Wrapping up my fellowship in Kenya has prompted me to reflect on what I’m finding most valuable about my time here. Many experiences come to mind but the top two are: (1) being able to meet Kiva borrowers in the field and (2) being able to work closely with Kiva partners on the ground.
We spend a lot of time here focusing on Kiva borrowers and Kiva lenders. We highlight Kiva borrowers to show the life changing things they are doing with Kiva loans. We also focus on Kiva lenders so they know they are appreciated and they feel a connection with the recipients of their loans. What about those on the ground making all of this possible?
Today, I would like to spotlight the many people who work hard everyday to make these loans available. These are people who exist between the Kiva borrowers and Kiva lenders. They work behind the scenes to make all of this possible and I would like to thank them for their dedication and support.
Here’s a look behind the scenes of a One Acre Fund loan on Kiva. One Acre Fund pre-purchases seeds and fertilizer when prices are low and passes the cost savings to farmers. Throughout the planting and harvesting season, One Acre Fund also provides training and support to the farmers as they make payments back to One Acre Fund. The organization then repays the Kiva loan on behalf of the farmers. With support from One Acre Fund and loans from Kiva lenders, these farmers have a chance at a successful harvest, increased profits and improved lives.
In November of each year, One Acre Fund begins training additional field teams of about 30 “Kiva Field Agents” on the Kiva process. This involves about a week of in-office training including how to explain Kiva to farmers, how best to take loan profile photos, how to conduct effective farmer interviews, and many other detail-oriented responsibilities. After this, there is another week of training in the field where the new field agents can practice in actual farmer meetings.
In December, the Kiva collection process is officially launched and the newly trained Kiva Field Agents disembark to five One Acre Fund districts throughout Kenya. They attend hundreds of farmer meetings and collect information about thousands of One Acre Fund farmers to be posted onto the Kiva website.
It is important to remember that Kiva is only a small portion of this team’s overall responsibilities. Although, you would never know it given the attention and dedication the team gives to the Kiva project! Other than the field team and the data entry team, additional support from other individuals is needed to ensure the project runs smoothly.
And finally, Rory, One Acre Fund’s Kiva Coordinator (and former Kiva Fellow!), is an essential player in connecting One Acre Fund farmers with Kiva lenders. He is the one person at One Acre Fund who touches all parts of the Kiva project and it could not happen without him.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with all of these teams throughout the past few months. I cannot thank them enough for welcoming me to the team! To the Kiva teams at One Acre Fund: THANK YOU for your dedication to the Kiva project!
Due to all this hard work, there will be about 500 new One Acre Fund loans representing thousands of farmers in Kenya posted to Kiva. Check out the results here and make a loan to a One Acre Fund farmer today!