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Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets indi...


San Francisco, United States

21 Jan 2014

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Kiva Fellows Program

Learn about microfinance firsthand with Kiva, the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website!

San Francisco, United States

Applicants are required to hold the relevant Visas/Work Permits

Entry Level
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Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website. Kiva's field partners, throughout the U.S. and in over 70 countries around the world, post thousands of loans to Kiva.org every month so that individual lenders can help fund entrepreneurs who have limited access to capital.

Kiva Fellows have a unique opportunity to witness the realities of microfinance firsthand by working directly with Kiva field partners, or supporting Kiva’s newest initiative (Kiva Zip), for a minimum of 16 weeks. A limited number of shorter 12-week placements may be available during the summer class for currently enrolled graduate students. The Kiva Fellowship is designed to increase Kiva's global impact, offer participants a unique insider experience into the microfinance industry, and provide a career opportunity of a lifetime. The position is volunteer-based, and all fellows receive a week of in-depth training at Kiva’s headquarters, plus ongoing access to Kiva’s network of staff and former fellows.

Kiva Fellows are integral to the organization, serving as our eyes and ears on the ground and helping to extend limited resources to maximize impact. Fellows fulfill a core set of deliverables laid out in a personalized workplan that is defined by Kiva along with the host field partner or Kiva Zip team. Kiva aims to leverage the unique skill set of each fellow to accomplish key tasks that are crucial to the success of the partnership or initiative.


Core Responsibilities

Although no two fellowships are the same, core responsibilities may include the following:

Consulting/Capacity Building

  • Train field partner staff on Kiva processes, policies and best practices
  • Observe, learn and document the field partner’s operations and its use of the Kiva platform, making recommendations as appropriate
  • Help identify new field partners or loan products that align with Kiva’s mission and help to further strategic goals 


  • Interview Kiva borrowers to assess loan impact, verify data, and gather information for journal updates
  • Provide updates and feedback through field reports


  • Contribute regularly to the Kiva Fellows Blog
  • Create content to help tell the story of Kiva’s impact in the field and engage Kiva lenders
  • Capture images and video footage to be used by Kiva’s marketing team 

Scale New Initiatives

  • Identify and onboard new Kiva Zip trustees and borrowers
  • Raise awareness about Kiva Zip through community outreach and public speaking
  • Conduct field-based research and analyze findings
  • Document best practices and learnings

Desired Skills/Experience

Successful Kiva Fellows tend to share certain skills and characteristics:

  • Overseas experience, preferably in developing countries (not required for placements within the United States)
  • High degree of flexibility, self-motivation and problem solving abilities
  • Ability to adapt to new cultures and be flexible in new, challenging environments
  • Background in finance, consulting, international development, business/social enterprise, social science, media production, marketing/communications, economic development, urban studies
  • Familiarity and comfort with various web applications and technology
  • Dedication to working in the field
  • High degree of self-motivation and ability to work independently
  • Minimum 4-month commitment (3-month commitment for select summer positions)
  • Ability and commitment to fund the experience
  • Enthusiasm for Kiva!

Fluency or advanced communication ability in Arabic, French, Khmer, Mongolian, Pashto, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog/Cebuano, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese are highly preferred or required for many positions.  English-only speakers are encouraged to apply to our diverse Anglophone portfolio.  

Where Fellows Serve
Kiva currently has active partnerships with over 200 field partners in over 70 countries, including the United States. Fellowship placements may occur at any of these locations, but availability is dependent upon partner need and the ability of a fellow to successfully complete assigned tasks.  As such, individuals that express a high degree of geographic flexibility are more likely to be selected for a placement.

Additional Benefits
All individuals who successfully complete their fellowships are highly valued members of the Kiva family and will join the dynamic network of 500+ Kiva Fellow Alumni. The Kiva Fellows Program is extremely selective, and alumni of the program are becoming industry leaders around the world.

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