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Frankfurt, Germany – A Day in the Life of a Kiva Fellow

As surprised as my family and friends were when I told them that I’m heading off to Kyrgyzstan, that’s about as surprised as my Kiva colleagues were when they found out that I’m also heading to Frankfurt, for a portion of my Kiva Fellowship.

At first pass, Germany doesn’t seem like a country that would fit with Kiva’s non-profit microfinance orientation and mission statement. Yet, in Frankfurt, one of the world’s prominent financial centres, an innovative start-up and recent Kiva Field Partner, Yunus Social Business (“YSB”), is pushing the envelope of social business investing, globally and on Kiva. And, although headquartered in Frankfurt, YSB currently operates across Haiti, Albania, Tunisia, Uganda, Colombia, Brazil, and India.

After spending the majority of September and October in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, I set out to Frankfurt, Germany, to complete the second half of my Kiva Fellowship with YSB. To give you a sense of my life here in Frankfurt, and more importantly, a point of comparison to my life in Bishkek, I’ve put together a follow up photo blog.

Once again, I hope you enjoy reading about, as much as I have enjoyed experiencing, a day in the life of a Kiva Fellow, this time, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Wake up, shower and grab a quick breakfast at the apartment

Head out of the building and walk down pedestrian streets and through a leafy park nearby, towards the office

As I approach downtown, skyscrapers begin to emerge in the distance

Cross a busy throughway and arrive at the YSB headquarters in Frankfurt

Enter the office, pass by open work spaces, and take a seat at my desk for the morning

Just before noon, I run a quick errand at a shopping centre on Zeil, Frankfurt’s busiest commercial street

On my way back, I pass through a pop-up market and pick up some lunch

Back at the office, it’s time for group lunch. I have an office favourite – take-away, loaded, potato soup!

Back at my desk, I check out the view from the office windows – great street art in this ‘up and coming’ neighbourhood

In the evening, heading for dinner, I leave the office, walk through the city’s financial core, pass by the European Central Bank headquarters and cross the historic Romer square

As I continue south, I cross the Main river and find it difficult to ignore the great skyline views

South of the river, in the Sachsenhausen district, I head to the old town, for traditional German cuisine

For dinner, it’s Schnitzel with fries, and a local beverage!

After dinner, I meet a colleague and we stop at a traditional Apfelwein ciderhouse… to sample Frankfurt’s finest!

On the way back to my apartment, night settles in across the river and lights up local sites, like the historic Alter Oper

As my fellowship comes to its end, I wanted to thank all the great staff at YSB for their hospitality over the past five weeks. A special shout out goes to Teddy, YSB’s Kiva Coordinator, seen on the far left of the group photo below, for all her hard work and dedication, making the Kiva-YSB partnership a reality. Thank you Teddy and YSB!

Please, join me in supporting YSB loans and social business investing on Kiva, here.

About the author

Alex Guna

Born with an inherent love for travel and discovery, Alex was raised in Eastern Europe, grew up in the Middle East and spent the majority of his adult life studying and working in North America. An Honors Business Administration graduate from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Alex previously worked as an investment banker with a global financial institution, focusing on infrastructure and project finance. Actively involved with Kiva since 2012, Alex previously served as a Team Leader within Kiva’s Review and Translation Program and as an Advisor to Kiva’s Strategic Initiatives group. Alex spent nearly 18 months travelling and volunteering across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. An extension of both his corporate and non-profit backgrounds, Alex’ interests lay in the mix of business and social innovation, focused on the development of infrastructure in developing regions. Next, he is excited to apply this passion while undertaking his first Kiva Fellowship, working with new Kiva partners, AUCA and YSB, located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Frankfurt, Germany, respectively.