As a Senior Partnerships Manager for Labs, Michelle is responsible for the oversight and expansion of Labs partnerships in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The Labs program scales high-impact social enterprises and promotes innovations in financial inclusion. Michelle started working with Kiva in 2013, based in the Nairobi, Kenya office. Prior to Kiva, Michelle volunteered with the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda, conducted research with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon, and taught African geography courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a Master's degree in Geography and African Studies and a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and Conservation Biology from UW-Madison. Michelle is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa where she dreams of visiting all of the national parks in Africa.

Fellows Blog Posts by Michelle Schenck

May 25, 2013 ZM Zambia

Have you ever wondered who writes Kiva loan descriptions? Who takes the pictures and videos you see on the website? Who is responsible for connecting you--the lender--to borrowers?
At Zoona in Zambia, that person is Memory, Kiva Coordinator extraordinaire. Each of Kiva’s 193 field partners has a Kiva Coordinator, a designated person that manages Kiva loans. The role of Kiva Coordinator varies between partners, and is sometimes shared between multiple people.
Memory shows...
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May 18, 2013 ZM Zambia

“I just want to be a successful business woman,” Sandra says when asked what she hopes to achieve in the next 2-3 years. She already is. In fact, she is the most successful agent working with Zoona--a mobile money/transactions company that allows individuals to send and receive money over their phones using the conversion of cash into electronic value, and electronic value back into cash. Zoona relies on a distrubuted network of agents, like Sandra, who operate businesses that provide the cash in/out capability. Sandra opened her...

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Apr 29, 2013 ZA South Africa

These students are in their second year of college at the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. They will graduate with a Bachelor's in Business Administration in 2015. As you can see, they had fun taking pictures for their Kiva profiles! The ladies took the task very seriously. They dressed to impress and made last minute touch-ups to their hair and make-up. And then there was the posing…it was a Kiva photo shoot!

But let me back up and explain how these particular students became Kiva borrowers. 1. All of the students in this cohort...

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Mar 16, 2013 ZA South Africa

Joburg's Central Business District has the most dense collection of skyscrapers in Africa
Johannesburg. Joburg. Jozi. Joziburg. Whatever you call this city, it had me at hello. Let’s face it, Johannesburg doesn’t have the best reputation. When you tell people you’re moving here they fear for your safety and question your judgment. And though most tourists arrive in South Africa via Joburg, they quickly move on to other destinations. They are missing out! This city has... Continue Reading >>