We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. - Nelson Mandela
My StoryI made my first loan on Kiva in 2009 (See My Lender Profile) and have been fascinated by microfinance and Kiva's mission ever since. For years I've read the Kiva Fellows blog and wondered why can't that be me? Well, there's no time like the present and now it's my turn to make an impact in the developing world.
On August 31st I set sail for Kenya and Tanzania on a four month Kiva Fellowship. I'll have the incredible privilege to work with two of Kiva's Field Partners, Tujijenge Tanzania Ltd in Dar es Salaam and Yehu Microfinance Trust in Mumbasa, Kenya. Over the course of this fellowship I'll work to connect groups of entrepreneurs with Kiva lenders from across the globe.
What is Kiva?
Kiva is an non-profit with the goal of connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty. Anyone can log onto kiva.org, browse a portfolio of entrepreneurs in developing nations, and make a $25 loan to a small business. Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, also called Field Partners, who administer the loans in their communities.
The Kiva Fellows program offers a rare opportunity to travel abroad and witness firsthand the impact and realities of microfinance. As a fellow, my role is to work with Kivas partners to increase transparency and spread technology at local MFIs, document how entrepreneurs are using their
loans, and relate these stories back to the Kiva community.
You can read more about the Kiva Fellows program here:
Where Do You Come In?In a few short weeks I'll be leaving my job as a management consultant to travel alone in East Africa. The Kiva Fellows Program is an unpaid, volunteer position - no stipend or housing is provided - as
Kiva expects its fellows to fundraise for the entire journey.
Fortunately the past two years of non-stop business travel has earned me more than enough frequent flier miles for my trip. My other expenses are a bit tougher to come by. A rough budget estimate for my trip is below:
$200 airfare taxes and fees
$150 Kenya & Tanzania visas
$100 malaria pills
$1,100 food (110 days x $10/day)
$300 transportation (buses, taxis, etc)
$400 mobile phone and internet
$200 extra gear (mud boots, mosquito nets, etc.):
These are my minimum expenditures as I'm sure incidental costs will rack up along the way. If my work interests you, please consider sponsoring my Kiva fellowship. My personal savings will go towards funding most of this trip, but your help and support is crucial to my success!
Other Ways You Can Help...
Come to my fundraiser at Slattery's on Aug. 11th
When: Thursday, August 11th from 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Where:Slattery's Midtown Pub
I hope all of you will join me at
Slattery's Midtown Pub for a night of drinks, prizes and good karma.
Slattery's has graciously donated the upstairs bar for the evening. Happy hour specials will be extended from 6-9pm and everyone receives a complimentary shot with their first drink. If you're in a position to do so, there's a suggested donation of $10. All donors will receive raffle tickets to win bottles of wine, liquor, gift cards and more!
Gift ideas for my raffle
Let me know if you have any ideas, donations, or connections I can use for my raffle! Right now I have two $50 gift cards to any BR Guest restaurant in NYC and assorted bottles of wine and liquor. The more items I have, the more raffle tickets I can sell - please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions!
Tell you friends!
I would be so grateful if you forwarded this link to your family, friends, co-workers, church groups, or anyone with a soft spot for great causes. With just one click, you can help connect me with infinitely more donors than I could ever reach out to on my own.