Kiva in the Classroom

Kiva in the Classroom

How can I use Kiva in my classroom?

This group of students from a 4th Period Spanish Class in the Bronx, NY, uses Kiva in their classroom.

Kiva is a rich learning experience for students of all ages.

Using the Kiva website to connect with and lend to entrepreneurs around the globe:
  • Serves as a springboard to learning about everyday life for real people across the world
  • Exposes students to the complex histories and cultures of countries often vastly different to their own
  • Provides practical use of computer skills, in both navigating the Kiva website and using the internet as a research tool
  • Teaches about basic business practices and economic principles
  • Engages students in the practice of microfinance as microlenders
  • Introduces students to the possibilities of social entrepreneurship
  • Empowers students to know they can make a difference in the wider world today.

Kiva High School

Kiva High School is a US national network of high school students, and their respective chapters, unified by a belief that microfinance is an effective tool for poverty alleviation, and that students can be a real part of making this happen.

Students, with the support of their teachers, organize Kiva High School chapters to join with like-minded students in their community, and around the country. These students raise money to battle poverty, not with sympathy, but with business transactions rooted in mutual dignity. Chapters participate in spreading awareness about Kiva and microfinance, and raise funds to make Kiva loans, and communicate with other chapters to share ideas.

If you'd like to find out more about Kiva High School, join the team to receive updates or visit

Real Classroom Stories

Gahr High School

"This will be the third year that my Modern History/Model United Nations classes have participated in our "Legacy Lending Project". In this group project, students have to develop their own microfinance organization or act as if they are a lending partner of Kiva. The culmination is a business presentation, with collateral materials, to promote microfinance and Kiva.

There are no specific guidelines as to what materials are needed, but groups produce brochures, flyers, posters, stickers, buttons, public service announcements, news programs, and a number of other multimedia items. Groups also develop fundraising materials and raise funds through donations and selling different items like dog tags, bracelets, and T-shirts. We have so far raised over $4,600 and made $6,600+ worth of loans. The "Legacy" part of the project is that each year the new classes get to loan what they raised, plus what the students from previous years raised.

I honestly have never had so much fun with students, and been as proud of them, as when we have worked on this project. Every time we make a loan, the kids cheer and have the best time participating. The best part is that they remember what they have done and apply it to what we do in our classroom. My kids participate in numerous Model United Nations conferences throughout the year and consistently use microfinance as a tool.

I truly feel that Kiva and microfinance can be used in many ways in the classroom to create global awareness, but also help kids learn the standards that we are pushing so hard each day."

- Patrick Gordon, Social Science Department Chair, Gahr High School

Mountain Lakes High School

"Pregnant sheep, ice pops, and a man named Moses. That's what got us started.

In the spring of 2007, I gave money to the students in my World Cultures class and introduced them to Kiva. They were free to loan the money to anyone they wanted, and I promised I wouldn't edit their decision at all.

First, they chose Djabir Zulfugarov, a man in Azerbaijan who borrowed $1200 to buy ten pregnant sheep. My students live in the suburbs, so the concept of buying pregnant anything is pretty novel for them.

Then, they chose Moses Njibwakale Wekesa, an animal salesman in Kenya who borrowed $300 to increase his stock. It didn't really bother my students that Moses sold some of his stock to the slaughterhouse; they weren't all that concerned about the cattle. They were more impressed that Moses has twelve children who are still in school. But, they mainly just liked his name.

Their favorite loan, however, was to Gogo Samuelu, an ice pops saleswoman in Samoa. To this day, my former students will often stop me in the hall to say, "Hey, Mrs. McCabe, how's Gogo? Did she pay us back?"

I'm always happy to report that Gogo did pay us back, and my new students have had the chance to reloan the money. Over the past eighteen months, my students have made thirty-three loans to people in fifteen countries. Sometimes, they select entrepreneurs for silly reasons, but my students are young, and they're allowed to be silly. The important thing is that Kiva brings the world into their hearts. For that, I am grateful."

- Kate McCabe, 9th Grade Teacher, Mountain Lakes High School

Tools and Tips

Kiva encourages teachers, educational organizations and individuals to create lesson plans and other teaching materials which can be shared with others.

The following are lesson materials which have been created by individuals not directly affiliated with Kiva. The authors have given permission for these documents to be shared.

Please note: For the protection of children, Kiva is not intended for independent use by children under the age of 13. For this reason, Kiva is unable to promote teaching materials for those using Kiva as an educational tool for children within this age group.

Title: Kiva Goes to School: A Curriculum Guide for High School Teachers
Age Group: Grades 9 - 12
State: CA
Author: Jim Ratcliffe
Summary: Focused on English Language Arts teaching, and includes activities such as writing a Kiva resume, "Kiva in the World", and making a Kiva presentation, complete with anchor activities.

Title: Economic Development Forum
Age Group: Grades 9 - 12
State: NJ
Author: Kate McCabe
Summary: Detailed instructions for running an Economic Development Forum, and many discussion topics that would work well in World Cultures (or similar) classes, or for a Model United Nations group.

Videos Uganda: A Little Goes A Long Way, is a 15 minute documentary piece in which PRI's Clark Boyd travels to Uganda to meet Kiva entrepreneurs and see Kiva in action.

Click here to watch the video for free, streaming from the FRONTLINE/World website.
Presentation Materials


This presentation (19 slides) is another way that you can introduce a school group to Kiva. It provides an overview of what microfinance is, how traditional microfinance institutions work, and where Kiva fits in.

Click here to download the presentation.


This brochure gives a light overview of microfinance, and how Kiva works.

Click here to download the printable version.

Click here to download the online version.

Create a Lending Team for your Classroom

Create a Lending Team for your school to help you track your school's activity in one place, and be a part of the growing community of schools on Kiva.

A Lending Team is a group of Kiva Lender Accounts affiliated with each other as part of a team. Lending Teams allow separate Lender Accounts to contribute towards Lending Team totals, and allow team members to communicate with each other via a Team Message Board.

You may have separate accounts for different classrooms, or small groups of students, or even individual students - each of these accounts can join the school Lending Team, and have their loans count towards the school total, while still leaving the control to the individual accounts. If students want to participate in Kiva with their families as well, then they can make their home loans count towards the school total too.

You can share details about your school's Kiva activities in your team description, and explore Lending Teams to see how other schools are using Kiva.

Click here to search for other classroom Lending Teams. For tips and tools on how to grow your Lending Team, click here.

Click on the images below to see some classroom Lending Teams already in action!

Phillips Exeter Academy Punahou School, HI Spanish class Monrovia
High School
OT Pirates Blackstone-Millville Regional High School