Jessica Hansen is the Education Development Manager for Kiva, the world’s largest online microfinance platform with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Jessica launched the international award-winning program Kiva U in August of 2013 and currently leads the initiative to support students and educators as they build breadth and depth in understanding poverty, microfinance, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. In this role, she works to help cultivate well-informed and critically thinking global citizens and help others use microfinance as an experiential teaching and learning tool to connect textbook topics to real life.
She loves bridging the divide between incredible poverty alleviation innovations around the world and the passionate students and educators who want to make a difference. Jessica came to Kiva from rural, remote southwestern Kenya where she served as Nuru International’s Education Manager, co-creating solutions to raise literacy levels in primary schools. Prior to that she worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Rescue Committee, the US Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Centre for Refugee Research, and Mercy Corps. Her fieldwork has been primarily based in Southeast Asia and East Africa. She has a BA in International Politics from the Univ. of Central Oklahoma/Univ. of Leicester and an MSW from the Univ. of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.