I’m here at Kiva HQ, training as part of KF6, or Kiva fellows class 6.  Short take: there is an amazing amount to learn before we go into the field, and these Kiva people — staff, volunteers — are amazing.

We’re learning about Kiva, the organization, how it came to be and where it’s going.   We’ve been taught more about microfinance, and how Kiva partners with and works to strengthen the institutions in the field that actually do the lending.  We’re getting a crash course in the technologies that help make this all happen.  And we’re finding a little time for social activities, sharing stories, and getting to know each other.  Kiva is feeding us well.  They even let us out for exercise once in a while.

I’ll be arriving in Cambodia for the start of my fellowship in mid-October.  How to remember all that we’re learning this week?  Fortunately, that series of tubes called the Internet provides some major assist.

You’ve probably heard of Wikipedia, the encylopedic mother of all brain dumps.  Fellows have their own mini-version, a Kiva Fellows wiki that we can contribute to and learn from: travel advice, blogging tips, country profiles, forums with debates over interest rates, and more.   Besides the Fellows’ wiki, there’s also Kivapedia, an all things Kiva wiki that anyone can use and help edit.

These wikis, and other Web 2.0 technologies, have been so useful that Newsweek even decided it would make good fodder for an article about how Kiva (among others) uses them to goose collaboration from a far-flung network of staff and volunteers.  The article, Power to the Bottom, showcases Kiva’s own Dan Zuckerman, a Fellow who just returned from Tajikistan.

Conclusion: wikis are pretty cool.  Off-topic: Will someone let me know when the Weeki Wachee wiki goes online?

Kiva volunteer Sarah Wan teaches KF6 Fellows the ways of the wiki

Kiva volunteer Sarah Wan teaches KF6 Fellows the ways of the wiki

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