Upon graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Marketing and International Business I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in international development. I applied for the Kiva Fellowship position in April and began my first placement in Denver in September. For the past few months I have been working to launch a pilot project called Kiva Zip in Denver. This platform allows people who are completely financially excluded to gain access to capital - it's a sustainable and empowering solution to poverty.
My passion for international development developed as a result of the culmination of a handful of experiences. I've travled twice to Kabul, Afghanistan on short term humanitarian trips; and I participated in an entrepreneurial development program where I worked as a consultant to businesses in the slums of Cape Town, South Africa. These experiences combined with my undergraduate education exposed me to the reality that poverty in this world is rampant and sustinable development can do what charity never could.
In January I will be traveling to Nariobi, Kenya for 4 months to work as a Kiva Fellow for my second placement. I will be working with Kiva Zip once again. In Kenya, this pilot project is helping those who previously would never be considered for a loan to gain access to capital; and because of new mobile technology - it is now possible for individuals in rural Kenya to tap into an international network of lenders on Kiva Zip.
What I Need
The total cost of my fellowship is about $8,000 and I need to raise about $2,500 of that ammount. Your money will go primarily towards the cost of rent ($2,400) and food ($1200).
I also need to buy a number of supplies for use while I'm in Kenya.
What is a Kiva Fellow?
The Kiva Fellows Program is a volunteer, unpaid position helping to administer microfinance loans in one of the countries that Kiva works in. As a Fellow, I will work directly with a Kiva program (Kiva Zip), acting as Kiva's eyes and ears on the ground and expanding Kiva's impact. I will be working primarily in Nairobi but often travling to rural parts of the county as well as the slums within the city.
About Kiva Zip
Since its launch in 2005, Kiva’s mission has been to alleviate poverty by connecting people through microlending. By working with a global network of microfinance institutions (MFIs), Kiva.org has enabled people like you to make over $340 million in loans to over 850,000 borrowers around the world, with a nearly 99% repayment rate, as of August 2012.
Kiva Zip is testing new ways of realizing this mission with the goal of expanding our reach to underserved populations by using new technologies that also drive down costs to the borrower. Here’s a little more detail about each of these differences:
The Kiva Zip alpha is intent on expanding financial access to borrowers who cannot otherwise be served by a bank or microfinance institution. This means Kiva Zip borrowers may have a different profile from Kiva.org. For example, in the U.S. it is becoming apparent that a lot of start-up businesses currently lack access to capital, and that these are prime candidates for Kiva Zip loans; whereas most of the U.S. businesses on Kiva.org are already established.
Other Ways You Can Help
There are many ways that you can still support me, and trust me I need all the help I can get!
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