Many dream of becoming leaders and change-makers to create opportunities for others. Obstacles often stand in their way to reach these dreams. They can either stop dreaming or work through them.
An inspiring young woman from Mombasa, a coastal town in Kenya, journeyed to the United States with a dream to bring prosperity to the world. Since she was a child, Tabitha wanted to become a social leader.
Tabitha has been living her dream for the past 11 years, gaining experience in diverse sectors. She started her career as a Resource Development Officer at the Aga Khan Academy, where she gained expertise in managing grants and funding for scholarship programs.
She notes that she has always been a firm believer that "financial inclusion is one of the best tools to eliminate poverty and promote global prosperity."
Her experience in Mombasa was not enough to bring the change she sought. "I was constantly looking for ideas and opportunities to leverage my financial services. I remember researching how financial leaders create social impact and promote innovation through financial inclusion," Tabitha said.
Tabitha applied for an Atlas Corps fellowship. It aims to develop leaders, strengthen organizations and promote innovation by connecting fellows from all over the world with host organizations in the United States to exchange knowledge and build skills. Tabitha became one of the twenty finalists out of thousands of applicants.
This year, Kiva hosted its first group of Atlas Corps Fellows, who share a similar vision of empowering financially excluded communities. Kiva selected Tabitha to work as a Small and Growing Business Investment Fellow at Kiva's headquarter office in San Francisco for 1 year.
Her role is to identify and assess a wide range of organizations that applied for loans and to expand their businesses and improve productivity. The organizations that Tabitha works with, operate in areas of impact such as agriculture, renewable energy, health and education. Ranging from nonprofits to social enterprises, she conducts due diligence reporting, crowd vetting, fundraising and donor management proposals, grant writing and investment memos. These organizations apply for loans to expand their business and improve productivity.
"I had a mixture of feelings, excitement, and pride when I received Kiva's offer," Tabitha said, "I was honored to be working with an organization that promotes financial inclusion and supports social enterprises around the world."
Kiva's mission is to envision a financially inclusive world where all people hold power to improve their lives. This vision resonated with Tabitha's aim to create an environment where entrepreneurs have a platform to enhance their business values and drive financial performance.
The Atlas Corps program doesn’t just benefit the fellows - it’s also a huge benefit to the organizations that host them. "Kiva is proud to partner with an organization that values diversity and social entrepreneurship aimed at promoting innovative solutions to solving some of the world's biggest challenges. Together, we are committed to facilitating meaningful connections that can have a lasting impact and further Kiva's mission," said Chelsa Bocci, the head of talent programs and employee engagement at Kiva.
Tabitha is grateful for this new experience with Atlas Corps. "I believe that a fulfilling life begins with seeking experiences out of your comfort zone, an experience that challenges you, broadens your horizon and steers you in new directions," Tabitha said. "I am looking forward to expanding my career aspirations and enjoying this fantastic experience."
Interested in an experience like Tabitha’s? Click here to learn more about Kiva's fellowship and internship opportunities.