Over the last four months, I have been serving as a Fellow with the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), a Kiva field partner in Kyrgyzstan. AUCA is an education loan field partner through which students in need of financial aid are supported with $1,100 USD loans by Kiva lenders. A 4.5 year grace period and 0% interest makes this loan product unique. A key piece of work during my fellowship has been creating a Kiva Community at AUCA.
Due to the nature of most Kiva field partners (MFI's, banks, catalytic product providers), it is usually not possible for Kiva borrowers to connect with each other, depend on each other and learn from each other. It has been very exciting to bring all students at AUCA with Kiva loans together for this purpose. I have also had a great time engaging key members of AUCA staff to act as champions for Kiva and custodians of a support network for Kiva students. Every Kiva loan you make to a student at AUCA now, not only gives them access to a world-class education at Central Asia's leading university, but also gives them access to a mentor and community support structure.
Recently, the Kiva Community came together to offer some advice to incoming Kiva Freshmen - you can watch our video here. The video was shot by AUCA TV, an in-house team that is completely run by Film & Media students at the university. It is the best of Kyrgyz college humor and they have some great videos in English that offer insight into student life and culture at AUCA. If you have made a loan through this field partner, I would recommend subscribing to the AUCA TV YouTube channel. This way you can stay updated with the world of opportunity you have opened up for a student at AUCA.