In a little over a month, I will be heading to Bungoma, Kenya on a Kiva Fellowship at One Acre Fund. I am hoping to gain your support on my journey to East Africa where I will spend the next four months.
Since graduating, I have worked for an international vegetable seed company for the better part of two years in the Netherlands and Salinas, CA. However, I have also volunteered for four months in Cambodia and seven months in Kiva's San Francisco office. With a Kiva Fellowship at One Acre Fund, I have the rare ability to combine my interest in agriculture with my interest in international development.
My Kiva Story
I discovered Kiva in late 2007 when I first began researching the impact of microfinance, the distribution of financial services to individuals unreachable by traditional banks. Since my discovery, I have made 27 interest free loans on Kiva to different entrepreneurs around the globe. These are people that have received funding despite their lack of collateral and have rewarded my trust with a 100% repayment rate. Over Kiva's history it has garnered an astonishing 98.94% repayment rate on its $337+ million dollars in total loan volume. Feel free to visit my Lender Page on Kiva to see my impact or check our Kiva's stats page to view the organization's impressive accoplishments.
The Kiva Fellows Program
A Kiva Fellowship is an unpaid, volunteer position designed to increase Kiva's impact and to offer participants a unique insider experience to the world of microfinance. The work of Kiva Fellows is extremely important to Kiva as an organization. Kiva has grown to work with over 150 microfinance organizations around the world and it is impossible for Kiva to be in constant contact with all of them. After a partner's initial onboarding Kiva Fellows are the strongest connection between Kiva and its partners.
My Role as a Kiva Fellow
I have been placed with One Acre Fund in Bungoma, Kenya and will also aid another new partner, Safe Water, an Innovations for Povery Action initiative. My work will focus on helping these new partners scale their funding from Kiva in a responsible way. A few ways in which I will be involved are:
- Promoting sustainable and responsible microfinance
- Strengthening Kiva's relationship with its partners
- Increasing transparency in the field of microfinance
- Encouraging Kiva's mission to connect people through lending to alleviate povery
- Providing support and training on Kiva policies and best practices
The work at One Acre Fund is extremely important to the economic development of East Africa as they are a leading provider of micro-credit for high risk agriculture loans. These loans include long grace periods that are risky because many factors of repayment rely on the success of the growing season. As a result, One Acre Fund provides trainings, crop insurance, and life insurance among other products to its participating farmers. It is very valuable for One Acre Fund to receive the risk-tolerant interest free funding that Kiva offers and I am extremely excited to help them scale their operations utilizing Kiva's vast network of lenders.
How You Can Help
After planning out my budget, I expect my time in Kenya to cost about $5,000. This includes airfare, lodging, food, immunization, and in country transportation among other costs. However, it would not be a proper volunteer experience unless I contributed significantly from my own means to fund it. Thus, I plan to cover roughly half the expenses myself and fundraise the rest.
If you cannot donate, any help in spreading the word, liking this page, or tweets to your network of followers makes a major difference. The visibility of my campaign on Indiegogo is directly related to the amount of activity on my page.Thank you SO much for all of your support!