Kiva Fellows Program (KF9) Here I Come!

Hi friends,

Starting at the beginning of October, I will volunteer as a Kiva Fellow in Peru for 6 months, working directly with Asociación Arariwa, one of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions (MFIs).  I will facilitate connection between Arariwa and Kiva so that generous lenders like you can learn about their situation and lend them the capital they need to start or expand their microenterprises.  Please see some examples on the Kiva website.  These microloans improve the standard of living for the business owners, their families and their communities.   Women in developing countries are big recipients of microfinance and the work of Kiva, the partner MFIs and the Kiva Fellows.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

What is a Kiva Fellow?

The Kiva Fellow is an unpaid, volunteer based position designed to increase Kiva’s impact around the world.  The Kiva Fellow works directly with one of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions (MFIs).  The Kiva Fellow is an integral part of the Kiva Team, acting as Kiva’s eyes and ears in the field and helping to extend limited resources to maximum effect.  The Kiva Fellow fosters the connection between the MFI, Kiva and the lender with their fieldwork and communication.

Kiva Fellow Core Responsibilities:

  • Facilitate Connections between Kiva’s Borrowers and Lenders
  • Assist Communications and Maximize the host MFI’s Partnership with Kiva
  • Support Kiva’s Mission, Product and Procedures

You can read more about the Kiva Fellows program here: About the Kiva Fellows Program

Support for my Kiva Fellowship

Kiva is a volunteer work experience, and I am also on my own for my travel and living expenses. Here are 10 ways to support Kiva’s work and my Fellowship –
  1. Donations – (Thanks to all you have chipped in!) A monetary donation would help offset the costs of the fellowship.  Please see my budget below.  I match every dollar and I am paying for all expenses not raised.  Here is a link to donate through PayPal.
  2. Kiva Gift Certificates – If you purchase a Kiva gift certificate for me, I can make a loan to a Kiva borrower through my Kiva lender account.  As the loan is paid back, I can withdraw the money to use for my Kiva Fellowship.  This support Kiva’s borrowers and my Kiva Fellowship.
  3. Become a Kiva Lender – The more Kiva lenders, the more impact Kiva has!  Here’s how to become a Kiva lender.  (Scroll down past the gift certificate section)
  4. Join the Asociación Arariwa Lending Team – If you are already a Kiva lender, please join the Arariwa Kiva lending team (Scroll down past the gift certificate, and Kiva lending sections)
  5. Stories – Subscribe to my blog through email or Facebook or follow all Kiva Fellows stories through the
  6. Writing or Photo/Video Work – If you have connections with any media outlets, online or offline, I would love to write or share photos/videos about my work as a Kiva Fellow.  Please see some examples of Kiva Fellow updates writing on the Kiva Fellows Blog
  7. Consulting Projects – If you know of any organizations that need help with online marketing – analytics, research or social media, I would be glad to work on consulting projects before I leave or while I am away to offset the costs of my fellowship.  A lot of work can be done virtually with email, Skype phone, etc
  8. Community Links – Help me connect with people you know in or around Cusco, Peru – it’s always helpful to know someone in a new place.
  9. Come Visit Me – Once I get settled, I would love to have visitors in Peru.
  10. Going Away / Kiva Support Party – Thanks to everyone who came through September 12th for the party at our house in Fort Greene!

Kiva Fellows Budget

Below is a projected budget for my Kiva Fellowship (edited from original estimate):

Costs Before Departure:

  • Flight (I will be using frequent flyer miles!)    $100
  • Immunizations (yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus, Hepatitis A)   $350
  • Medications (malarone for malaria) $110
  • Single-Entry Visa to Peru   $10
  • San Francisco Kiva Fellows Training Costs    $90
  • Portable Hard Drive for data back up  $100
  • Surge protector $20
  • Laptop lock  $40
  • Electronics converter for Peru  $20
  • Web Cam to communicate through Skype   $31
  • Personal Items (such as insect repellent with Deet,     $100
  • Insurance for my laptop $100

Daily Living Costs:

  • Accommodation (Utilities included, $200/month)    $1,200
  • Food ($8/day)   $1,400
  • Communication (Internet, Skype and Mobile phone)    $500
  • Travel  $800
  • Emergency Funds    $1,000

TOTAL    $5,071

I am donating 6 months of work to Kiva’s partner MFIs to help low income entrepreneurs work their way out of poverty.  Any amount you could donate will help support Kiva’s mission through my travel, living expenses and communication access, all of which are crucial to Kiva’s work and in getting much needed growth capital to hard-working entrepreneurs around the world!

Below is a link to my Chip In page if you would like to donate through PayPal.

Chip In for my Kiva Fellowship

Chip In for my Kiva Fellowship

If you feel more comfortable, you can also send a check to:

Sheethal Shobowale
311 Cumberland St
Brooklyn, NY 11238


I have secured fiscal sponsorship through IHCenter/LUFF so donors can get a tax deduction for their contributions to support my work with Kiva.  However, this works best for larger donations since they will take a 5% portion of the donation amount.  To get this tax deduction, please make your check out to IHCenter/LUFF and make sure to include Sheethal Shobowale in the memo.

Updates while I’m in the field on My Kiva Fellowship

To say thanks for your generous donation, I will send you personal “e-postcards” and update the Kiva Fellows and my personal blog regularly so you can see what it’s like to live in rural Peru.  I am very excited for the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of many low income Peruvian entrepreneurs and their families.

Lending through Kiva

Not only I am participating as a Kiva Fellow, I am also a Kiva lender. Please visit my Kiva lender page to see the entrepreneurs to whom I am currently lending.  If you believe in Kiva’s work, perhaps you would like to become a lender too!  You can search through the borrower profiles, make a loan through PayPal (min $25) and set up a Lender Page.  Once your loan is repaid, you have the option to withdraw the money or relend to another entrepreneur.  It’s simple, it feels good and it helps low income entrepreneurs help themselves!

Thanks for listening and thanks for your generous donation!



6 responses to this post.

  1. Hi there,

    This Sunday I will be doing a triathlon in support of my Kiva Fellowship. Please read more details about the triathlon here.

    Thank you for reading and for your support!



  2. I also wrote a post trying to value of the on-the-ground work of Kiva Fellows and Loan Officers. Please see that post here and please comment if you have any thoughts to add!


  3. Hi there,

    If you are interested in more ways to support me, please read Kiva Gift Certificates, Kiva Loans, Kiva Lending Teams: More Ways to Support my Kiva Fellowship in Peru

    Can’t wait to support Kiva borrowers at Asociación Arariwa in Peru! I leave this Sunday.



  4. Posted by roadknowledge on October 21, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I just learned of KIVA at Catalyst in Atlanta. Good luck with your fellowship and keep up the good work. Mike in Houston


  5. Thanks again Mike! What’s catalyst? Sounds interesting.


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