Jessica comes to Kiva with a background in international education, local capacity building, and global engagement in sustainable poverty alleviation. She heads up Kiva’s education initiative to enhance understanding, involvement, and the mobilization of students and teachers around micro-finance. Prior to this, she worked in remote rural Kenya with Nuru International and has also worked with the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Mercy Corps, the IRC/Women’s Refugee Commission, UNHCR, the Centre for Refugee Research, and MSF (Doctors Without Borders). She holds a BA of International Politics from the University of Central Oklahoma/University of Leicester and an MSW in International Social Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her overseas work has been mainly in East Africa and Southeast Asia, and she is conversational in French, Thai, and Kiswahili. She loves people and travel, bouncing between the wilderness and big cities, savoring amazing food, and regularly fawning over children and animals.

Kiva Blog Updates

Nov 9, 2017 KV Kiva HQ

The books below share informative, inspirational and innovative approaches to solving global problems. Whether they help you fill free time over the holidays or are adorned with wrapping paper and a bow for the change-makers in your life, these are great works to add to anyone's collection.  

1. Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven



Portfolios of the Poor is a fascinating and useful...

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Mar 3, 2017 US United States

A new concept in agriculture is coming to life on rooftops in cities across America.  With city land at ground-level often over-priced or simply unavailable for growing produce, urban farmers are turning to rooftops as places to cultivate locally grown fresh food.

Photo by: Miguel Rivas


Tinyfield Rooftop Farm is a small-scale rooftop farm established by Kiva U.S. borrower Keely (along with her former business partner, Katrina) and funded by 202 Kiva...

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Mar 2, 2017 KV Kiva HQ
Photo: Talia M. at ages 6 and 22 with a woman who inspires her, her mother

This is a guest blog by Talia M., a lender and founding member of Kiva's Junior Leadership Council, in honor of International Women’s Day. 

My life has been relatively free of roadblocks. I grew up in a wealthy and highly educated suburb in the United States, in a family of five—with two happily married parents who were able to support us in most everything we wanted to do. I had after-school activities,... Continue Reading >>
Feb 22, 2017 KV Kiva HQ

Vava, founder of the Kenyan social enterprise Vava Coffee, is truly a woman on fire. She exudes passion and entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a calm, steady resolve and a thick skin that allows her to succeed, defying society’s traditional expectations for a woman in the male-dominated coffee industry.

“This is not a get rich scheme, this is my life, my everything…”

Her business links smallholder coffee farmers, who produce specialty grade micro-lot coffee that’s Fair Trade-certified, to markets...

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Feb 10, 2017 US United States

As we approach Valentine’s Day, it’s important to take a moment to think about all the industrious small business owners who make these love-filled holidays happen for everyone. Everything from a box of chocolates to a bottle of wine to candles softly lit on the table may have come from a small local business owner, working hard to get you all you need to show the love this February.

Vanessa of San Francisco’s Polk Street Florist is a shining example of this. A beloved staple of her community, she takes incredible joy in sharing her passion for flowers with her... Continue Reading >>
Feb 7, 2017 MX Mexico
(photo credit: Catherine Cocke)

For the first time ever, a few lucky and devoted Kiva lenders are getting the opportunity to see Kiva at work on the ground. This week, these 7 lenders will be visiting 2 Kiva Field Partners and their borrowers in Mexico City, as part of our first lender trip to the field. It’s a unique and thrilling opportunity to see Kiva dollars at work, transforming lives and communities up close.

This post is the first of a 4 part series, which comes in anticipation of...
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Jun 21, 2016 KV Kiva HQ
Kigali, Rwanda. Photo by Flickr user oledoe.

I’ve only seen the film Hotel Rwanda twice.

The first time, I was alone on my parents’ couch in small-town Oklahoma. I tend to want to be emotionally prepared for heavy films with difficult subject matter, but when do you ever feel prepared enough to bear witness to such a magnitude of senseless violence and tragedy as what happened in Rwanda?

The answer is never, so I finally just took a deep breath and hit play.... Continue Reading >>
Sep 2, 2014 KV Kiva HQ

Thank you for making this an incredible first year for Kiva U, Kiva’s student and teacher program!

When Citi and Kiva launched the Kiva U initiative in September of 2013, we had no idea what to expect. We hoped that if we created and shared useful and compelling content and resources, we could help students and teachers learn about poverty, microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability. We hoped that if we built platforms and ways for passionate and informed people to connect, we could build a movement that could transform lives for entrepreneurs working...
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May 19, 2014 KV Kiva HQ
As I take a moment to reflect after my whirlwind tour of the United States over the past two months to celebrate and promote April’s Month of Microfinance, I’m blown away by the students I encountered. The young people I met were exceptional and endlessly inspiring; already making commitments, designing projects and taking action to change our world for the better.
Projects included a mobile phone app that makes ultrasounds accessible and affordable in rural Africa. It wasn’t created by a tech company or financed by a millionaire. It was created by...
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Feb 7, 2014 US United States
How do students help change the lives of people they've never met, from 10,000 miles away? They believe in them. And give them the financial tools to help themselves.
As part of the Kiva U program, 200 seniors from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep are about to embark on their senior service project to create small businesses and raise revenue from their community. Then, to pay homage to Nelson Mandela, the students will use the profits to fund loans in South Africa on Kiva. Like Kiva borrowers, these students don’t have access to traditional credit and...
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