By Jacob Schultz, Kiva Fellows Program Manager, and Eric Brandt, Kiva Fellows Program Coordinator

Kiva HQ was electric last month as the newest class of Kiva Fellows gathered for an intensive five-day training course. Over the next several weeks, they’ll split up among 21 countries where Kiva loans are made. While there, they’ll spend the next four months working closely with our field partners and meeting with borrowers to grow and strengthen the Kiva lending experience.

Prior to arriving for training, Kiva gets to know the KF17 trainees through their bios

Kiva received 165 applicants for the class’ 21 placements, and everyone at HQ was very excited to meet these exceptional people in person.

“It’s humbling to meet this talented group of individuals who are willing to do so much to support Kiva’s mission,” says Kiva President Premal Shah.

In one whirlwind week, a total of 29 Kiva staff delivered presentations on their areas of specialty and prepared the Fellows for the challenges they will face in the field. At the same time, each of the fellows got a crash course on the Kiva partner they will be working with to make lending even easier and more rewarding for lenders and borrowers alike.

As much as the Fellows are learning, this training week always ends up being a two-way street. As Premal notes, “Even before their time in the field, the fellows inspire and challenge us while they are training to continue to innovate and deepen Kiva’s impact.”

Matt Flannery, Co-founder and CEO, and Premal Shah, President of Kiva, speaking with the trainees

Following in the footsteps of 407 past Kiva Fellows, KF17 will play a critical role in expanding Kiva’s global reach and ensuring the integrity of the Kiva lending experience. Each individual in the class will serve with one or more of Kiva’s field partners in order to strengthen relationships, build capacity and gather insights, pictures and stories from the field.

KF17 trainees (from left) Jon Hiebert, Isabel Balderrama, Nessa French, and Micaela Browning prepare for the field

The Fellows will contribute their incredible energy and diverse professional skills to Kiva as self-funded volunteers. They will travel thousands of miles, immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures, and overcome challenges for the opportunity to further Kiva’s work.

Members of KF17 take their place on the map

We’d like to congratulate the amazing 17th class of Kiva Fellows and wish them the best of luck in the field over the next several months. We can’t wait to learn even more from their experiences.

We proudly announce the 17th class of Kiva Fellows (KF17)!

  • Adria Orr – South Pacific Business Development, Samoa
  • Alex Connelly – Colfuturo, Colombia
  • Ben Schelling – Arvand, Tajikistan
  • Carrie Nguyen – Asociacion Arariwa, Peru
  • David Gorgani – ASPIRE, Dominican Republic
  • David Suk – CAURIE, Senegal
  • Devon Fisher – Milango, Kenya
  • Heather Sullivan – VisionFund Indonesia
  • Isabel Balderrama – FODEMI, Ecuador
  • Jamie Greenthal – CEVI, Philippines
  • Jen Truong – MAXIMA, Cambodia
  • Jon Hiebert – XacBank, Mongolia
  • Kiyomi Beach – Huatusco, Mexico
  • Micaela Browning – Hluvuku, Mozambique
  • Mike Slattery – WAGES, Togo
  • Natalie Sherman – ACEP, Cameroon
  • Nessa French – KADET and Strathmore University, Kenya
  • Philip Issa – Ryada, Palestine
  • Rebecca Vo – SEDA. Vietnam
  • Ryan Cummings – BRAC Liberia
  • Santiago Cortes – Prisma, Honduras

And an extra special thanks to the following fellows who will be returning for a 2nd placement!

  • Abhinab Basnyat – NUBL, Nepal
  • Allison Moomey – Finadev, Benin
  • Chris Paci – VisionFund AzerCredit, Azerbaijan
  • Emmanuel von Arx – FRAC, Mexico
  • Kim Strathearn – Maya, Turkey
  • Whitney Webb – VFC, Rwanda

To learn more about the Kiva Fellows Program, please visit our information page . We are currently accepting applications for the 18th class of Kiva Fellows who will begin their fellowships in June 2012. Apply today!


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