The 21st class of Kiva Fellows heads out around the world!

As you may or may not know, the Kiva Fellows Program offers between 15 and 40 extraordinary individuals the opportunity to support global microfinance around the world for four months.

During this time, Kiva fellows serve as our eyes and ears on the ground. They work closely with our partners to support their operations, improve the Kiva lending experience, and help us reach more borrowers. They're truly on the frontier of Kiva, helping to innovate, expand, develop and deepen our connections to the field.

Preparing them for their challenging roles is a team effort. Dozens of Kiva staff devoted last week to arm them with the knowledge and tools to make a real impact. In addition to tackling assignments from Kiva HQ, each fellow is pursuing their own project to further Kiva's mission.

Altogether, the new class consists of 31 fellows -- including 14 fellows will be working with Kiva Zip in the United States and Kenya. Nine new fellows are traveling to our partner organizations in 17 countries on 5 continents around the world. Additionally, 8 fellows from previous classes are heading to new assignments to keep Kiva running smoothly.

Building on the successes of the 486 fellows before them, this new class of Kiva fellows will draw on considerable experience and talent to expand the reach of microfinance. We can't wait to hear and read all about their adventures on the Fellows Blog.

And now… presenting the 21st class of Kiva Fellows:

Aditi Mathur  Kiva Zip (Kenya)

A true globe trotter, Aditi was born in New Delhi, India and moved with her family to Seattle, WA when she was just 3 years old. She looks forward to exploring the use of technology to further Kiva’s mission and connect people across the world through her work with Kiva Zip in Nairobi. In her free time, Aditi enjoys getting outdoors, teaching herself to play the ukulele, and slacklining in Golden Gate Park.

Aletheia Henry  Kiva Zip (Pittsburgh, PA)

Aletheia Henry began her career as a case worker for Children’s Services in Columbus, Ohio. After earning her master’s degree in journalism and communication at Ohio State University, she joined President Obama’s 2008 campaign in Iowa. As Obama’s General Election Director for Pennsylvania in 2012, Aletheia hired and managed a staff of over 300; built relationships with donors, elected officials, and stakeholders; set and exceeded voter contact goals; and delivered Pennsylvania's electoral votes.

Ana Acosta  Kiva Zip (Richmond, VA)

Ana was born in Cuba, but moved to Venezuela at age 2, where she lived for 8 years until moving to Miami. Becoming a Kiva fellow is a dream come true for Ana, not only because of the unique experience she will gain, but also because she is a strong believer that microfinance is a truly sustainable solution to alleviating global poverty. Afterward, she plans to go on to graduate school and get her master's degree in public policy.

Andy Kaestle – Philippines (pictured above)

Andy is from Seattle, went to college in San Diego, and lives in New York City. In order to join this class of Kiva fellows, Andy is taking a leave of absence from Ernst & Young, where he works as a financial consultant leading projects focused on risk management, regulatory compliance, and transaction advisory. He is looking forward to being part of the class and working with people who are motivated to alleviate poverty around the world.

Daniel Tam-Claiborne  Kiva Zip (Kenya)

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Daniel is a proud and outspoken Asian American. He spent two years immediately following graduation teaching English at Shanxi Agricultural University in the rural northern town of Taigu, China as a recipient of a Shansi Fellowship. He is enormously excited to be working with Kiva Zip in Nairobi this summer, and is committed to approaching this and every new experience with curiosity, daring and respect.

Howard O  Kiva Zip (Kenya)

Howard is a management consultant with experience in the defense, education, nonprofit, telecommunications, and digital media sectors, focusing on helping clients to improve sales, marketing, and customer experiences. He is passionate about education and its transformational power to alleviate poverty, and believes that Kiva can enable young people to obtain improved access to education.

Ines Bou-Abdallah – Tamweelcom & National Microfinance Bank (Jordan) (pictured above)

Born in Paris, Ines grew up in France while spending significant time in Algeria, her parents’ native country. The Kiva Fellowship Program gives her a chance to concretely start doing what she has been craving to do: participate in the creation of opportunities for and with people in need, to create better lives for themselves and a future full of hope for their children. She can’t wait to begin her work as a fellow in Jordan!

Jason Stout – HOPE Ukraine & Agro Capital Management (Ukraine)

Jason Stout grew up in Utah and the Netherlands and has spent nearly a quarter of his life living abroad. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa, volunteered in Russia with a U.N.-affiliated refugee NGO and volunteered in Ukraine for two years with the LDS Church. He is excited to return to Ukraine as a Kiva fellow.

Jenny Prosser  MicroKing Finance (Zimbabwe)

Born and raised in the U.K., Jenny graduated with a degree in French and German from University College London. Jenny’s passion for social entrepreneurship led her to join Ashoka, the world’s leading association of social entrepreneurs. In her role as venture manger, Jenny led the search and selection process of new Ashoka Fellows in the U.K., as well as managed the community of existing fellows.

Jesse Miller – Kiva Zip (New York, NY)

Born and raised just outside of Boston, Jesse received a degree from Middlebury College, where she studied environmental science with a focus in conservation biology and economics. The fall of her junior year at Middlebury, Jesse spent a semester abroad in Namibia, where she conducted research for the Namibian government to facilitate economic development by sustainably using environmental resources.

John Winslow – Cambodia

John grew up in San Francisco and San Diego, CA. He is interested in the use of business principles to address social challenges in a sustainable fashion, which led him to the Kiva Fellows Program. He is placed with four well-established Kiva microfinance institution partners in Cambodia, and is excited for the varying perspectives and methods he will encounter.

Mariana Oom – Asociacion Arariwa (Peru), FUNDAPRO (Bolivia)

Mariana was born in Lisbon, Portugal. For more than a decade, she has been dedicated to the promotion of Portugal and Portuguese companies and products around the world. She is taking a sabbatical to volunteer as a Kiva fellow and is thrilled to be working with field partners in both Peru and Bolivia.

Michelle Thevil – Kiva Zip (Kenya)

With over 15 years of consumer insights experience, Michelle has worked closely with business leaders to leverage insights and drive business strategy. Having been a supporter of Kiva since 2007, Michelle is thrilled to be able to use her business skills to help an organization like Kiva thrive.

Nelleke Hennemann – Yehu Microfinance Trust & Milango Financial Services (Kenya)

Nelleke joins us from the Netherlands, where she lives in a tiny remote village in the province of Noord Brabant in a converted farmhouse; this rural home is the base for her work as an international management consultant. She considers her Kiva fellowship a great opportunity to test and apply her experience and is very much looking forward to the assignment in Kenya.

Nora Mueller-Alten – Kiva Zip (Kenya)

Nora grew up in Germany and studied business as an undergrad while working for a global cosmetics company. Her passion for new cultures and off-the-beaten-track travels has taken her most recently to Mexico, Myanmar and Indonesia. Constantly on the lookout for efficient market solutions, she is enthusiastic about the concept of microfinance and proud to be part of the mission to scale services for borrowers.

Parijat Tanna – Kiva Zip (Oakland, CA) (pictured above)

Parijat Tanna is currently pursuing joint master's degrees in business and educational leadership at Mills College. She hopes to learn more about consulting and the demands of starting a business. Her passion is educational equality for girls in developing countries, and she has spent time abroad in India teaching math and English to 7 to 13-year-old girls. She hopes to find ways to help grassroots organizations find sustainable funding sources to help grow their impact.

Richard Hansen – Fundacion Mujer & FUDECOSUR (Costa Rica)

Though he is proud of his roots as a native Nevadan, Richard has always had an outward-looking perspective. Kiva represents, to him, the very best of this kind of development thinking, and he is excited to do his part to facilitate the accomplishment of Kiva's mission of connecting people to alleviate poverty in Costa Rica.

Sara Arnoudse  Kiva Zip (Newark, NJ)

Sara was born and raised in Lexington, MA and graduated with her bachelor's in international affairs and spanish from the University of New Hampshire. She is thrilled to be working as a Kiva Zip fellow this summer and looks forward to contributing to the success of this new initiative.

Shereen Masoud – FATEN (Palestine), ACAD & KIEDF (Israel)

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Shereen received her bachelor's in communication from Santa Clara University with a minor in Middle Eastern and Arabic studies. She is currently in the master’s in development practice program at University of California, Berkeley, where she is focusing her studies on environmentally sustainable economic development, and she is thrilled to be serving her time as a Kiva fellow in Palestine and Israel.

Tammy Lewin – Kiva Zip (Kenya)

Tammy has had a passion for exploring and understanding foreign lands since her upbringing by multicultural parents just outside New York City. Tammy spent the last several months serving as a Vittana fellow, conducting an impact assessment of their student loan program in the Philippines.

Tarek Kholoussy  Kenya (pictured above)

As someone who subscribes to Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that “the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” Tarek is thrilled to serve as a Kiva fellow. Proud to have been raised in the small town of Pottsville, PA, Tarek is excited to experience life in Kenya.

Theresa Wilson – Kiva Zip (Akron, OH)

Born and raised in Ohio, Theresa earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Miami University of Ohio. She can think of no better organization poised to make an impact in this area than Kiva and is delighted to work with Kiva Zip in Ohio this summer.

Zach Kahn – Peru

Proudly hailing from New York, Zach enjoys experiencing new cities and local coffee shops. After graduating, Zach moved to Cambridge, MA where he worked for three years as an analyst at the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), a nonprofit dedicated to helping philanthropic funders assess their performance and improve their effectiveness. He cannot wait to start his Kiva Fellowship.

And an extra-special thank you to our returning fellows (read all about them here):

Abhi Adhikari - HOFOKAM, UGAFODE, MCDT (Uganda)
Amy Barth - Juhudi Kilimo (Kenya)
Fred-eric Bergheimer - Finadev Benin (Benin)
Jeff Nelson - Apoyo Integral, AFODENIC, ODEF, COMIXMUL (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras)
Juan Barbed - Media Fellow (Southeast Asia)
Paul Ricketts - Colfuturo, CampoAlto, FCC (Colombia)
Stasi Baranoff - Kiva Zip (United States)
Taylor Whitfield - Kiva Zip (Kenya)

To learn more about the Kiva Fellows Program, please visit our information page.

About the author

Shana Soltani

As Kiva Fellows Program Coordinator, Shana is responsible for the recruitment, training and support of Kiva Fellows.  Bringing professional experience form both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, Shana is passionate about inter-cultural exchange and contributing towards making the world a better place.  During college, Shana studied abroad and volunteered in Mali, El Salvador, and Switzerland, then went on to lead the growth of the Kids division of Putumayo World Music.  Prior to joining Kiva, Shana worked for the program evaluation team of Search for Common Ground in Cote d’Ivoire, then spent three years overseeing the California office of Free The Children, a Canadian-based youth empowerment and international development organization.  A musician since the age of five, Shana has performed in six countries around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Gran Teatro de Habana in Cuba.  Shana holds a B.A. from NYU and an M.A. in International Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.