May 7, 2013 KV Kiva HQ
By Shana Soltani
Apply to be a Kiva Fellow by May 26th!
Have you ever wondered how a relatively small non-profit organization in San Francisco has managed to work effectively in more than 65 countries around the world? Or how new initiatives like Kiva Zip have scaled to over $1 million in loan volume within 17 months of launching?

While there are many factors that have contributed to these successes, one thing is certain -- Kiva would not be where it is today without the support and contributions of its Kiva Fellows.



Kiva's 20th class of Kiva Fellows before heading out into the field.

The Kiva Fellows Program gives participants a unique opportunity to leverage their professional, linguistic, and interpersonal skills to make a meaningful impact in the world of microfinance -- and in the individual lives of thousands of borrowers, their families, and communities.



Kiva Fellow Jada Tullos Anderson visiting borrowers in Kenya.

Before heading out into the field as official Kiva representatives, fellows attend a week-long training program in San Francisco at Kiva headquarters. Trainees hear firsthand from Kiva's co-founders, learn about the ins and outs of Kiva’s operations, and get hands-on practice with the tools and systems they’ll be using in the field on a daily basis. 



KF20 fellows practicing the tools of the trade during training week in San Francisco.

After graduating from training, fellows go on to serve a variety of roles in the field to support Kiva’s mission and goals. Some fellows help onboard new Kiva field partners, providing training and operational support as our partner organizations put the Kiva program in place.



Kiva Fellow Matt Bastone (far right) with staff members from new Kiva field partner Tecnosol in Nicaragua.

Others may be working with some of Kiva’s long-time partners to help troubleshoot new or ongoing operational challenges, help identify or introduce new catalytic loan products, or bring field partner staff up to speed on new Kiva policies and procedures.



Kiva Fellow Gareth Leonard (far left) working with staff from long-time Kiva partner ADICLA in Guatemala.

A growing number of fellows can be found working in cities and towns across the United States, helping to scale Kiva Zip. As the premier ambassadors of Kiva’s newest initiative, these fellows are responsible for identifying and onboarding new Zip trustees and borrowers. They also raise awareness about the program in the local community by networking, presenting at conferences, and organizing events.

No matter where they serve, all Kiva Fellows play an integral role in collecting and creating content to help tell the story of Kiva’s impact. Whether contributing to the Kiva blog or taking photos and videos in the field, fellows are helping to forge connections between our lenders, field partners, and borrowers.



Kiva Fellow Liz Vidyarthi filming a borrower in Uganda for future marketing videos.



Remarkable Kiva borrower Alice, who works with field partner Grameen AppLab in Uganda.

These are just a few examples of the many contributions made by Kiva Fellows. For more stories straight from the field, check out the Kiva Fellows Blog

The Kiva Fellows Program is an amazing way to make a difference in the world by using your skills and expertise, but it’s also a great way to gain new experiences, and to grow both personally and professionally. But don’t take our word for it -- hear what some of our alumni have to say about the program, and see where some of them have ended up.



Kiva Fellow Stasi Baranoff (front and center) celebrating Holi in India with new friends.

Think you have what it takes to serve as a Kiva Fellow?  Applications for the next class are due Sunday, May 26, 2013. You can read more about the application process here

And as soon as you’re ready, get started on your application!

Comments

I would like to know more about the commitment. How long is one away for at a time, how many countries does one cover, how long is the Fellowship, are expenses paid, and what are the living situations?

Please send me the necessary information for fellowships. Thank you!

I would like to know if this is an ongoing opportunity because I will be graduating with my B.A in Social Development Studies in December and I would love to know if there is training in January 2014 to attend! Also who is responsible for flights and accommodations to/from San Francisco and to/from the destination and the accommodations there. Also the length of time for committment, same as the above person. Thanks!

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As Kiva Fellows Program Coordinator, Shana is responsible for the recruitment, training and support of Kiva Fellows.  Bringing professional experience form both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, Shana is passionate about inter-cultural exchange and contributing towards making the world a better place.  During college, Shana studied abroad and volunteered in Mali, El Salvador, and Switzerland, then went on to lead the growth of the Kids division of Putumayo World Music.  Prior to joining Kiva, Shana worked for the program evaluation team of Search for Common Ground in Cote d’Ivoire, then spent three years overseeing the California office of Free The Children, a Canadian-based youth empowerment and international development organization.  A musician since the age of five, Shana has performed in six countries around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Gran Teatro de Habana in Cuba.  Shana holds a B.A. from NYU and an M.A. in International Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

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