Katrina Shakarian

Katrina is a first generation Armenian-American, born and raised in Queens, New York. She attributes her affinity for travel, and learning about different cultures to growing up immersed in a rich cultural tradition at home, and the diverse sites and sounds of New York City right outside of it. She will be serving in Nairobi, Kenya with Strathmore University and the Kiva Zip Team. Prior to joining the Kiva Fellows Program, Katrina was an educator. An alumnus of Teach for America, she taught elementary level English Language Learners in the South Bronx, and middle school mathematics at KIPP AMP Academy in Brooklyn. Through teaching, Katrina sought to give back to the city that raised her, empowering children with knowledge and tools to build fulfilling and self-sufficient lives. Katrina is interested in microfinance for the same reasons. She seeks to understand poverty in a global context, and explore the roles of different tools in alleviating it. She is ecstatic to begin this journey, through which she'll better understand and contribute to cutting edge initiatives in sustainable development.

Fellows Blog Posts by Katrina Shakarian

Apr 5, 2013

        Young Kenyans are harnessing their country’s growing tech prowess to go into business for themselves.  For example, Jamila Abbas and Susan Oguya, created a mobile application called M-Farm. The application allows Kenyan farmers to access real time market information, buy farm inputs from manufacturers and find buyers for their produce, all through SMS.  Lorna Rutto started EcoPost, a company that turns plastic waste into durable fencing posts, an environmentally friendly alternative to timber.  At Strathmore Univeristy, Kenya’s leading institution for...

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Mar 11, 2013 KE Kenya

On March 4th, 2013 over 12.3 million Kenyans headed to the polls to elect their next parliamentarians, senators, governors and their fourth president since independence 50 years ago. In the weeks prior to the big day, Kenyans urged one another to become registered voters, consequently breaking all of its election records to date. Over 14.3 million people registered to vote, 86.1% of which turned out on election day. Many voters woke up before dawn, queuing as early as 1:00 am, and waited more than 10 hours to cast their ballots.

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Mar 9, 2013 KE Kenya

Although there is a growing middle class in Africa, the lack of basic services, adequate infrastructure and access to banking are still pervasive. Rather than completely stifling growth, these deficiencies have become fertile ground for innovators whipping up solutions and products customized for the continent. In Africa, developmental challenges can be synonymous with opportunity. “We thank God for giving us many problems so that we can find solutions,” joked Kenyan Information and Communication secretary Bitange Ndemo to the Daily Nation at an IBM forum in February...

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Mar 1, 2013 KE Kenya

There is no shortage of articles documenting Africa’s position on the cusp of global development, with Kenya as a particular harbinger of those expectations. The Economist has reneged on writing off Africa as a “Hopeless Continent” several times since it featured the headline a decade ago. In 2011 it published “Africa Rising,” in which it identified 6 of the fastest growing countries in the world as African, with GDP growth surpassing East Asia. Last August, it dubbed Kenya Africa’s “Silicon Savannah,” bringing an onslaught of...

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Oct 28, 2012 KE Kenya

Expanding Access to Higher Education in Kenya:

In January of 2012, Kiva, a microlending platform that aims to alleviate poverty by connecting lenders with borrowers who do not have access to traditional banking, partnered with Strathmore University, Kenya’s premier, private college, to launch a groundbreaking partnership in the financing of higher education.  They joined forces to expand educational opportunity across socioeconomic lines and mitigate the absence of sufficient financial aid options for Kenyan college students.

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