Matt Ramirez

Usually the first (and only) to laugh at his own jokes, Matt values the power of humor and extroversion in connecting with people. He became interested in microfinance following a year in Malawi where he saw the ability for small business investments to have far reaching, positive effects and is excited to join this cause as a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. A Texas native, Matt’s first international experience came when he lived in Mexico City during elementary school. He graduated from NYU with a Psychology degree and Pre-Business minor before joining PepsiCo where he held roles in finance, strategy, and marketing. Looking to live abroad and work on a cause he was passionate about, Matt took a yearlong sabbatical to volunteer with Grassroot Soccer in Malawi where he helped implement HIV educational programs and community HIV testing events. He then co-founded Teen Support Line, a free phone counseling service for adolescents living with HIV in Malawi. Matt loves to travel and engage with new cultures and has spent time in Spain, Latin America, and southern Africa. Outside of work, he enjoys writing, soccer, and incessant movie/television quoting.

Fellows Blog Posts by Matt Ramirez

May 21, 2014 UG Uganda

John Bosco and me in his farm as he proudly holds up his Kiva Profile
Sitting across from John Bosco in the living room of his modest home in rural Uganda, I smiled as he introduced me to his two youngest children. He then told me how he’d used his Kiva loan to purchase fertilizer and a pesticide spray pump to improve his farm. When I asked him if he had any other sources of income he beamed proudly before reviewing his businesses: poultry, pigs, a fish pond, goat trading, and plantain and coffee farming. At 43 years... Continue Reading >>

May 9, 2014 UG Uganda

Visiting Vian in rural Uganda took us over questionable roads through what was once forest land.
Surrounding the lopsided, mangled dirt road was a verdant landscape of densely packed farmland. Maize filled one line of sight before giving way to plantain trees, which in turn were followed by beans, or sweet potatoes, and the occasional wetland with overgrown grass. The long visible stretch to the horizon though pointed out the relative absence of trees to interrupt the view. The driver, while navigating cavernous... Continue Reading >>

Feb 24, 2014 UG Uganda

Christine teaches me to eat jackfruit.
As Christine cut through a Jackfruit from a tree outside her mother’s home, I couldn’t help thinking about spare parts. I had just interviewed Christine following the completion of her Kiva loan to expand her automotive spare parts store in Uganda, and something about the concept of spare parts kept firing away in the back of my mind. As she showed me how to eat the enormous fruit, by cutting away smaller pieces and pulling out the seeds, I realized spare parts are the fuel that... Continue Reading >>