In the past few days, a few different people have asked me about Kiva Microloans, so I thought I would write it up in a blog.
Lorie (@Loriegray on Twitter) and I have been members since September 2008.
Before that, we partnered with Heifer, an Organization that helps folks supply agricultural stock… (Bees, Bunnies, Goats, Oxen) to farmers, so that they may build up their farms.
Then we heard about Kiva, which also helps third world countries, but through a series of microloans that they ask be repaid.
This is what Kiva does. Finds someone who needs a hand up… and connects that business with people who have a few dollars to help. A number of strangers, from all around the World, have given this woman, in $25 increments, enough money to start her on her way to a better life.
In my experience of ten loans, I have not had a single penny of loans defaulted on.
The money usually comes back in fits and starts… I was repaid $8.82 in August, $14.99 in September, and $12.12 in October… which meant I had enough money ($25) to make another loan.
I have also given Kiva credit to others as Gifts for Christmas and Birthdays.
When I go onto my Profile page on the Kiva website, I can see the various loans I have made, and their repayment status.
3 loans to Peruvian ladies who wanted to start stores are 100% repaid, as is the loan to a Nicaraguan lady who was starting a Pharmacy.
A young mom who started up a beauty salon in Peru is starting to pay her investors back, at 14%.
Two different groups, starting up food distribution networks in the country of Burundi, have almost reached the half way point in their repayment plans.
And Gladis, who, a few days after my portion was loaned, achieved the full sponsorship, and will be getting the money shortly, so they can begin implementing her business plan.
There are others, but that is part of the fun.
Pick a man or woman. (We almost always pick women entrepreneurs) Pick any country in the world, or choose specifically. Choose an industry. Choose whether you want to support a group, or an individual. There are lots of options, if you choose to be specific… or, you can just pick one of the 1213 current loan requests at random.
Each loan request is “vetted” by a recognized Kiva Field Partner, to ensure that the request is a legitimate enterprise, and structured with a sound business plan.
Currently I have a little over $120 loaned out to 6 people… So, as an individual, I don’t even make a dent.
Collectively, as of November 2009, the Kiva Community had facilitated over $100 Million in loans.
That is the power of the many.
Here are the Kiva Beliefs:
- People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.
- The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.
- By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.
- Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.
- Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.
- Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.
I think it is SO cool, that by loaning someone $25, you can help them start a better life.
Once they have had success, they pay you back, and you can help someone else.
It is a hand up… not a hand out!
And, to me, it is BRILLIANT!!!