I was a fan of Kiva long before I realized there were real people who make those profiles miraculously appear on Kiva’s website.  Likely, you’re a bit more aware.  Or perhaps you’re like me, and you’ve just never thought about it.  If so, this is like the Santa revelation… there aren’t gnomes behind the screen, but instead hard-working, committed groups of people.  Either way, this is the first in a series of posts dedicated to them and all that they do!

There are so many people behind the posting of a single profile, and this is just part one in a series of posts to give each a bit of exposure.  We’ll begin with the person running the Kiva show at the MFI-level: the Kiva Coordinator (in Kiva-speak, the KC).  Now, this position looks different at each MFI.  At some larger partners, the KC may solely be doing Kiva work.  At many- like Kiva’s fabulous first partner in Burkina Faso, Micro Start- it’s just one of many things on his/her plate.

Our KC (in the middle), the other wonderful woman who works in the office (on the right), and me (could you find me?). Many Burkinabes aren't comfortable with unposed photos being on the internet, so you'll have to get creative and imagine the woman in the middle doing each of the following activities.

Our KC arrives at the office bright and early at 7:30am.  Someone in the office makes some lemon tea, and the work begins.  She logs onto Kiva’s Partner Administration system (where MFI partners take care of all Kiva-related business) to see if some of the profiles submitted earlier this week have been translated.  Three new Micro Start profiles are live on Kiva’s website, which is exciting news.  She also finds a new “issue” loan.  One of the greatest things about Kiva is their commitment to accuracy and transparency.  That means that if an error was made anywhere in a profile, it doesn’t go live but instead is resent to the KC, the KC fixes it, and it gets resubmitted.  Luckily the issue loan was a small typo and an easy fix.  We’re on our way!

Next up… posting new Kiva profiles.   After the loan officers have fully explained all the Kiva processes and gotten client consent, it’s time to take a profile picture of the borrowers.  It’s often a challenge to get a good picture here because of the strong sun, but KC’s are Kiva superheroes; they find ways to make things happen.

A super sunny Burkinabe day makes for a tough profile shot. But if anyone can do it, it's the KC!

Next, it’s time for a visit to the woman in charge of Micro Start’s MIS (where all of the client data is stored) to export repayment information directly from the source.  It’s key to Kiva operations to have accurate data for lenders, so we export PDF and Excel files from the brain of the institution.  After pulling both reports, it’s almost time to post.

The KC takes the loan profile form from the field and creates the rédaction or short borrower profile story.  She gathers this story, the PDF file, the Excel file, and the photo of the borrower, and it’s finally time to post.  After a final check to ensure everything is correct, the profile is off to Kiva, ready to be translated then funded by you!

There is so much more that goes into her job: accurate repayment reporting, receiving the correct number of profiles from loan officers, ensuring loan officers know how and when to journal, and sending those journals to you.  And then there are of course her accounting responsibilities.  Plus, the same challenges that present themselves daily as with any job.  All of the things we love about Kiva: getting to see photos of borrowers, hearing updates, and connecting to a specific group or person wouldn’t be possible without the KC.  So next time you give a loan, you can picture the man or woman on the other end who helped make it happen!

Allison Moomey is a Kiva Fellow (KF 16) working with Micro Start in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. To learn more, please visit Micro Start’s partner page, join the Friends of Micro Start/AFD lending team, and lend to Burkinabe borrowers.


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