Kiva U Launches First Kiva Video Game!

Kiva U’s very first video game is live! The interactive game can be played for free, online, with the goal of enabling younger audiences to learn more about microfinance. It helps middle school and high school students understand the microfinance lending cycle, the difference between loans and donations, and more about the main loan uses of Kiva borrowers.

It’s the latest project from Kiva U, which brings together over 69,000 students and teachers in a community where they can access tools and resources to raise awareness in their own communities, connect learning to impact, and create opportunity for people around the world.

Kiva U’s Jessica Hansen guided the development of the game, which was built by Kiva engineer Joshua Kiwiet-Pantaleoni, because more and more educators are using the fun, engaging elements of online games to get students more involved with subject matter. This new Kiva U game acts as an interactive tool to reinforce lessons about microfinance and take students around the world to Kiva borrowers in the field.

The Kiva U game starts off with a selection of borrowers, similar to the beginning stages of choosing a loan on

Once the player selects a borrower to lend to, they race the clock in mini-games to help the borrower’s business, earn impact points, and get repaid. As the player moves on to more challenging levels, the game requires that the player plans for the future by deciding what they can spend now and when they need to save their funds to maximize their impact points.

Data from the Kiva website was used to show which sectors, or loan types, in different regions have the highest numbers of borrowers. So the video game is reflecting real borrowers in that region and what businesses they might need loans for.

The video game was funded by a grant from Citi Microfinance last year and will be accompanied by class discussion questions and activities, as well as tested by many schools and students in the United States and Canada in the weeks and months to come. 

About the author

Alison Edwards

Alison is a native of the Bay Area and spent the last four years living in the Pacific Northwest where she studied Psychology. During her junior year she studied abroad in Florence, Italy where she discovered her love for travel and culture and volunteered at a local elementary school as an English teacher assistant. During her senior year, Alison worked as a research assistant at the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University where she worked on several studies focusing on daily sleep patterns and performance. She wishes to bring her academic research skills and her interest in global development to the nonprofit setting and is so excited to begin her Partnerships Marketing internship with Kiva. In her free time, Alison loves reading, watching movies and Netflix, eating delicious food and drinking wine, hiking, spending time with her friends, and running.