International Volunteer Day couldn't come at a better time in the Kiva office. Last week, we passed a major milestone with over $500 million dollars lent to borrowers around the world. And this never could have happened without the hard work and dedication of our incredible volunteers that work behind the scenes.
“The contributions of volunteers are vital to Kiva's success whether they contribute in our office, with our partners abroad, or working remotely,” said Kiva Fellows Program Director Jacob Schultz. “Simply put: without their effort, their ideas and their energy, Kiva would not be able to produce the impact we do.”
That’s why we’re taking today to celebrate International Volunteer Day and highlight just how awesome our volunteers really are – from Kiva Fellows out in the field, to hundreds of review and translation volunteers around the world and an army of interns here at our San Francisco office.
Since 2007, over 500 individuals have volunteered as Kiva Fellows, working with microfinance organizations and Kiva’s Field Partners in over 60 countries around the globe. Our fellows truly serve as the eyes and ears of Kiva, capturing images and stories from the field and providing invaluable support for Kiva’s mission of connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty. Fellows also help scale new initiatives like Kiva Zip, identifying and onboarding new trustees and borrowers as well as raising awareness through community outreach. 

It’s not just the Fellows who are making a difference at Kiva. Currently, over 340 people living in 30 countries volunteer their time to Kiva’s Review and Translation Program. These volunteers play a crucial role in connecting lenders to borrowers by editing and translating loan profiles from around the world. In the past year alone, these individuals have translated an impressive 7,724,489 words!
Paul Lambert, Review and Translation Coordinator, emphasized: “Without our volunteer translators and editors, there’s no way that we would be able to share so many borrowers’ stories with our lenders. The volunteers are the heart and soul of the Review and Translation Program, and play a key role in the structure of Kiva – we’re constantly amazed at just how dedicated they are!” 

"I volunteer for Kiva not just because I like to replace French or Russian words with English ones, but because I am very excited to be part of something much bigger than myself. I believe that every profile I translate makes a difference, and I am very happy to help."
-Sophie Narayan, Kiva Volunteer Translator (French and Russian) and Team Leader

The impressive work of our volunteers doesn’t stop there. Kiva interns spend 6 to 8 months at our headquarters in San Francisco, collaborating with staff members on high impact projects across the organization. And who better to speak to the value of these interns than Rachael Caine, a former intern herself who built the current Kiva Internship Program from the ground up: “Kiva interns never cease to amaze me -- the innovations that Kiva creates and the sustained quality of work that we do is built upon the dedication, intelligence and entrepreneurial spirit of our interns. It has been a deep honor and inspiration to have worked with over 300 interns who come to Kiva with a desire to support Kiva's mission and become social entrepreneurs themselves. I cannot believe how year after year we have the privilege of working with such exceptional volunteers."

Kiva simply wouldn’t be what it is today without the help of these dedicated volunteers, so we send a heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers around the globe. Your enthusiasm and support help us reach even more borrowers worldwide!
Interested in volunteering at Kiva? Check out our volunteer opportunities here!

About the author

Heidi Graves