Nerdfighters, Hiddlestoners, and Detroiters: UNITE!
There are two very fun parts about my Kiva fellowship: working in NYC and interacting with Kiva lenders about Accion East clients.
I have been a Kiva lender since 2011, but it wasn’t until I joined Accion East as a fellow that I started participating in Kiva lending teams. When an Accion East staff member asked me what a lending team was, I said “basically, you can talk to and lend with people across any affiliation you can think of.” And when I say “any affiliation”, I really mean any (legal) affiliation. Secular, religious, geographic, colleges, businesses, industries, hobbies, pets, all of it. I saw that certain teams would support Accion East loans and thought it would be great to see how Kiva lenders talked about these loans – how did a film loan end up with 1/3 of the Crazy Activities Collectors members supporting it? Wait, did I just see a Team Hiddleston member support one of our loans? (side bar: I'm a total fangirl for him)So, I have joined several teams and I really enjoy participating in the Kiva conversation. There is clearly a vibrant community of lenders that are interested in talking about global microfinance and feel that Kiva empowers them to make a difference.
I read about the team activities through my daily email digest and on the Kiva.org website. It’s fun to see how different teams use their different interests and styles to support loans. The Nerdfighters (DFTBA!) captains select a monthly loan theme for members to support. In October, it was young entrepreneurs. The Friends of Bob Harris, supporters of Bob Harris, author of “The International Bank of Bob”, completed a lending campaign to celebrate Bob’s birthday and raised over $4500! And the Kiva Detroit team is always quick to support a local business – over thirty team members lent an Accion East client who runs a small chain of Mexican restaurants in Detroit.
While I am already half way through my fellowship (where did that time go??), my participation with Kiva lending teams will continue after I wrap up with Accion East. With this field partner experience, I hope to add to the conversation when lenders discuss the joys and frustrations of loan raising. Engaging with the teams has taken my Kiva experience to a whole other level. If you are not part of team currently, please consider finding one - and if you are already on one, check in with the team, support a team loan, just say hi! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Oh, and all of these outdoor art pieces? I pass them on my way to work!