit. I think focusing on pop culture helps me decompress. I’ve also started streaming TV shows. I just finished the 3rd season of 30 Rock. 

Tell us about your Peace Corps experience.

I was a Natural Resource Management volunteer in Niger, West Africa from January of 2005 until March of 2007. Niger, an incredibly poor country, hovers near the bottom of the UN Development Index. The tremendous need allowed me to work virtually non-stop and in almost any area I chose. While in Niger, I lived in Tassobon, a small village in the southern most region of Gaya. The villagers in Tassobon are a highly motivated group, so while there, among other initiatives, we worked together on small income generation projects including fruit tree grafting, peanut butter production and sales, community gardens, and small animal husbandry. I directed the planning, managed the budget, and organized the labor for the construction of two village wells; held numerous educational workshops on environmental education, maternal/child survival, malaria, community hygiene, HIV/AIDS, young women in education, and health and nutrition; directed the young girls scholars program for my region raising funds and mentoring young girls as they continued their education beyond elementary school; worked as a translator for a fistula project at the Nigerien National Hospital in Niamey; held a weekly radio show; and planted thousands of trees. The two years I spent in Niger have been two of the hardest, most rewarding years of my life. 

What do you hope to do as a board fellow?

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out. Originally I wanted to create smaller giving circles made up of young men and women from my generation. I’d like to see more young people engaged in the philanthropic process. I’m not sure how or if this will work, but I want to pursue it. Whatever I do, I want to make sure I’m contributing to Fonkoze’s work in a meaningful way. 

Café Figaro Event Countdown! #08

Café Figaro Staff Profile: #03: Marcel

For today’s Staff Profile, we’re featuring Marcel! As our café’s infamous apple-lover, Marcel may have a quiet demeanour, but he’s a very hard worker who’s always trying to make sure everyone is happy. He is always smiling to the customers, making sure they know he is glad to be at their service. In fact, Marcel practically emanates minus ions* to everyone who comes in contact with him.

Many of Marcel’s speciality is actually working behind the scenes. Although he serves with the best on the floor, he is also an adept kitchen helper who can wash dishes faster than any other butler here at the café. Marcel is also an amateur photographer who always takes his camera along, wherever he goes, trying to capture beautiful or unusual scenery and images.

Marcel’s other interests lie in mathematics and physical science. He is well versed in a lot of complicated topics like fluid dynamics, and can probably converse very intelligently about Physics theories with any of our lords and ladies. (This is rather evident from the handwritten note he submitted.) He’s also extremely computer literate. Should any lords or ladies have problems with their computers, perhaps Marcel could help you out, or give you some advice?

Name: Marcel
Age: 17 at heart (he levelled up since our last event!)
Horoscope: Pisces
Occupation: Butler
Likes: Apples, pineapples, math, thermodynamics
Dislikes: Politics, ketchup
Favourite Anime/Manga series: Lucky Star, Nichijou
Favourite Books: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (the light novels)
Speciality: Washing dishes, photography

Figaro Picture of the Day:

A close-up of one of Fig’s dainty paws. Fig has little white mittens and socks on her paws, as part of her markings.

Only a week left until RSVPs close! Hurry!

~Marin

Days until our next event: 10
Days until RSVP deadline: 7

*a term used to describe the soothing atmosphere people, animals or places give off; originated from the belief that areas rich in negative ions (anions) were somehow therapeutic; whether or not this is scientifically valid or just a placebo effect stands to be tested.

WAKE STAFF PROFILE #13- Sara, Cities Editor

Where are you from?

South Minneapolis, born & raised.

What’s your major, and why have you chosen it?

Journalism. Trust me, it was no easy decision. Over the last couple years I’ve had some crazy internal dramas over being in the J-school (or school at all for that matter). The point I came to eventually was just being wowed by some (definitely not the majority) of writers out there. I want my voice to reach a big audience some day & I think there are some good stepping stones through the journalism school to that sort of opportunity. Also, I’m taking the fact of being surrounded by advertising & PR students who have typically quite distinct moral backgrounds from my own as something that pushes me to grow, rather than just always pisses me off.

What’s your role at the Wake?

I’m the Cities editor, but I’ve been a writer in Cities, Voices & Sound, and Vision for much longer than I’ve been editing.

How did you get involved?   Peer pressure is a wonderful thing. I had a class with last year’s editor-in-chief & eventually she talked me into showing at a meeting. I sort of got hooked on how much freedom there was in topic and format for articles. Not to say there aren’t some sensible restrictions—like not publishing anything that’s offensive in an oppressive way—but, generally, the spectrum of writing opportunities kept me showing up & eventually led me to apply for the Cities Editor position.   A memorable Wake article that you’ve written or read?   My voices piece about the War Over Women last semester was a piece that tested me to dig deep into my thoughts about women’s role in media today. I had to do a lot of self exploration to flesh out my ideas and criticize some of the grossly stereotypical ways big politics posture women, be they first wives or secretaries of state. I’m definitely into writing about gender & identity when I get the chance, but it’s no easy feat to write it in a way that’s accessible to a bigger audience as compared to, say, a cultural studies professor.   What’s your favorite thing about the Wake?

How crazy easy it is to get involved. The fact that you can walk into a meeting on the spot & leave assigned a thousand word article about some serious news, if you’re really up to the task.

What’s your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?

There’s no way to get around a cliché here, but the people. Totally. Since I grew up here there are just so many different circles and sorts of people I’ve been acquainted with in varying degrees of intensity. The last time I traveled for a substantial amount of time (about 3 months) what I missed most was that feeling of walking into a room at a party or show and being sort of overwhelmed for the feelings you have for the different individuals in the room. I know this can happen elsewhere, but for me it’s fairly unique to Minneapolis.

What would be your ideal line-up for a concert?  Who would be playing and which Twin Cities venue would they be playing at?

Dosh’s December shows over at the Cedar always bring together some of my favorite musicians. Dosh has to be one of my favorite Minneapolis musicians. I think I’d combine a few of those line-ups from years past to make my show. Dark Dark Dark opening, followed by Dosh, closing out with Skoal Kodiak (who apparently just played one of their last shows for, if not ever, a long time). As far as venue goes I might keep it classic at The Cedar just because it’s such an intimate space, but I definitely would want standing room over seats.

What’s your favorite R. Kelly song?    I don’t care if it’s overplayed, Ignition Remix is the jam. I’ve got so many memories with that song.
Staff Profile: Kristina H.

Today, we’re bringing you our very first staff profile. In the coming months, you’ll get to know the rebalancers, mechanics, and station technicians that keep our system running! Have specific questions on how our system works? Post them here, and we’ll do our best to answer. Now, without further ado, we’re proud to introduce…

Kristina Hudson, Rebalancer

Born and raised?

Palm Desert, California

Current neighborhood?

Outer Parkside, San Francisco 

So how long is the ride into work?

I ride through the Wiggle, so it’s just over 8 miles.

How long have you worked at Bay Area Bike Share?

Just over 3 months.

What drew you to working here?

Well, in general, I’m a huge bike nerd, but I studied sustainability in college and fell in love with the idea of a community bike share program.

I traveled around Europe for a month and tried out various bike share systems, realizing how well they work first-hand.

When I came back to the states, Bay Area Bike Share was hiring and I just had to be a part of the team!

What’s the best part about your job?

Meeting and helping customers!

How many bikes do you rebalance each day?

Probably between 50 and 75 when I work in San Francisco, depending on the day.

Favorite bike ride of all time?

Riding across the Golden Gate Bridge to meet my parents, who just rode 700 miles down the coast from Oregon to San Francisco. We all rode back across the bridge together.

Any tips for our members?

Ride safely and predictably. Remember, no one can read your mind.

Staff Profile: "Now I Serve Others"

My name is Rahel Tabuni. I was born in Wamena in 1987. I started working at World Relief during March 2009. At the beginning I volunteered as a Media Volunteer but praise the Lord I have now become a staff member of World Relief in Wamena.

In the past I did not usually go to church and I had many bad habits that were harmful to myself even during the beginning of my time volunteering. I am so thankful now because I have Jesus who has and continues to amazingly change my life. I truly believe that it is only Jesus who could have changed my life. I’m also so thankful because Jesus has placed me in World Relief together with brothers and sisters who can be a good example for me. From the lessons I learned about life skills and through the life example of World Relief employees, God has changed my life.

From my experiences I understand that to change someone’s behavior is a long process and the best way is through a good example to follow. I am thankful for my good examples and aim on being a good example to others as well.

Another major change in my life since joining World Relief is in my confidence. I am now confident in speaking up in front of a crowd. At first I was not comfortable at all when confronted in front of many people. However, through the life skills lessons from World Relief and through World Relief’s trust in me to do trainings, I have become more confident in expressing my opinion. I can even teach people much older than me.

The one thing that I am most grateful for is that I have the amazing Lord and His grace. If God only used people with only good attitudes I would probably not be here with World Relief, but because of God’s grace I have been transformed and now serve others along with World Relief.

Here is a bible verse I use as my guidance, Jeremiah 29:11, ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I thank God for the grace poured out on me and for the grace I see through World Relief standing against HIV/AIDS in Papua, Indonesia.

Fonkoze welcomes NetHope Academy interns

Sherley Altidor and Jean Jackson Platel, Fonkoze’s new information technology interns.

In a prestigious program to help promising young information technology professionals advance their careers, Fonkoze has welcomed two interns on its IT staff.

Sherley Altidor and Jean Jackson Platel are both passionate about information technology. Jean has loved learning about computers since he first started using his cousin’s as a boy. Sherley thinks IT can help improve Haiti’s public sector by making information more accessible in the provinces.

Sherley and Jean participated in NetHope Academy’s boot camp and internship program that placed them for four to six months at Fonkoze. The internship will give them professional experience and the opportunity to work with an IT mentor, Fonkoze’s chief information officer, Francis Ollivier. The program aims to improve Haiti’s IT capacity by offering training and hands-on experience in the field to some of the country’s brightest computer science graduates.

NetHope launched its first class of interns last year, just six months after the Port-au-Prince earthquake, in a first-of-its-kind program in Haiti designed to help recent IT graduates gain the professional experience they need to find full-time jobs. NetHope realized the need for such a program because aid organizations working on earthquake recovery couldn’t find experienced local IT professionals, so they brought in expatriates from abroad, an expensive way to staff that failed to provide Haitians with jobs. 

The NetHope Academy’s two-week boot camp works on improving participants IT skills as well as their professionalism on the job. This fall, Sherley and Jean participated in the second class in the program. Their instructor talked to them about the importance of handling work conflicts with tact, how to communicate well with colleagues, and how to manage their time effectively.

Since they started their internship at Fonkoze about three weeks ago, Sherley and Jean said the internship is going well. “It’s not very easy,” Jean said, but they’re learning a lot, especially from Francis. “Ollivier gives us the opportunity to learn, to inspire us each day. Each day he gives us tasks to do. He’s a very good mentor.”

Sherley, who has an 11-year-old daughter, said she hopes to be hired on at Fonkoze at the end of the internship. She said that IT can help improve the accessibility of government services in Haiti, such as looking up tax information to apply for a passport, which can currently only be done with a trip to Port-au-Prince.

“I think it’s very important to introduce IT into these enterprises,” she said.



















NetHope Academy teaches not just IT skills, but professional behavior as well. In on activity, participants were asked what they would do if their boss blamed them for a mistake that he or she actually made.

The NetHope Academy instructor talks to participants about how to handle potential conflicts with a supervisor.


More than 95 percent of our worldwide team members are from the countries where they work, and as you might suspect, they’re amazing people. So every month, we’re inviting one of the many folks who make incredible change possible to give us a peek into their work and life.

This month, meet Carlos Aquino, who joined our Guatemala team nine years ago. His ardent belief that even the most marginalized should have a voice — that everyone has the ability to improve their lives when given the right support — brings Mercy Corps’ vision to life every day.

Read more.

Café Figaro Event Countdown! #05

Café Figaro Staff Profile #02: Kim

Kim is the other part of the duo behind Café Figaro’s creation. Kim takes care of a lot of our web design and coding, since Marin can do nothing more complicated than write up the text and email them to Kim, who then turns it into a component of our wonderful website via what can only be called magic (or at least, Marin likes to believe it’s magic). Kim is also a master seamstress, who designed and sewed the Café Figaro aprons as we know them today. Speaking of which, please keep your eyes out for new and improved butler aprons at our next event!

As everyone’s onee-san, Kim helps Marin to make sure everything is running smoothly at our events. She takes care of seating and greeting all of our customers, ensuring that they are comfortable right from the beginning. Her love of Google Docs is paramount, but her love for Fig is far greater and unmatched.

Kim is also a talented artist. The illustrations on the Café Figaro posters and handbills, as well as those on the left-hand side of all of our webpages, were done by her. She is well-versed in both manga and North American comics, so please do talk to her about them; I’m sure she will prove to be an insightful conversation partner.

Name: Kim
Age: Everyone’s onee-san
Horoscope: Taurus
Occupation: Maîtresse d’
Likes: Fig, singing, drawing, making comics, keeping things rolling ;)
Dislikes: Lack of Fig
Favourite Anime/Manga series: Emma, by Kaoru Mori
Favourite Books: Game of Thrones, various doujin comics
Speciality: Seating and greeting, crisis management, taking chekis

Figaro Picture of the Day:

Fig looks so relaxed as she stretches out in the middle of a nap. Mmmmm =w=

Have a lovely week, my lords and ladies!

~Marin

Days until our next event: 13
Days until RSVP deadline: 10

Wake Staff Profile #12- Sondra, Graphic Designer

Where are you from?

A small town in Iowa called Walker!

What’s your major, and why have you chosen it?

My major is Graphic Design. I chose it because I love the creativity involved in the design process and because in today’s society design is SO important.

What’s your role at the Wake?

Graphic Designer.

How did you get involved?

I heard about the Wake through classmates who designed there. When a position opened up, I applied!

A memorable Wake article that you’ve written or read? … Or designed 

I designed a graphic for local breweries in an issue this year. We usually focus on layout so whenever I get to create graphics for an article I really enjoy it.

What’s your favorite thing about the Wake?

My favorite thing about the wake is that we have so much freedom in what we want the magazine to look like. That’s an opportunity you’re not going to get anywhere else.

What’s your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?

The skyline. I love being able to see the city from campus. Not only is it gorgeous, but every time I see it I’m reminded of how many awesome things there are to do here. Concerts, sports, lakes, design studios, restaurants. The Twin Cities has it all.

What would be your ideal line-up for a concert?  Who would be playing and which Twin Cities venue would they be playing at?

Ed Sheeran would open for Ingrid Michaelson. Beyonce would make a surprise appearance and finish out the night. They would be playing at the block party I’m hosting this summer. Also Neil Patrick Harris will be there doing magic tricks.

What’s your favorite R. Kelly song?

“I Believe I Can Fly” – Space Jam

[You can read other staff profile here!]

Meet Jules, Our Youtube Production Expert

Jules has been working with us for one and a half years and today we asked him a few questions.

Quick Profile

When Jules Joined Banggood.

In February 2014.

What Jules does.

Works in the YouTube managing the main channel and also organizes and directs most of the Banggood videos, he has 6 people in his team.

Where Jules Works.

Jules is on the 6th floor, but a different office to Ali,  his team also has his studio and sound recording room on the 7th floor.

External image
Jules at his desk on the 6th floor, thinking up the next video idea.

Jules’s Favorite Products.

Jules is a musically talented person and loves different kinds of instruments, we have a limited range of instruments but he has tried almost all of them and loves the ukulele, Ocarina and harmonica. Grab your own bargain instruments on our musical instrument page.

Why is YouTube important?

Youtube is the most important way to promote our products, video is increasingly becoming more powerful than just photos, Facebook is beginning to favor videos over photos and YouTube is now the second largest search engine. It will only grow more so it is very important for Banggood to have a presence there. The actual videos help engage our customers and can help our customers know all the details of the products. We also meet a few cool people through the social side and comments parts of YouTube.

Interesting and boring parts of the job?

The interesting part is shooting video using all the equipment and also the excitement of creating a storyboard when you have that idea for a video. The boring part is looking for partnerships, the rewards are great but can be a long road finding a good partner to work with.

External image
Jules directing the next Banggood feature video.

What is it like working in Banggood?

Banggood is a great place, I’ve enjoyed my time here. Sometimes, even though I am busy I feel relaxed as I am doing what I like to do and learn lots of things about making and promoting videos.

When Banggood’s doors close for the day what do you do?

I have a band and play guitar and harmonica together like Neil Young. I really like him, and I really like country music and rock music. I usually practice and perform music in my spare time.

Do you have a question for Jules?

Let us know, he will be active on this post this week so now’s your chance to find out what your video team get up to, that’s right, your video team. We are here to serve you, our community.


Meet Jules, Our Youtube Production Expert was originally published on Banggood.com Offical Gadget Blog And Latest News Reel

Meet Figaro, a founding member of FKZ's social impact department

Figaro Peterson began as a Social Impact Monitor (SIM) in Fòlibète in 2006.  As a recent Social Work graduate, Figaro brought to Fonkoze an area of expertise and professional curiosity that motivated him in his daily work.

He said, “I wanted to work in this department so I could apply my theoretical knowledge from university to the benefit of Haitian society… I also saw this as a chance to help build a department that I thought had great potential to be an important force to help Fonkoze achieve its mission and better serve its clients.”

He has since moved up and is now the Assistant Director of the Social Performance department. Based in the Port-au-Prince office, Figaro applies his specialized skills and knowledge wholeheartedly to support the entire Social Performance team.

“I enjoy all my daily tasks, but I particularly enjoy being a bridge between the field and central office. I support the director by helping her understand the realities in the field and managing the department database. I also supervise the field-based monitors to make sure their work meets certain quality standards and is supporting department objectives.”

Figaro said he has seen the social impact department evolve through the years.

“When the department started, we had one responsibility: to collect poverty data on our members. Today, we’re on the ground investigating client satisfaction, evaluating education programs, and piloting new services for the institution. We have earned the respect of our colleagues as a trusted source of client information. I still love when I get to go out into the field to listen to clients–that’s my first love.

For more about social impact monitors work to measure Fonkoze’s double bottom line, check out our recently released 2010 Social Performance Report.

Hunger has been a chronic issue in Niger, a country that endures cyclical droughts and food shortages. But Ibro Arzika is undaunted by these challenges — he left a job in radio journalism determined to turn the message of resilience into reality in his country.

He’s one of our thousands of worldwide team members who are from the countries where they work. Meet Ibro and find out how he’s helping communities find new ways to cope, and ultimately, thrive. Read more.

Café Figaro Event Countdown! #10

Café Figaro Staff Profile: #04: Tom D:

Well, we’ve been making quite a fuss about this for a while now, but in case any lords and ladies have missed the announcements (we understand how busy it can get, with all those tea parties to attend and balls and give), a new butler will be awaiting your return home the next time to you enter through the doors. His name is Tom D., more commonly called Tom (we’re not sure what the D. stands for either. A mystery…?). Having just joined our ranks to start his training as your butler, Tom is working hard everyday to polish his skills (and the silverware).

Tom is jovial and a great conversationalist. He is comfortable speaking both English and French, and loves to make people laugh. We’re certain that any lord or lady receiving his service will be in for a cheerful time.

Unfortunately we do not have a picture of Tom at this time being, but you can check out his staff profile at our website under Scrapbook –> Staff Profiles to see a sketch of his likeness. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’ll simply have to wait until our event to see him in person ;)

Name: Tom D.
Age: 23
Horoscope: Taurus
Occupation: Butler
Likes: Photography, travelling
Dislikes: Math
Favourite Anime/Manga series: One Piece
Favourite Books: The Great Gatsby, King Lear (by Shakespeare), The Streetcar Named Desire
Speciality: Being left-handed

Figaro Picture of the Day:

Looking up with her big, almond eyes, Fig expects uses her charm to get treated like a princess from all members of the Café.

As today is Remembrance Day, we hope everyone will remember to pause and thank the soldiers who pledged themselves to their country to ensure the safety of those dear to them. Even if there are no public services being held in your area, it’s the thought that counts. Afterwards, perhaps our lords and ladies would like to celebrate the peaceful lives we lead with a pack of Pocky? After all, today is 11/11/11. Happy International Pocky Day :)

~Marin

Days until our next event: 8
Days until RSVP deadline: 5

Staff Profile: Simon D.

Simon is one of many faces behind the scenes of Bay Area Bike Share.

Each day, he’s working to keep things moving by tracking station usage, rebalancing at popular stations, and performing minor repairs. He’s also one of the most positive people we’ve ever met!

Name: Simon D.

Official job title? Deputy Operations Manager

Tell us what you do on a daily/weekly basis.

A little bit of everything; station work, rebalancing, in-field bike repairs. Also deployment planning for new stations. 

Born and raised? San Mateo, raised in New Zealand

Where do you live now / what’s your commute to work?

I live in San Mateo. I ride to the San Mateo Caltrain Station and get off at the 22nd St. Station. 

Best part about New Zealand? Best part about the Bay Area?

NZ: The beach and relaxed people.

Bay Area: The huge bike culture and all the live music.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I can do the haka.

How long have you been working for Bay Area Bike Share? Any memories particularly stand out?

I’ve been working here for 9 months. Memories include riding around on BABS and watching the America’s Cup which we didn’t quite win.

What’s the number one question you get from customers in the field?

Q: Is there an easier way to get the bike out? A: Lift that seat!

Besides Bay Area Bike Share, what bike do you ride?

My commute bike (Schwinn Sporterra) and for fun a half size penny farthing.

What safety tip/general advice would you give to new riders (Bike Share or otherwise)?

Don’t be a “salmon” in the bike lane i.e. don’t ride against the direction of the bike lane!

Thank you Simon!

Meet Carl ……

Name: Carl Partington

Birthdate: 13/12/1973

Nationality: British

First Jump & DZ: April 2004, Hinton Skydiving Centre

Total # of Jumps: 5400

Role at SD: Tandem instructor and camera flyer

Favorite Discipline: Formation

License: D-29837

Ratings: Coach, tandem instructor and camera flyer

How many years at Skydive Dubai: 14 months

Tip: Live life, be happy

Banggood Staff Profile : Ali

Ali has been working at Banggood for 8 months and is our forum and review program master; today we asked him a few questions.

Quick Profile

When Ali Joined Banggood.

In October 2014.

What Ali does.

Manages the forum and Banggood review club and is part of the English promotions team responsible for the forum, blog, Reddit and finding partnerships.

Where Ali Works.

Ali works in the 6th floor of the Banggood empire and is in the same section as the toys and hobbies, sport and outdoors, overseas warehouses, cellphones, automotive , affiliate, general Banggood manager and hardware teams.

Ali’s first steps in Banggood.

At first it was tough, a big office and a lot of strangers, Sunny and I became good friends and he trained me. I am now capable of managing the forum alone most of the time.

Ali’s Favorite products.

My favorite category is RC toys and Quadcopters, they were a new toy to me when I first came and have become hot the last few years. I had never flown one before coming to Banggood and my first quad was a tiny CX-10, it took a while to become a good pilot but now I’m confident but still class myself as a beginner.

I’m really excited when we get some of the larger ones but some of them are expensive and the product assistants wont let me try fly them as they are afraid I will break it, so at the movement I’m stuck flying my micro quad.

Why is the forum important?

  • It provides a public area that keeps us transparent,
  • Gives our customers and community a platform for change, in the past post have gained strength and as a community our voices have changed parts of the website and fix problems.
  • It is a valuable community builder and a great place to het help and advice, from not just us staff but from the other valuable community members.
  • Sometimes our customer service don’t get it right or sometimes there are questions about products, where would they go and who would they turn too if the forum didn’t exist.
  • The product page forum posts are great for sharing problems and questions and allows others who have similar questions to find specific product answers.
  • Sometimes questions raised helps us improve our product pages, so it is valuable for both our customers and our staff.

Interesting and boring parts of the job?

The best part of the forum is the hot deals and events section; everyone likes free gifts and I find it fun thinking up what the next event will be. Sometimes the games are silly but it is a good place to relax and enter an easy event in an environment that’s not so heavily full of advertising.

The least exciting section is the order help, the posts generally follow the same structure and are about order not arriving or finding out when their package arrives, so although we love to help it is quite repetitive.

Personally, I enjoy the review and product tests as I get to try new products and learn new technologies, as a guy I am fond of new technologies and am keen to explore more and get to know more products and stay on top of the latest developments.

What is it like working in Banggood?

I feel like a big brother in Banggood, I’m a little bit older than most of them. I graduated college a few years ago an
d most have just finished college or are actually on an internship waiting to graduate, sometimes they ask some questions that arte silly but I be patient with them as they remind me of me when I was younger.  I use the Chinese teaching method though, so I don’t offer the direct answer, I give some clues and hints and they need to figure it out themselves. Im also nice because some of them are so cute.

When Banggood’s doors close for the day what do you do?

I’m getting into exercise recently, doing sit-ups and other exercises after work at home and then in the weekend I go running at the college nearby my house. I want to build my body for two reasons, it makes me feel young, I have a belly at the moment; and I also want to look good for my girl. She likes well built guys so I want to be perfect for her.

I really enjoy working in Banggood and am happy here.

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Ali is the Admin in the Forum and also manages the Review Club.

Do you have a question for Ali?

Ali’s in the blog this week and he is eager to answer any questions.

Who should we interview next?

This is a new segment of the Blog and we will regularly interview more of our 1000 staff, let us know in the comments who you want to see next and perhaps even a question you would like them to answer, but keep it clean.

Banggood Staff Profile : Ali was originally published on Banggood.com Offical Gadget Blog And Latest News Reel

Beyond the Economic Impact: A Credit Agent's Take on Microfinance

See this post on Month of Microfinance’s Autobiographies of Microfinance!

Jean Jules Laguerre did not set out to work in microfinance—it found him. While still in high school, he met Fonkoze founder Father Joseph Philippe and agreed to help him with a literacy workshop. After the weekend-long event, Father Joseph invited Jules to his house, where he told him about Fonkoze, the bank for the organized poor that he had founded three years prior. He asked Jules if he would be interested in getting involved.

Jules said yes, and hasn’t looked back since. He started off working in the primary Port-au-Prince office, but soon began venturing out to the provinces to interview potential clients. He then moved to Saint Martin, where he began working as a credit agent.

He didn’t make much money (about 50 cents for each client he enrolled and $6 for each credit group), but as he says, “It wasn’t the salary that motivated me.” Like his colleagues, he believed in the power of microfinance to improve the lives of his fellow Haitians.

Jules has seen that power in action over the course of his career at Fonkoze. His most striking memory is of a group of five clients who could not afford the inscription fee to become Fonkoze borrowers. Jules and a few other credit agents decided to pay the $30 fee for them, allowing the women to join Fonkoze’s Solidarity lending program, which starts out with microfinance loans of $75.

Today, the same five women have become Madam Saras—distributors who travel to the United States, Panama, and China to buy goods for other ti machann to sell. He remembers with pride when they first asked him for help getting passports. “They told me, ‘It’s you who is our father, who guides us,’ ” Jules recalls. “Of all the clients I’ve worked with, it’s one example that really struck me.”

Jules, too, has progressed through the levels of Fonkoze’s microfinance lending. He now works as an SME credit agent, which distributes loans starting at $10,000.

His favorite part of his job is simply working with the clients. “They are sincere people,” he says. He loves hearing client testimonies, when the women explain how microfinance has helped not only themselves, but also their families and the other people in their areas.

Jules’ work has provided him with more than a career—it has been the foundation for his relationships. “Fonkoze has allowed me to meet really great people,” he says. Jules met his wife at Fonkoze in 1997, shortly after he started as a credit agent. Jules and Arlene, who worked in the Human Resources department, enjoyed seven years of marriage and fifteen years together in total. She died last year from complications due to lupus. It was a painful loss for the entire Fonkoze family. “She was truly a beautiful person,” Jules says.

Jules continues to devote himself to his work at Fonkoze, helping the institution to innovate on behalf of its clients. “True microfinance isn’t just about giving money and having it paid back,” he says. “It’s not only an economic impact; it has a social impact too.”

He explains the importance of listening to microfinance clients and taking their input into account. Fonkoze, for example, uses a call-in line called Rele Anmwe (Call on Me) to allow clients to ask questions and offer feedback whenever they have issues that can’t be solved at the branch level.

For Jules, it is part of what makes Fonkoze—and microfinance—unique. It allows people subjugated by society to recognize their own importance. “They experience success in their lives,” Jules says. For Jules, that success provides a powerful testament to his work.