For my Kiva Fellowship I was very lucky to have been placed with One Acre Fund, one of Kiva’s Field Partners in Kenya. I have been in this beautiful country serving as a Fellow for a month and a half, learning about microfinance and its impact at a local level and... I think it’s time for an update!

About One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund is a non-profit organization that supplies smallholder farmers with the tools and financing they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Participating farmers receive a complete bundle of agricultural inputs and services on credit, including the delivery of improved seeds and fertilizer, training on how to maximize crop yields, and education on how to minimize post-harvest losses.
 

 
To learn more go to http://www.oneacrefund.org/ 

Kiva and One Acre Fund have been partners for over 3 years, during which Kiva lenders all around the world have funded thousands of One Acre Fund farmers’ loans.
 
To learn more go to http://www.kiva.org/partners/202

It is weird to think that just a few years ago I made my first loan through Kiva to a group of farmers in Kenya, and that now I am in that same country, working to serve that same population and helping to provide a bridge of interaction between people from all walks of life… which is what inspired me to join the Kiva community in the first place!
 
The Trilogy

I am now half way through my Fellowship and as the Kiva season starts, the workload is starting to increase exponentially. Up to now I have been involved in making sure that we are extremely well prepared for the coming season, which entailed a lot of work in areas such as budgeting, procurement or logistics.

However, I have made sure to spend most of my time thoroughly organizing and designing the many Field and Data Entry Materials that we will need, making these as sustainable and as simple as possible in order to be able to post as many farmers as we can on to the Kiva website.

In this “Trilogy” (I am just so stupidly proud of the title!) I will talk about the three main “behind the scenes” steps that need to happen for the Kiva project to be able to exist:
 

Today, I will tell you all about the first one, that has recently taken place at the One Acre Fund HQ offices and, for the other two… you will just have to stay tuned as I post them in the next couple of weeks!
 
Training Kiva Agents

Kiva Agents are the people who go to the field and are in charge of collecting the information needed from farmers in order to create Kiva Profiles.

Essentially, they are in charge of conducting multiple Kiva Meetings across districts in which they explain; what Kiva is, its relationship to One Acre Fund, what information is needed from farmers, how and where this information will be used provided the farmers give consent to Kiva, and then, subsequently collect such information.

However, before doing so, they need to be trained on how to conduct these Kiva Meetings, and as you can see this is a lot to take in in a one-day training session!

Here are the two groups we trained on Monday and Tuesday

 
The training took place last week, whereby 24 Kiva Agents were invited to the HQ offices to learn what Kiva is all about.

I was in charge of leading the trainings (with the help of 3 other staff members), which was in itself really exhilarating for a recent graduate like myself who is managing such a large team for the first time. However, I was especially excited because I finally got to put all the materials that I had worked so hard on to good use, see results and get some feedback on just how useful these were perceived to be.

Once everyone arrived and after we all introduced ourselves we got right to it! Because it was such a long day, filled with a lot of information, and because I don’t want to bore you with the details, I will just give you a brief glimpse of what the training included. The following are some examples of the different materials and activities we introduced:

Materials
 
“Kiva Profile Template”, “Work Plan Checklist”, “Kiva Meeting Instructions and Talking Points”, “Client Waiver”, “Kiva Photography Instructions”, “Feedback Form”…
 
 

Breaking the ice, Kiva Meeting Instructions and Talking Points, Kiva Photography Instruccions


Introducing the Kiva Profile Templates - i.e. the questions KAs will be asking farmers

Activities
 
“Explaining Kiva to the Group”, “Practice Taking Good and Bad Photos”, “Identify the Errors”, “Problematic Scenarios: What Would You Do?”, “Collecting a Full Kiva Profile”…
 

Having a go at explaining Kiva and identifying good vs. bad photos


Teaching main camera features and practicing taking pictures


Identifying the errors in an example Kiva Profile Template


 
Role play - collecting a full profile

 
Even though it was a very intense training, it was a very rewarding couple of days, where I learnt a lot personally, professionally and culturally. I got to meet a very hardworking and interesting group of people and we all managed to laugh and have fun in the process, although I am certain that my mispronunciation of Kiswahili words had a lot to do with that!

Stay tuned for my next post – “Behind the Scenes…. The Trilogy: Collecting Kiva Profiles”

Ines Eguiagaray.

 
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