Become a Vittana Fellow

Our Fellowship program has been suspended indefinitely as of September 2014 due to our recent announcement found here.

This post is regularly updated to reflect the most recent application requirements and deadlines, although other content remains original.

If you’re looking for a hands-on experience working abroad at the leading edge of social entrepreneurship, microfinance, and education, we want to hear from you!

Vittana is looking for skilled, highly committed and passionate volunteers to work on-the-ground with our microfinance institution (MFI) partners abroad. Fellows will be tasked with helping create, support, and evaluate student lending programs at our MFI partners. The field is where our real work gets done, and we’re looking for enthusiastic, hard-working, ambitious individuals to help us.

This is not your average volunteer position. You will walk away from this experience having managed the launch or scaling of a student lending product at a highly innovative MFI and having developed a deep understanding for the inner workings, challenges, and opportunities of working abroad in the field of microfinance. You will have the opportunity to help change the lives of thousands of young people.

ABOUT VITTANA:

Vittana combines the massive reach of microfinance with the transformative power of education by building the world’s first student microloan programs with MFI partners in developing countries. By demonstrating that student microloans are the most scalable, sustainable, and impactful tool we have to fight global poverty, we can change the global conversation about education.

YOUR WORK AS A FELLOW:

  • Market Research
    • Work with MFI staff and/or a third-party firm to perform an analysis of the potential demand for student loans by interviewing existing and potential clients, creating and distributing surveys to local students and MFI staff, and leading focus groups
    • Assist the MFI in the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative survey and focus group data
  • Product Development & Pilot Launch
    • Support the MFI’s student loan product development process, culminating in a one-week Vittana-led innovation workshop with MFI management and staff
    • Ensure necessary logistics and benchmarks are met in advance of the launch of a pilot program
    • Serve as an intermediary between the MFI and other major stakeholders (i.e. students, vocational and technical schools, universities, etc.)
    • Tailor the MFI’s marketing and operational resources to effectively integrate the student loan product into the MFI’s day-to-day operations
    • Design and run training sessions for MFI staff on Vittana lending policies and procedures
  • Capacity Building & Evaluation
    • Liaise between Vittana and MFI staff to assess the pilot and identify areas for improvement
    • Ensure continued focus on and progress toward goals for the successful launch of the student loan as a core product offering
    • Generate multi-media content for the Vittana website in the form of student stories, photos, and video interviews
  • Probably the most exciting, interesting, and potentially even life-changing thing you’ve ever done.

Please note: This is an unpaid volunteer position. We do offer a $1,000 travel reimbursement given in two stipends for the first 12 weeks and $50 for each week thereafter.

FELLOW CANDIDATES SHOULD HAVE:

  • A willingness to commit a minimum of 12 weeks in-country (strong preference given to applicants able to commit to 4 months or more).
  • Some international work, travel or life experience
  • Strong critical thinking, problem-solving skills
  • Independence and the ability to identify and address a need with little direction.
  • Ability to recognize an problem/opportunity and work towards fixing it/taking advantage of it.
  • Flexibility, ability to easily adapt to ever-changing circumstances
  • Impeccable communication skills in a professional environment
  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite and web tools (Gmail, Skype, WordPress, etc.)
  • Minimum 2 – 3 years of work experience or equivalent
  • At least 21 years of age preferred

OTHER SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE WE NOTICE:

  • Project management and/or market research experience
  • Demonstrated interest in education, microfinance, or international development
  • Demonstrated track record for delivering results on challenging projects, whether professional, volunteer, or personal
  • Positive, optimistic, “can do” attitude. This is hard work, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
  • Fluency in Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and/or Indian state languages (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, etc.), Filipino dialects, Vietnamese or Bahasa Indonesian (depending on placement)

CURRENT GEOGRAPHIC PRIORITIES:

  • Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar (French required), Rwanda, Uganda
  • Américas (Spanish required): Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Perú
  • Asia: Cambodia, India (Hindi preferred), Nepal, the Philippines
  • Middle East: Jordan, Lebanon (Arabic preferred or required depending on placement)

HOW TO APPLY:

1. Prepare a list of three references, your resume and a cover letter telling us why you are drawn to this experience and what you’ll bring to it.

2. Submit your three documents to us via our Fellows Application Form:  http://vittana.wufoo.com/forms/vittana-fellows-application/

WHEN TO APPLY:

Our Fall cohort is currently full.

Last updated: August 2014

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Katie Gruver

About The Author:

Katie Gruver was the first Vittana Fellow, traveling nine months through Latin America. Previously, Katie was the Operations and Community Manager at an education-based startup in Seattle and before that was a Marketing Manager at Unitus. Upon her return from Latin America, Katie worked as Vittana's Marketing Manager until she left to pursue new adventures. Katie holds a B.A. in Rhetoric & Media Studies from Willamette University.