> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Assistant, CFI

For many of us in the U.S., it’s largely happenstance that we cross paths with the topics of microfinance and financial inclusion in a meaningful way. Personally, I remember first hearing about microfinance from friends during college, but it was always in passing, never to the extent or specificity needed for it to make a lasting impression on me. I wish this wasn’t the case! I wish my college self, and all students for that matter, had more exposure to these areas.

To help students and the U.S. academic community engage with microfinance and financial inclusion, Citi Microfinance and Kiva have teamed up to launch Kiva U. The mission of Kiva U, built around three core initiatives, is to create a community for our future inclusion leaders and to support the expansion of full financial inclusion. There’s a big opportunity in the combination of modern communications technology and academia’s inherently social environment, though few interactive financial inclusion platforms for students and educators exist. Kiva U aims to gain popularity as such a platform.

The three core initiatives of Kiva U are expand campus-based microfinance clubs, develop classroom-based microfinance and financial inclusion curriculum for all learning levels, and foster leadership among students interested in social enterprise, international development, and financial inclusion.

There are currently Kiva clubs at 67 colleges and 60 high schools in the United States. Providing online and offline engagement tools, Kiva U plans to leverage this foundation and connect with additional students and educators throughout the country’s academic community.

Together Citi and Kiva have developed academic curriculum for K-12 and college, tailored specifically for various grade levels and subject areas – for example, lesson plans for 5th grade math teachers. They’ve also developed platforms for educators to share best teaching practices.

One forthcoming student leadership opportunity is the Kiva U Summit, to be held October 11-14 in San Francisco. The event will convene students and educators, as well as industry leaders, who will engage with participants on financial inclusion topics and share resources for them to apply to their campuses and classrooms.

For more on Kiva U, click here.

Image credit: Kiva

Have you read?

Microfinance as a Mobile Game for Teens

3rd World Farmer: An Unconventional Way to Learn About Financial Inclusion

The Next Wave of Financial Capability Initiatives