What is a Kiva Fellow?

Kiva Fellows are the bridge builders for the road that Kiva is constructing.  They are volunteers who spend months overseas often in challenging settings (see http://fellowsblog.kiva.org for some of their stories) for the sake of connecting people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.  In one sense, they are people who choose to go in the center of the Kiva maelstrom and emerge with a renewed passion and deeper understanding of microfinance with all its successes and shortcomings all the while informing others of their lessons learned.

Three images in particular from our Kiva Fellow training highlight the role of the Kiva Fellow.



The basic idea is that if the actual process of Kiva is the straight line on the left, Kiva Fellows work to bend the line so everyone, especially the individuals lenders and entrepreneurs, are more connected.  We are able to do so by operating in the center of that Venn Diagram shown above.  By posting journal updates on loan impacts, we connect lenders with borrowers; by conducting training and informational sessions on Kiva at our placement overseas, we connect the Field Partners with Kiva; and by verifying borrower loan amount and terms we connect borrowers with Kiva and lenders with Kiva by ensuring transparency and trust in what is on the website.


The Kiva Fellows duties fall into three broad categories, each with their own subcategories.  If what you are looking for are the nitty gritty details of what a Kiva Fellow actually does, these are the general things we do.

Core Responsibilities (This is taken from a packet sent to Kiva Fellows prior to training):

1.     Facilitate Connections between Kiva’s Borrowers and Lenders
Your journal entries, borrower profiles and blog entries will help build the rich content that bridges our borrowers and lenders and makes Kiva’s model work!

·      Interview borrowers to assess loan impact, verify data, and gather information for journal updates

·      Develop innovative ways to facilitate connections via creative journaling, YouTube video and other means

·      Write a blog entry every two weeks on the Kiva Fellows Blog (fellowsblog.kiva.org)

·      Promote awareness of the host MFI and its programs to the Kiva lender community

·      Promote an understanding of the Kiva lending community to borrowers


2.     Assist Communications and Maximize the Host MFI’s Partnership with Kiva
Tasks may include some or all of the following:

·      Assist the host MFI to regularly collect and post borrower profiles for funding onto the Kiva website

·      Observe, learn and document the MFI’s operations and its use of the Kiva platform, including recommendations as appropriate

·      Transfer skills to MFI staff on Kiva processes, policies and best practices

·      Create working documents and templates for the MFI to use during and post-fellowship

·      Complete additional projects for the MFI as time allows and skills match needs


3.     Support Kiva’s Mission, Product and Procedures
As a Kiva Fellow, your work will help support Kiva’s product, marketing and organizational development. Your consistent feedback is invaluable to Kiva’s growth.

·      Communicate regularly with Kiva

·      Understand and promote Kiva Policies

·      Provide updates and feedback through weekly progress reports and a final end-of-fellowship report within one month of returning

·      Create Entrepreneur Press Profiles, as frequently as possible

·      Complete other tasks for Kiva as needed


The Kiva Fellow is an integral part of the Kiva Team, acting as Kiva’s eyes and ears in the field and helps to extend limited resources to maximum effect.  So if you like Kiva, you will love the Kiva Fellows.  

Check out these links from Kiva’s website to learn more about the Kiva Fellowship Program.


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