My Experience as a Kiva Fellow
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva combines the poverty alleviating power of microfinance with the mass participation of the internet. It lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Since 2005, nearly 570,000 people have used Kiva.org to fund +$200M in microloans through MFIs to more than 526,000 working poor entrepreneurs around the world. Source: Kiva.org (April 1, 2011).
In order to ensure the true flow of Kiva processes with various field partners (Microfinance Institutions or MFIs), Kiva sets up the Fellows Program which offers individuals a rare opportunity to travel abroad and witness firsthand impact and realities of microfinance, by working directly with a host microfinance institution (MFI). The Kiva Fellow is an unpaid, volunteer based position designed to increase Kiva's impact and to offer participants a unique insider experience.
Unknown to me, Kiva’s impact has been spreading. In October 2009, I got a text message for an offer to work as Kiva Fellow for Kiva Microfund, USA through my uncle, role model and sponsor, Bayo Odutola. He happens to be one of the socially conscious 570,000 lenders (donors) who extends their funds to local micro entrepreneurs in developing countries to enable them to be more successful in business where traditional banking methods have failed them.
At first, this appeared to be a very challenging offer that I would not be able to live up to. I had only just graduated from university with a degree in Business Administration and had not been through that type of internship before. Also, I knew that working for an American company, excellent standards would be required and I was not sure I was capable of meeting them. But with the motivational words from Bayo, I realized I could actually go a long way with this opportunity.
From that point, I began to develop interest...
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